A widow from Anambra State, who was banished for alleged witchcraft, has been reunited with her community.
The woman, Nneka Uzor, a 54-year-old mother of two, was banished by her three brothers from Umunankwo community in Ogbaru Local Government Area of the South-Eastern State on April 30, 2023.
PREMIUM TIMES, last year, reported how the widow was seen in a video clip being led out of Umunankwo by members of the community who insulted her while two masked men whipped her.
In the video, the people, who were heard accusing Mrs. Uzor of poisoning the community’s food and refusing to seek appeasement, took the woman to a road junction where she was declared banished from the community.
At the time she was declared banished, the widow had collapsed in the middle of a road, apparently from exhaustion.
The three brothers – Lazarus Uzor, Anozie Uzor and Valentine Okwuosa – were later arrested and charged before the Awka Child, Sexual and Gender Violence Court.
The arrest and prosecution of the suspects was facilitated by the state Commissioner for Women and Social Welfare, Ify Obinabo, who promised to ensure that the woman was reunited with the community.
Mrs. Uzor, the banished widow, was reconciled with the villagers and returned to the community, according to a statement on Monday by Chidinma Ikeanyionwu, media assistant to the commissioner.
Ikeanyionwu said the reconciliation took place at the palace of the traditional ruler of Umunankwo, Fidelis Nsofor.
He said that the event was attended by the commissioner, heads of community men’s and women’s groups, community leaders and the suspects, among others.
The statement stated that following the directive of the traditional ruler, members of the community gathered at the junction, where they had previously banished the widow, to bring her back.
The masquerades also accompanied her back to the community.
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The statement added that when the widow was brought back, traditional rites were performed to purify her and make her fit to participate in community activities.
Later, the monarch would declare the banishment of anyone from the community illegal.
Accordingly, the suspects apologized for their actions, according to the statement.
It is unclear, for now, whether the court case against the suspects will be dropped after the apology.