Posted by By STAN OKEKE, Enugu on
Her calling entails working to edify God. But Ogochukwu Onuchukwu, a Catholic nun of the Order of Virgins Sisters, was recently the devil's incarnate when she allegedly sold a new born baby belonging to a teenage mother for N250.000.
Her calling entails working to edify God. But Ogochukwu Onuchukwu, a Catholic nun of the Order of Virgins Sisters, was recently the devil’s incarnate when she allegedly sold a new born baby belonging to a teenage mother for N250.000.
For her devilry, operatives of the State Security Service (SSS) in Awka arrested the Reverend Sister simply known as Sister Ogoo. This is even as the Catholic Diocese of Onitsha has denied that she is a member of any of its religious orders.
Trouble started for her when one Miss Chinenye Onyemem (18) went into labour at a Catholic crusade ground at Ogidi that had Rev. Father Ejike Mbaka as the guest preacher and one Rev. Father Gbazue, as the host priest.
Chinenye was eventually delivered of a baby boy at the crusade ground, but not without the hazards involved in such unconventional deliveries. The baby’s right arm was fractured which led to some complications.
According to Chinenye, they had gone for prayers at the crusade ground on February 4, 2004. After the prayers, which extended to the wee hours of the following day, she went into labour and was delivered of the baby boy under a mango tree right there at the crusade ground.
Feeling the need to have her baby blessed, the young mother said she paid a visit to Rev. Father Gbazue’s parish for him to pray for her baby and apply olive oil on the broken arm.
Reverend Sister enters picture
Chinenye said after the prayers, she was told that the priest was not around and as such decided to wait under the very mango tree where she was delivered of the baby.
According to her, it was at this point that she met Sister Ogochukwu Onuchukwu who asked her whose baby she was carrying. She narrated her story to the Reverend Sister who promptly offered to help her see the Reverend Father.
“When we got there, she carried my baby and went in. After a while, she came out and said the priest asked her to take the baby to hospital for treatment.”
Not suspecting any foul play, the teenage mother said she followed her to Borromeo Hospital, Onitsha. But as if everything was working on cue, the doctor on call was not around, so they went to Immaculate Heart Hospital, another Catholic hospital.
Chinenye said after two weeks of treatment, her baby’s arm failed to heal properly. They were, therefore, compelled to go back to Borromeo Hospital, where the Orthopaedic doctor there administered Plaster Of Paris (POP) on the arm.
“After that, she took me to her charity home and assured me that once my baby was fully recovered, she would take us home.” Chinenye said however kept insisting that she wanted to go home since she had stayed away from her family for three months without any member of her family knowing her whereabouts.
The booby trap
Sister Ogochukwu reportedly told her that if she insist on going home, she should pay N150, 000 (One hundred and fifty thousand naira) which she claimed she spent on hospital bills.
According to Chinenye, this shocked her, because she knew that altogether, Sister Ogochukwu spent just N7, 500 (Seven thousand five hundred naira) in all the hospitals they went to, of which she (Chinenye) collected the receipts. “I told her that that was not what we agreed on since I was the person who collected all the receipts. I however, told her that if she insisted, that I would get my family to pay her, provided she allowed me to go home”, Chinenye said.
Sister Ogochukwu agreed, but insisted that Chinenye could go home to mobilise for the payment, but not with the baby. With her pleas falling on deaf ears, Chinenye said she asked her for transport money to get home, a request the Reverend Sister turned down.
Solace came her way from the security man guarding the charity home who gave her money to transport herself home.
The next day, Chinenye was at the charity home with her mother. Sister Ogoo was not around but they met one Theresa Okafor who narrated to Chinenye’s mother what had transpired between them and the teenage mother.
Sister Ogoo returned later and told Chinenye’s mother that they had used the pretext of her daughter’s indebtedness to send her away because of her “bad character and behaviour.”
According to Chinenye, it did not take long before they found out that her child had been sold to a woman simply known as “Mama Somtoo”, for N250, 000 (Two hundred and fifty thousand naira).
Sister Ogochukwu later claimed that Chinenye’s baby was dead, that the one she was claiming was not her baby.
Mama Somtoo was later traced to her business premises and was arrested by the police. She later confessed what transpired between her and Sister Ogochukwu. But Sister Ogochukwu insisted that ‘Baby Chinenye’ was dead. At this point, Chinenye was asked whether she could identify the baby she was claiming to be hers. She told the police that her baby had a birthmark on his buttocks. The baby in dispute had a birthmark on his buttocks.
Not satisfied with the way the police was handling the matter, Chinenye’s family reported the case to the Idemmili North Local Government State Security Service Chief. He immediately swung into action, and got Sister Ogochukwu arrested. Before her arrest, according to sources very close to the SSS, Sister Onuchukwu, on being told that she was needed at the SSS office, put a call across to one Rev. Father Jude, the Parish Priest of St. Theresa’s Catholic Church at 3-3 junction, Nsugbe. The Reverend Father came accompanied by the Divisional Police Officer in the area, who tried to persuade the SSS Chief to let Sister Ogoo off the hook. The SSS Chief ignored the DPO and whisked Sister Ogoo away.
Church denies her
Instructively, Sister Ogoo’s sign post at Nsugbe bore the Catholic Archdiocese of Onitsha on it, yet the church, in the midst of this row has denied her, saying she was not a professed Catholic nun.
In a letter dated April 11, 2005, and signed by the Secretary to the Archbishop of the diocese, Rev. Father Alfred Emeka Okakpu, the church stated categorically that ‘Ogochukwu Onuchukwu who claims to be of the Order of Virgins, is not a professed nun. She does not belong to any formal religious congregation in the Catholic Church”.
Father Okakpu further stated that Ogochukwu had no right to append the title “Reverend Sister” to her name. He stated that Ogochukwu had been warned to stop dressing as a catholic nun, claiming that she merely worked for the archdiocese.
“She has no permission whatsoever directly or indirectly to function on behalf of the archdiocese. The Order of Virgins involves private devotion and vows, which does not entitle one to parade oneself as a catholic nun, he claimed further.
It was however not clear whether Ogochukwu had the permission of the Catholic Church to run her DIVINE MERCY CHARITY HOME, which she claims, belonged to the Catholic Church. Rather, the Bishop’s Secretary said that Ogochukwu should be responsible for any actions of hers, as, according to him, she was not a corporate person representing the Catholic Church.
I’m a nun
Despite the church’s repeated denials, Ogochukwu insisted she is a nun, having had her final profession to become a nun in 2002. She claimed that it was Archbishop Hilary Okeke of Nnewi Catholic Diocese that consecrated her, as a Reverend Sister.
She said she was answerable to the Catholic Bishop of Onitsha. “Everything we do, we have the permission of the archdiocese. Rev. Father Odukwe is also aware of what I do,” Ogochukwu told Sunday Sun.
Apart from the charity home, she also runs a pharmacy, even though she is not a qualified nurse. She claims to have attended the School of Nursing and Midwifery, Ihiala, but for just one session.
Insists on innocence
Stating her own side of the story involving Chinenye’s child, Ogochukwu, who is reported to have now jumped bail, said Rev. Father Gbazue had invited her to help at the crusade Rev. Father Mbaka was invited to preach at Ogidi.
She said she met Chinenye later in the church. According to her, one of the sisters at the crusade ground called her and told her that Chinenye wanted to see her.
“I saw her carrying a baby, with a woman accompanying her. She told me that her parents were dead, that she was delivered of a baby the day Father Mbaka came for crusade at Ogidi. She told me she did not want the baby; that she had already told Father Gbazue that she does not want the baby”. Continuing, Ogochukwu said that she went to Father Gbazue to confirm what Chinenye had told her. She said that the Rev. Father told her that if Chinenye said she does not want the baby, that she (Chinenye) should sign an under-taking.
“I later gave Chinenye a form to fill. Chinenye stayed with us for three months and when I told her that I needed to see any of her relations, since she said her parents were dead, Chinenye disappeared”.
She said she was shocked to later see Chinenye, her mother, and some other relations of hers at her home.
“I was shocked. I however narrated to the mother everything that happened”, Ogochukwu told Sunday Sun.
She claimed that Chinenye’s baby had died and that ‘Baby Chinenye’ she was claiming belonged to Mr. & Mrs. Udojo.
It was discovered that Chinenye had a baby previously but it died. Mrs. Caroline Onyemem, Chinenye’s mother, confirmed the man who sired the present baby, to be an armed robber.
‘Baby Chineneye’ meanwhile, is at an orphanage in Awka, the Anambra State capital, pending the completion of investigations by the State Security Service in Anambra State.
When contacted, the SSS Chief refused to talk, insisting investigations were still on.
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