Her name is Abigail Obiri and she has a story to tell.
Abigail is 9 years old, the seventh of eight children, and victim to the consequences of a domestic violence dispute which her father battered her mother to death.
Born, and raised in Nkrakan Koforidua, Abigail had a tough childhood. Two of her siblings passed away at early ages. Her family was trapped in a generational cycle of poverty; her mother was a farmer and took care of them through her little earnings from selling the fruits of her labour. None of the six siblings were enrolled in school because of severe financial constraints. Additionally, the marriage between her mother, Comfort Afia Obiri, and Kwaku Amoh, her father, had detoreated. A drunkard, quick- tempered and unemployed father, who hardly took care of the home he established, but instead abused his wife and children, for the most trivial of reasons. Like any child, Abigail and her siblings expected to be nurtured in a loving home, under the unconditional love and protection of a strong parental unit. But all those dreams were shattered when disaster struck.
As the sun set on their little town on 23rd December 2014, Abigail and her siblings were sent to their grandmother’s place for vacation in a neighboring town. At home, Abigail’s mother also left to enjoy the evening at a neighbor’s house that was a close friend. Her father who returned from his daily trip to the drinking bar reeking of alcohol, came to meet an empty house, enraged, he walked up to the neighbor’s house where he knew he would find his wife. Without warning he slapped his wife and begun to question her on why she took the children away to their grandmother’s house without his permission. He requested that she fetch the children back home that late night. Fed up with the husband’s erratic and violent behavior, Comfort for the first time began to argue back. This led to a heated argument between the couple. The ensuing exchange of insults spilled over into their neighbor’s compound and eventually led to her brutal assault.
It was revealed by an eyewitness that Abigail’s father constantly threatened to kill his wife whenever they had an argument, but none ever thought he will go through and kill the woman he said he loved. Furthermore, it was made known that Comfort had reported the husband’s previous abusive action to the local police and traditional council. At one time he even knocked two teeth out of her mouth, yet no action was taken to curb her husband’s increasingly violent behavior as he always showed remorse after the fact, even bringing his pastor to beg on his behalf at times. But on this day things went entirely south. Kwaku mercilessly continued to pound his wife into a pulp; punching her, kicking her, and battering her with a heavy object ultimately killing her.
Kwaku Amoh was reported to the traditional council of Nkrakan in order to seek justice for the late Comfort Afia Obiri but his family members never showed up and thus the case was dismissed. Kwaku Amoh was also being sought after by the police but escaped, with the help of his brother, to an unknown location. A new location did not curb Kwaku’s criminal behavior. He was arrested for stealing from a farmer in the town where he had gone into hiding. While in police custody for that crime, he was identified as the wanted murderer of Comfort Afia Obiri.
According to Abigail, she resents her father not just for the loss of her mother, but for the devastating effects his actions has had on the family unit. Shortly after the murder, she was separated from her siblings and currently resides with her cousin in Adenta Accra, where for the first time; she is attending school and has aspirations of becoming a journalist.
Her final remarks were “if I am to see my father I would ask him why he killed my mother? He should rot in jail for twenty years for ruining our family”.
The case is awaiting trial and Kwaku Amoh has been on remand at the Nsawam prison for a year now. Domestic violence is on the increase in remote villages in Ghana where due to illiteracy and poverty, people have no access to the educational, social or career tools and opportunities to improve their bleak living conditions. The government, human rights institutions, NGOs and all the media houses in Ghana have the responsibility to enlighten the public on human rights abuse, the legal repercussions of domestic violence, as well as public accessible resources to help people escape the poverty trap.
To support Abigail’s education in cash or kind, please contact Emmanuel (cousin) directly on 0244 647 510 or Ghislaine at firstname.lastname@example.org