A 26-year-old lady, Mnena Akpera, has recounted how her boss’s wife, Mrs. Faith Udende, bathed her with hot water on the suspicion that she was having an affair with her husband.
As a result of the incident, the lady, the daughter of a former Commissioner in Benue State and a consultant with the newly established Benue Television is currently battling for her life at the Amenity Ward of the Federal Medical Centre (FMC), Makurdi. Narrating her ordeal to our correspondent, the young lady who is still nursing the wounds from the hot water poured on her face, arms and breasts insists she had no romantic relationship whatsoever with his boss, Mr. Jeff Udende, whose wife caused her the grievous bodily injuries.
How our relationship started – Akpera
The lady with a diploma in Film and Television production from Multichoice and Pan-Atlantic University, and working in Abuja before she came home to Gboko, Benue State, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, narrated how her contact with the man started on April 26, 2020. That was the day she said that Jeff called to inform her that her services were needed at the new Benue TV that was in the offing.
“When he called me, I was in Gboko with my parents and I told them” she said. “They prayed for me and I arrived Makurdi the following day. When I came, we held a meeting with the Chief Press Secretary CPS) to the Governor. When the CPS saw my CV and the works that I had done, he asked me if I would be able to work with someone to head the content department and I said yes.
“I was actually lodged at Trust Resort Hotels on April 24th where other members of the Benue Television crew were staying. However, after I stayed there for two days, I went back to Gboko, a day after the interview with the CPS. While in Gboko, Jeff called me to say that there was going to be a stakeholders’ meeting and they needed a director to direct the show. So, I had to come back to Makurdi from Gboko. He asked if I knew any of my friends that stay in Makurdi and can accommodate me for a short while. I told him yes.” She said it was from her friend’s house that she was attending broadcast meetings until her friend’s rent expired and she decided to quit the accommodation.
The accommodation problem that caused the suspicion
Mnena explained that after she lost her accommodation at her friend’s place, she approached Jeff again and told him of the need for the organisation to provide her with an accommodation as had been done for other consultants. “When I told him about it, he said the Governor would soon re- lease money for accommodation and that I should go to his family house and that he was going to talk to his father and his wife about it. He said he would tell them that because of my accommodation issue, I would stay there in the meantime. That was what led me to going to stay at his house after he sought permission from his father and his wife.”
However, she alleged that two weeks after she packed into the house, Jeff’s wife called her one day and asked her to pack her things and leave the house that it is not every woman that would allow another lady to come into her matrimonial home. She told her that she was traveling to Abuja and that when she comes back, she would sort herself out. But on her return she couldn’t immediately leave the house because, according to her, she had a lot of work to do at the office. This was what prevented her from going to look for accommodation elsewhere.
“I was inAbuja for a month. But the week I came back, I had a lot of work to do at Benue Television because a lot of programmes were not shot in my absence. So, I had to do a lot of work to cover up for the time that I was away,” she said. “A week after I came back, I went close to the Government house to check a house. Jeff told me that I should get a three-bedroom flat be- cause some people would be coming from Lagos to handle the control room system, and the vision control. The day after I went round to look for a house, I went for production and at about 9pm, the woman’s sister met me and said that, am I aware that I’m the reason Jeff and his wife are having problem. I said I’m not aware. She said: why did I go back to the house and I said I went back because Jeff has not provided accommodation for me as a consultant. So, he gave his house as a transit place for me to do my work. She now made a statement that if today is going to be the last day of my consultancy, so be it. I didn’t say anything. I went into the bus and at about 9:40pm I went to the house.”
The fight and bathing with hot water
Mnena said when she returned to the house that night she met the gateman who told her that Jeff’s wife was waiting for her. Later, at about 10pm, she said the woman came upstairs and told her to pack her things and leave the house but she pleaded with her to allow her stay till the following morning as it was already late. “I assured her that I would pack my things out the following day and leave the house. She told me that she doesn’t want me to sleep in the same house with her. I told her that if she doesn’t want me, I would leave but that I would come and pack my things the following day. Before you know it, this woman came into the room and started saying all sorts of things like: why am I not married and why am I squatting in people’s husband’s house and so on. She said she was already married at my age and now, I want to destroy her home. I said I’m not there to destroy her home but to work for her husband.
“Before I knew it, she slapped me. She hit me so hard that my head started spinning. I went to the bathroom, had my bath, came back, wore my shirt, packed my things and tried to leave. I had production to do the following day.
I packed the things that I would wear for the production. But when I went to open the door to leave, I discovered that she had locked it. She later came back and again started saying a lot of things. That’s when we started fighting. She hit me. I hit her back and then bit her on her arm so that she could leave me alone. She pushed me to the floor. I supported myself with my leg and held onto her hair. She told me to leave her hair. I did.
“She ran out but locked me inside the room again. Apparently, everybody in the house was outside. She now came back and said: so, I’m still here? I said she locked me inside. How did she expect me to go out? Then I was by the mirror looking at where she hit me on my face and was trying to pad it with one cream. The next thing she did was to enter the room, called my name the first time. I didn’t turn. She called my name the second time. I turned. That was when she poured hot water on my body and locked the door. I screamed. She ran downstairs and left me to continue to writhe in pains.”
She said when people who were outside heard her cry they tried to forcefully open the door but they couldn’t because it was locked. At the end, they had to climb a ladder in order to gain access into the room through the window.
“By this time, my body had started peeling off. So, Jeff and other members of the house had to climb through a ladder and came into the room to get me out also through the ladder. They started applying red oil and salt on my body until the police came and I was rushed to the hospital. I learnt that Jeff came into the house when the incident started. But at that time, his wife had already locked the door and taken away the key.”
The physical, emotional pains and social media reports
Asked how she feels right now, she said: “I feel really bad most especially as this is happening to me all because I came to serve my state. The mistake I made was not to go back when an accommodation was not provided for me. I wouldn’t have compromised when accommodation was not given to me all in the name of coming to serve my state. Now that mistake has landed me in hospital where my skin has peeled off and where I have to pass through pains everyday.”
But she argues that the physical pains she feels right now is nothing compared with the emotional pain she is going through over the deliberate tarnishing of her hard-earned name and reputation through social media postings. “What is most annoying is that after this woman did this to me, she paid bloggers to write lies about me on social media,” she said. “I have to deal with the fact that international bodies, people I have worked with and worked for and people I have signed contracts with, people who don’t want scandals are now withdrawing from whatever contracts they have with me. I have lost so much.” But how about the allegation that is rife on the social media that she was having an affair with Mr. Udende? And, that was why his wife insisted she must leave her house and later poured hot water on her? She dismissed it with a wave of hand and said: “I’m not with Jeff. He was just a colleague and a boss. I’ve never been with him.”
Mrs Akpera, Udende and police’s comments
Speaking on the issue, Mnena’s mother, Apostle Alice Akpera who disclosed that Mnena her daughter is the first of her five children thanked Governor Samuel Ortom for directing that her daughter be moved from the private hospital where she was initially admitted to the FMC (Federal Medical Centre) where she’s currently receiving treatment. The 49-year-old woman debunked the rumour making the rounds on social media and around town about a romantic relationship go- ing on between her daughter and Mr. Udende. “There was nothing like that at all,” she said. “My daughter has no relationship with Jeff and can never have. This is the story this lady cooked up after pouring hot water on my child. I believe she did that in order to curry public favour. I had to call some girls to find out but they told me that there was no relationship between them. I even called my child privately and asked her to confide in me but she said sincerely that there was no relationship between them. All these stories are from the pit of hell.”
Asked what has been Jeff’s reaction since after the incident, Mrs. Akpera said he had been coming around and even helped to pay the hospital bills until the Governor directed her daughter’s transfer to FMC. While lamenting that the culprit is walking about freely while her daughter continues to languish in the hospital, Mrs Akpera called for justice to be served in the case. When contacted by phone to state her own side of the story, Faith retorted brusquely:
“Sorry, I can’t talk about this issue. I won’t comment on it. I don’t know who gave you the story. As far as I am concerned, the issue is closed, so there is no point publishing anything about it.” She then switched off her phone. Efforts to reach Jeff by telephone and through text messages failed as he neither picked his calls nor responded to the text messages sent to his phone at the time of filing this report. Contact- ed, the Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO) DSP Catherine Anene confirmed the report but added that investigation was ongoing on the matter.