It seems the last has not been heard of the unprecedented separation of the TV goddess - Tonto Dikeh and her estranged husband - Olakunle Oladunni Churchill who happens to be one of Nigeria’s multimillionaire.
It all started as rumour but began to make sense to fans of the couple when Tonto Dikeh firstly removed her husband’s surname from her Instagram page; then followed by series of posts on her social media platforms - giving an impression of how lucky she was to have got out of the marriage alive as she accused her once darling husband of being a wife batterer.
But her recent interview which has been republished by different media emphatically suggested Churchill had physically abused her, and cheated on her; sighting a period of their brief holiday in Ghana; a period during which she claimed she was physically abused and had to rush to Nigeria High Commission - naked - to seek refuge in 2015.
Tonto Dikeh, celebrity status and maintenance of 'good name'
In a society where domestic violence has taken lives of many women and left many marriages shattered, Tonto Dikeh’s accusation was not taken with a pinch of salt by fans and foes who believe no one woman deserves such a treatment in the name of marriage.
As a result of this 'confession' about her ordeal and reason for separation from her husband, she won the heart of many who sympathized with her.
But many have also criticized Tonto Dikeh for reaping what she did to others, while others accused her of intentionally denting the image of Churchill – just to have a reason to quit her marriage without having to lose fans but rather gain more sympathy and elevation in public domain as all celebrities always desire.
Some have also asked why a woman like Tonto Dikeh who once spoke gracefully of her husband, and had a child for him has decided to accused him of all wrongdoing while excusing herself from any blame that could have been responsible of the crash of the marriage.
Skyrocketing cases of Domestic Violence
According to domesticviolence.com.ng report, "28 per cent of all women, almost a third of all women in Nigeria, have experienced physical violence, a significant number in a country of almost 160 million, where almost half are women.”
How genuine are the accusations and counter-accusations
In a society where many women have suffered physical abuse, while men who faces same would rather prefer to die with it silently, it is important to dig deeper into the matter, and find out who's really bearing the brunt of abuse or lying about the whole accusation and counter-accusations.
It is in this respect that GhanaWeb decided to investigate an incident the popular actress referred to in her recent interview where she accused her estranged husband of physically abusing her in Ghana.
In a fact finding mission with a group of selected entertainment reporters, we engaged Supt. Joseph Oppong, Crime Officer at the Madina Divisional Police command who oversee the case Tonto Dikeh referred to in her interview.
In a sober manner, DSP Oppong recalled the distress call he got from the neighbourhood in one of the eyebrow estate of Accra known as Trassacco Valley.
“The incident happened on the 9th of June 2015. We got report that someone in the neighbourhood was causing damage to property, and had pulled out a pump action gun at one of the house helps who was trying to calm her down. On getting to the scene, everywhere was scattered; broken glasses, TV among other house equipment which was later valued at about $20,000.
Unfortunately, it took several of our men to bring her (Tonto) under control as she was very aggressive and appear not to be herself; as if someone is under the influence of something more powerful than her."
We brought her to the police station, and ask her to write her statement.
Even as she was doing that, she was insulting everyone. It was quite obvious she wasn’t herself. But whatever it is she took that made her behave in such erratic manner, I can’t tell."
When questioned if her accusation about Churchill responsible for the scars she got during the incident, Mr Oppong said “It couldn’t have been as a result of physical abuse from her husband, because he was not even in the house when the incident happened. This could have occurred during the period she lost control with everyone trying to calm her down and bruises from the things she damaged, because we met her in a tattered clothes when we got there."
He added that Tonto in her statement confessed to have caused damaged to Churchill’s property: “It was in this process we got to know that she had a history of behaving in such manner because her fiance then (Churchill) made us aware that she had once lost control same way she did and destroyed valuables worth $15,000 in his house.
When pressed further on what Tonto Dikeh cited as reasons for her erratic behaviour, he said “According to her statement, some ladies came to visit her fiancée, unknown to her that they are Churhill’s sister, and this made her mad in some way.”
He however debunked Tonto Dikeh’s narration that she went to the Nigeria High Commission to seek refuge after she was maltreated: “Unfortunately, that’s far from the truth. After inviting her to our station, we informed the Nigeria Consular in the name of Mr. Abraham Poko; which is the right thing to do as she’s not a Ghanaian. We took her there in our own car. She was later granted bail and her fiancé later dropped the charges some two days after, if not, she would have been taken to court and probably jailed, and made to pay for the loss but Mr. Churchill confessed he has no reason for doing that to a woman she loves and intended making his wife.
This was how the charges was withdrawn and she was set free.” He said.
Tonto has however threatened to reveal more damning images, videos that'll vindicate her. But while many of her fans await the files to be published, she has already started receiving accolades from fans for speaking up about her ordeal.
While Churchill as rather chose to keep mute about his former wife’s failures; a move many regards as a matured move deserving of a responsible man who would rather choose not to wash his estranged wife's linen in the pages of newspapers or on the internet
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