Florence Umukoro

A girl with disability, Florence Umukoro, has accused her parents of maltreatment after she became deaf.

Florence lives with her parents at their house in Ajah area of Lagos State.

A report released by Punch Metro stated that after Florence’s condition was discovered in 2011, her life took a sad turn, as the Delta State indigene alleged that her parents and pastors said she was demon-possessed.

Instead of seeking medical intervention to improve her condition, the 23-year-old alleged, her parents stopped sponsoring her education and took her to various churches for deliverance.

Florence communicated with Punch Metro correspondent through WhatsApp.

She said, “I have been hoping my life will change for the better, but things keep getting worse as time goes by. My family and relatives have disowned me; nobody cares about me. My parents have been helping my siblings with their schooling, but they have left me out of the picture.

“I have been labelled ‘possessed by a demon’ and it is breaking my heart. On April 27, 2021, my younger sister said I should prepare for a church programme that I would be attending with our mother, Mary, but I declined.

“Suddenly, my parents and older brother, Emmanuel, forcefully dragged me to a blue garment church owned by a prophetess. The prophetess told them to chain my hands and legs to prevent me from leaving.

“Then, they had their driver shave me and ordered my mother to bathe me. I pleaded for compassion and respect for my privacy, all to no avail. The prophetess stood behind me with a stick and threatened to beat me up if I revolted.

“Mother complied with her call to strip me naked. I felt so wounded in my spirit as they striped me of my dignity. I got reduced to an animal as I was kept in chains from Wednesday, April 28, to Saturday, May 1, 2021.”

Florence stated that her efforts to get help have proved abortive, adding that she was feeling suicidal because of “neglect and the inhumane conditions” her parents and pastors subjected her to.

She added, “They violated my rights and also spied on my life, thus making me feel like a symbol of evil; I’m heartbroken. I can’t go on this way anymore. I will do whatever it takes to free myself, even if it means committing suicide to end my pains.

“These seemingly unending years of religious and domestic persecution must end. Everything started when pastors told them that my hearing loss was spiritual. A relative, including other clerics, also said I was demonised.

“I opened up about my hearing issue in 2011 and they often beat and forcefully dragged me to deliverance programmes. They (parents) send my siblings to high school and university, but I am always sitting at home, doing nothing.

“I am telling others about my problem because I can’t cope with the stigma any more. I’m slowly getting out of the public eye as the humiliation and trauma is becoming unbearable.

“All I need is for someone to help me get treatment for my health so that I can find a job and leave this situation behind, rather than getting left behind while my siblings move on.”

When contacted, Florence’s father, John, said his daughter was under a spiritual attack.

He said, “If she says I am not taking care of her, maybe that is how she takes it. Actually, I am caring for her, but this thing is spiritual because she was not given birth to with that condition. It came suddenly and I believe it is a spiritual problem.

“Her mother took her to the General Hospital on the Island and they prescribed different drugs for her to be taking and after she finished taking the drugs, she should return for further examination. But when we got home, she threw away the medicine.

“Her behaviour became unbearable and I knew that it was not ordinary, so we resorted to spiritual prayers. We have been seeking spiritual help for over eight years. Anytime we seek help, she will run away. Immediately she sees a man of God, she will run away.

“I said she is experiencing spiritual attack, and not that she is a demon. But when she threw away her medicine, do you expect me to take her back to the same hospital? Hearing aid is what I am trying to get for her.”



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