‘Inuk is adopted son, not slave’
THE 39-year-old Nigerian accusing a couple of keeping him as a domestic slave for 24 years in the United Kingdom, was actually “adopted” by them from a poor family in Nigeria, Harrow Crown Court heard on yesterday, when the case continued before Judge Arran.
Under cross-examination from the defence, Ofonime Sunday Inuk, answered mainly with “yes,” “I don’t know about that,” and “I can’t remember,” when the defence lawyer poked questions to him on his allegations against both Dr Emmanuel Edet and his wife, Antan.
The court was told that contrary to his claims of being held as a slave and in servitude, he was treated as a member of the Edet family and that, as a matter of fact, one of the Edets’ two boys (Anthony and Emmanuel Jr,) didn’t know he was adopted until the boy was either 9 or 10 years.
The defence also said that the Edets never treated him as a worker for them , but as a member of their family and that Inuk came to the UK with the family on Dr Edet’s passport, because he was considered one of them.
Under further cross- examination, the Edets’ defence put it to Inuk , that a private tutor was hired for him on at least two occasions while the family had previously lived, but he claimed it wasn’t so. When asked by the lawyer, “ when you arrived in the UK, do you remember attending an assessment centre in Chatham to test your level of literacy so as to know where to place you? Inuk replied: “ That’s not true.” Continuing, he was asked if he remembered that Dr Edet got him a private English tutor, Thomas Jones, who came to the house when they lived in Chatham, Kent. Inuk also denied that, saying, “No, your honour.”
When asked if he remembered that a dictionary was bought for him to help with his literacy. He did admit that, but quickly added, “it wasn’t for education “ purposes.
The Nigerian couple are standing trial for holding a person in slavery and servitude for 24 years and forcing the 39- year-old man to sleep in the corridor and to sit in the kitchen all day long, at their ongoing case at Harrow Crown Court.
Dr Emmanuel Edet, a 60-year-old obstetrician and gynaecologist and his 58-year-old senior nursing sister wife, Antan Edet, are accused of mistreating Ofonime Sunday Inuk, over the 20-year period which he was kept as a domestic slave.
Inuk, who gave his evidence behind a screen at the court on Friday, had earlier told the court his passport was kept away from him for over a decade, revealed how he kept a diary of the mistreatment he got in the house of the couple, including cooking for their visitors and being asked to go out of the house during the day, so as to make it look like he had a job.
Inuk, had also earlier revealed to the court that he was about 14 years old in 1989, when Antan and her husband, Emmanuel, brought him from Nigeria to the UK through Israel, giving him pocket money of either £5 or £10. Dr Edet and his nursing sister wife, who, apart from being accused by the claimant of making him clean their home and to look after their children, made many entries of how he was treated by the Edets in a diary he secretly kept.
In one, he wrote: “Tonight “ma” hit me so hard in my right eye because she saw me holding my phone in the kitchen. Prior to being cross- examined by prosecutor, Roger Smart, the court had of another entry, where he noted that the fridge door came off its hinges when he was opening it, and that he would be blamed for that.
When Smart asked him why he thought he would get the blame for that, the 39-year-old replied, “because they said I had a destructive hand,” and “that I was always mishandling things.”
Among others allegations, Inuk also said though he was not allowed to charge his phone nor use the landline in the Edets’ house, he told the court he did so at night without the couple’s knowledge.
Dr and Mrs Edet, who both deny assisting unlawful immigration and cruelty to a person under the age of 16, and had already pleaded not guilty to holding a person in slavery and servitude, were also accused of threatening Inuk that if he left the house and reported the matter to the police, he would be arrested as an illegal immigrant and sent back to Nigeria.
Jurors also heard that when he tried bringing it to the attention of the police in 2005, the law enforcement agents said they couldn’t help, because it was a family matter.
The hearing continues.
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