In what might sound like a tale from a Hammer House of Horror movie, a seven-month pregnant woman was recently burnt to death in Umuekechi village, Umuekwunne community in Ngor-Okpala Local Government Area of Imo State. It was learnt that she was doused with fuel and set ablaze by her brother-in-law. Reason? The woman was said to have poured water on the man’s dog.
Daily Sun gathered that at about mid-day on Wednesday last week, Mrs. Uloma Njoku had served her three children their lunch and continued with her laundry at the backyard. But while the children were eating in the family’s compound, the dog of her brother-in-law, Chibueze, allegedly strayed to where they were eating. The dog was said to have dipped its mouth into their cup of water. One of the children then allegedly reported the incident to her mother, Uloma.
Uloma was said to have poured the water on the dog before throwing the cup away. Trouble started when Chibueze, who was said to be inside his room at the time, saw what his brother’s wife had done to his dog. According to eyewitnesses, he promptly came out to confront her, demanding to know why she poured water on his dog just because the animal wanted to drink water from a cup. That led to an exchange of abusive words between Uloma and Chibueze. During the altercation, Daily Sun learnt that Chibueze had threatened to deal with Uloma ruthlessly.
He reportedly left the compound while Uloma went to the back of the compound to spread the clothes she had washed. But unknown to the heavily pregnant woman, Chibueze had gone into his room. He came out with a plastic bowl filled with petrol and made straight for Uloma, who was hanging her washed clothes at the back of the compound. He immediately splashed the fuel on her, set her ablaze and took to his heels. It was the cry of anguish from Uloma that attracted their neighbours who tried to put out the fire. They then rushed her to the community health centre.
Unfortunately, she died the following day as a result of the severe burns she had suffered. One of the villagers told Daily Sun that ever since the late Uloma was married into that family, she had never been in good terms with Chibueze, adding that the death of Uloma should be blamed on her husband, Emma Njoku. “This incident is nothing but the climax of accumulated grievances by Chibueze. But he went too far this time and that is why the youths had to hunt for him.
And immediately he was caught, he was handed over to the police.” Daily Sun equally learnt that the youths of the village who could no longer bear the atrocities of Chibueze had to fish him out from hiding and hand him over to the police. Many members of the community said Chibueze Njoku had, before the latest atrocity of setting his elder brother’s wife on fire, been a terror in the village. One of the community members, a man, said the people, including his family members, were afraid of him, as he had once threatened to kill his elder brother and his children.
He said after the ugly incident, the youths in the community decided to put an end to his nefarious activities. Meanwhile, it was learnt that the relations of the deceased woman are already spoiling for war with the Njoku family if they refuse to hand the culprit to them. The Police Public Relations Officer in Imo State, Vitalis Onugu, a deputy superintendent of police (DSP) confirmed that Chibueze was nabbed and is currently being held at the State Criminal Investigation Department. The police spokesman said the police authorities are still investigating the matter.