This is a chilling story of a young man whose left hand was chopped-off by a angry husband for having an affair with his wife. Okechukwu Keshi Ukegbu writes on the incident that caused a stir in Umuagu Village of Obingwa LGA of Abia State.
“The Casualties,” by John Pepper Clark, is a classical illustration of the pains of the Nigerian-Biafran civil war.
The poem captured categories of the casualties of the war. The most pathetic among these casualties were those captured in lines three and four of the poem: “The casualties are not only those who are dead/though they await burial by installment”.
Clark’s illustration of those who await burial by installment symbolises those who lost their limbs and hands through bullets or other ammunitions in the war.
The poet’s definition of those who await burial by installment in the civil war is far from the case of Mr. Irechi Abel Olekanma of Umuagu village in Obingwa local government area of Abia State.
Olekanma, in his 30s, was until now an able-bodied young man. His emergency deformity came later in the day when he went to honour an invitation by his lover, Blessing John, who resides with her husband, John Nwaobia of Nenu Community, at Osusu Umuikpeghe, a neighbouring village with Umuagu in the same Obingwa local government area. The incident would render Olekanma a one handed man for life, unless he decides to wear an artificial limb.
According to a resident of Osusu Umuikpeghe who confided in Friday Magazine on condition of anonymity, Blessing and Olekanma have been lovers to the extent that the former pays the latter visits and spent days at Umuagu, Olekanma’s place.
But on this fateful evening, when Olekanma received the phone call from his lover, he left his home thinking that it was business as usual. On getting to Blessing’s house, he was invited inside the room.
In the process, John invaded the room with a machete, which neighbours said he was sharpening for the past three days. According to accounts, Olekanma’s pleas to John to spare him, asking him [John] if he has not seen him visiting the place felled on deaf ears as John chopped-off Olekanma’s left hand and inflicted severe machete injuries on the wife who intervened.
Friday magazine gathered that while Olekanma is hospitalized in Abia State Teaching Hospital, ABSUTH, Abayi, Aba, and his chopped-off hand deposited in the mortuary by police as exhibit, his lover [Blessing] is receiving medical attention at the Seventh Day Adventists, SDA,. Hospital along New-Umuahia Road, Aba.
The culprit, John Nwaobia, at the time of filing this report, was at Divisional Police Headquarters, Ohuru Isimiri which jurisdiction the place of the incident falls.
The Police Public Relations Officer, PPRO, Abia State Command, Mr. Geoffrey Ogbonna, when contacted by Friday Magazine on phone confirmed the incident, adding that investigations into the matter are ongoing and receiving due attention.
A kinsman of Olekanma who confided in Friday Magazine said that the issue could have got out of hand if not for the swift intervention of the police. According to him, both Umuagu people and Osusu Umuikpeghe are not happy with the extent John took the issue, by chopping-off the hand of his fellow man.
The source further said that Osusu Umuikpeghe, where John resides, is the maternal home of Olekanma [the victim]. The source said that the culture of Ngwaland forbids the blood of any maternal relation to be shed on the soil of their maternal home. He added that whenever John returns to the place, eventually if he escapes the long arms of the law, he would appease the gods of the land for his atrocities.
The incident has once again brought to the fore the character of the culprit, John. The man, Friday Magazine gathered, is said to be married to three different women, on different occasions and separated from them.
It was also learnt that the legitimacy of John’s marriage to Blessing is in question as a resident doubts whether he has paid any dowry on the head of Blessing. The source further alleged that Blessing is only a tenant and girl friend to John.
John, who runs a drinking joint at Ama Odogwu in Osusu Umuikpeghe, is alleged to be under the influence of alcohol 24 hours. He is also said to have little or no time to his wives, a basis, neighbours said led to incessant separations from his wives.
A resident who would not want his name in print alleged thus: “How would a man who spends almost 24 hours of the day at his drinking joint not have problems with his wives? Which time does he satisfy these women?”
Neighbours also alleged that three days to the incident, John was busy sharpening his machete, boasting that he was expecting to slaughter a goat that would stray into his house.
Some residents are beginning to wonder if the incident is a set up between John and his wife. The issue is generating mixed reactions as some argue that if it were a set up that John could not have also inflicted machete injuries on the wife.
John has joined the league of persons who have in one occasion or the other inflicted harm on their lovers for alleged infidelity.
Recently, it was reported that a 25-year-old man, Edmund Educhukwu, was admitted at the intensive care unit of the University of Calabar Teaching Hospital after his girlfriend, Dorothy Nkanu, poured acid on him.
It was reported that Educhukwu and Nkanu live in the same apartment. Nkanu allegedly poured a bucket of acid on her lover, Educhukwu, following suspicion that he was dating another lady.
Although Educhukwu was rushed to UCTH by neighbours immediately after the incident on Friday, his right eye, face and torso were badly damaged by the acid.
According to Educhukwu, a final year student at the University of Calabar, he and Nkanu had been lovers for some time.
“We even had passionate time that night and it was in the morning that she did this to me without any warning,” he said.
On what might have prompted such an attack, he said Nkanu had once accused him of planning to dump her for another lady.
Educhukwu said, “But I reassured her that it was not true that people were only trying to destroy our relationship. But it did not occur to me that she was still harbouring the grudge.
“It was when I was rounding off our early morning prayers with my eyes still closed that she tip-toed outside, brought the bucket containing the acid and poured it on me.”
He said Nkanu, who is from Agwagwune in Biase local government area of the state, chose the time to attack him when he was not wearing shirt.
“After pouring the acid on me she taunted me. She asked me whether the God I was praying to supports my plan?”
In a related incident, a 400-level student of English Department, Faculty of Arts, Ahmadu Bello University, ABU,
Zaria, Gladys Onwosureye, was reportedly bathed with concentrated acid by her boyfriend, James popularly known as Jimmy, a graduate of Sociology from the same institution.
Onwosureye reportedly became a victim of the unfortunate incident on her way to her hostel after closing from the Catholic Students Fellowship within the school premises.
She was said to have stopped in front of one of the male hostels known as Suleiman Hall to answer a call when her boyfriend came from behind and reportedly poured the liquid on her. It was gathered that some students at the scene of the incident rushed to get water which was poured on her face to stop the effect after Gladys was said to have been screaming from the effect of the acid.
The report claimed that the relationship between them started on campus when her assailant was still a student of the Faculty of Social Science. They were both in love until the parents of Gladys instructed their daughter to quit the relationship on the grounds that they were not in support of it.
It was gathered that trouble started when the young man, who had finished his National Youth Service Corps, NYSC, and had even gotten an appointment in the nation’s capital, Abuja, had gone back to the school for his Masters degree.
It was reported that he had inquired from Gladys about the state of the relationship which was said to have lost its spark shortly after he graduated from the institution. Gladys was said to have told her boyfriend the state of the relationship and the stand of her parents about her choice of the boy as life partner. The information was said not to have gone well with him, hence the attack. Female students of the institution were said to have gone on a peaceful demonstration demanding that justice must be done as this was not the first
time such was happening in the history of the school since its establishment.