Love, fire and murder: Why teenage Benue girl burnt lover to death | Dailytrust

Love, fire and murder: Why teenage Benue girl burnt lover to death

Before his death, Chidinma Onah battled his injuries from the fire

Certainly, the future for Esther Alex, a teenager who set her 28-year-old boyfriend ablaze in Makurdi, capital of Benue State, looks bleak.

Esther, a prospective law student of the Benue State University (BSU), Makurdi, during the early hours of Monday, January 11, 2021, poured petrol on her boyfriend while he was in bed and ignited a fire that later caused his death.

Apparently soaked in grief, Esther now in police custody, wishes she could turn back the hand of the clock for her deceased lover, Chidinma Ikechukwu Omah, who until his death owned and operated a patent medicine store on Zaki Biam Street in the Wadata suburb of Makurdi Metropolis.

Esther and Late Omah

In an interview with our correspondent at the state police command headquarters in Makurdi, Esther admitted that she killed Chidinma, her lover for over two years.

Esther said, “I am 17 years old. I’m about entering BSU to study law because I have been offered admission.

“I killed my boyfriend. I can’t just explain why I did it.

“I was just angry over all the issues we were having. We were fighting over many issues.

“I was a virgin when he met me; when he promised never to leave me, I never wanted going into any relationship with him, but I don’t know what happened so we started dating.

“On the very day he met with me, he promised never to leave me; that he would stand by me, but I told him that I didn’t trust him so he swore that he would never leave me; to the extent that we had to take an oath.

“I allowed him to make love to me and we were just doing fine.”

However, trouble started when, according to the teenager, she got pregnant for her lover who tendered many reasons for them to terminate the pregnancy and that he also convinced her to terminate two more pregnancies.

She explained that, “He gave so many reasons for me to abort the child when the pregnancy was two months plus and he gave me the injection himself. Due to all the reasons he gave me I continued to mingle with him.

“Then he (Chidinma) at a point said he would introduce me to his family and he came to my house to meet my family with some people, but I don’t know if they were really his people, and my family was convinced that they were his people so I packed to his place and started living with him.”

According to her, it was while they started living together that more issues began to come up, especially as she became pregnant for the second time and her lover being knowledgeable about medicine still manoeuvered and injected her thereby terminating the pregnancy.

She explained that, “When I started living with him I got pregnant again.

“He said we would keep that one. Then suddenly he started behaving strangely.

“He would leave the house in the morning and would not come back until night, and if asked him he would give so many excuses.

“He would bring women to the house and ask me to lie on the floor while they lay on the bed.

“Some of them (women) even came to fight me when I was pregnant.

“Finally, he said I should abort the pregnancy and that he didn’t need me in his life.

“I’m talking about the third pregnancy. It was the one I went for D and C, but the other two it was he (Chidinma) who did them himself.”

Esther said she then resorted to giving him problems too because he was misbehaving, adding that he called his sister who came to live with them and that both of them started fighting her.

She further said Chidinma severally dragged her to the Police ‘A’ Division in Makurdi as a deliberate attempt to punish her during which period he would pose as the innocent partner to attract sympathy while making her look bad before everyone else because she could not fight for herself.

Esther said she moved out of the house back to her parent’s home after the third pregnancy which nearly claimed her life was aborted, stressing that she did not have anything to do with him again until that Saturday night, January 9, when he returned from a journey and bumped into her around her parent’s neighbourhood.

She explained that, “After our last fight, he travelled and came back on Saturday night.

“He came to my house while I went to buy something from a shop.

“As I was crossing the road he started calling my name, and then came close to me and told me that he came so that we could sort things out, but I did not give him a listening ear.

“So when I tried to move, he held me and asked for forgiveness, saying there were things he needed to settle with me.

“But I insisted I didn’t have any issue with him and that he should go I had forgiven him.

The scene were the act was committed

“He said I should come and see him at home and left.

“The following day (Sunday) I left for his place.

“As I was going I was scared that he might do something to me because his coming to me to reconcile might be something else.

“So, I went and bought fuel. I bought matches too and went to visit him.

“When I got to his house, I knocked at the window because they had already closed the gate.

“He came out and opened the gate and I entered, leaving the fuel outside.

“He tried to touch me but I refused; then he forced me and we had sex and slept off.

“I woke up at night and brought in the fuel and poured it on the rug and lit it.

“I ran out naked because after we had sex I didn’t put on my clothes. I went and slept at a church.”

Esther, who wept profusely all through the interview, intimated that her father resided in Lagos while she lived with her mother in Makurdi.

At the time our correspondent visited the medicine store and home of the deceased on Tuesday, sympathisers and onlookers still thronged the vicinity to catch a glimpse of the charred household items.

A younger sister of the deceased, Lovelyn, told our correspondent that she stayed with Chidinma between June and December, 2020, and that they had travelled to the village together for the holidays.

Lovelyn, a 300-level undergraduate of the University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN), said she could have returned with her late brother to Makurdi on Saturday but for the reopening of her school expected to begin academic activities on January 18.

She said, “My brother had been going out with Esther for about six months.

“From what neighbours told me, it appeared she drugged him before setting the room ablaze because he was said to be unconscious.

“My brother was said to be lying helplessly while the fire was burning.”

Similarly, an elder brother of the deceased, Ezekiel Chimobi, admitted he knew Esther as his late brother’s girlfriend.

Chimobi added that they were on their way to bury the deceased in his hometown in Enugu State having already retrieved his corpse from the Federal Medical Centre (FMC) where he died.

The deceased’s landlord, Caleb Useni, said he was told that Esther went to Chidinma’s house on his return from the village with the intention to harm him because news filtered to her that he went to complete his marriage rites with another woman.

The landlord further alleged that Esther was known by neighbours for unruly behaviour and criminal tendencies, adding that she implicated Chidinma with a stolen phone and expired medicine contents she dropped at his chemist and called on authorities to arrest him, as well as sending hired assassins after him.

Also, at No 17 Yandev Street, where the deceased lived and the incident happened, neighbours described Esther as very troublesome.

A neighbour, Victoria Cletus, said, “Chidinma was a good person. He lived in this compound for over two years and had his medicine shop across the street.”

The state’s police spokesman, DSP Catherine Anene, who confirmed the incident, said it happened at 2am on Monday, January 11, 2021, and added that Esther would remain in the command’s custody pending the completion of investigation.