A week before Christmas, in their one-room apartment in Awori, Majidun area of Ikorodu, Lagos state, they had planned where they would visit. On the D-day, an unkind fate dashed their hope and shattered their excitement leaving them rather, with sad memories.
Crime Guard gathered that as early as 7am that fateful day, the eldest son, Chidera Odoh, 17, joined his mother, Christiana in hawking rice and pepper soup after leaving some at home for the family to eat.
They planned to use the proceeds for Christmas celebration. Vanguard gathered that on arrival, a heated argument ensued between Christiana and her husband, Romanus which snowballed into a big fight. Christiana was said to have stabbed her husband with a kitchen knife in the stomach.
The 55-year-old Romanus reportedly died moment before reaching hospital.
Conflicting cause of fight
There were however conflicting reports on the cause of the scuffle between the couple. A version said it was caused by the refusal of the deceased to provide money for his family to cook for the Christmas. But the bereaved children described the version as false, saying that the heated argument which degenerated into a fight between their parents, occurred after their father accused their mother of infidelity.
When Crime Guard visited the children in Ikorodu, they looked a shadow of themselves. As at 12 noon Thursday, some of them were yet to take their break fast . After a long wait for an approval from a relative, the eldest son, Chidera, explained how life was snuffed out of their father. He said: “ My mother did not intentionally kill my father. She never meant to stab him, it was all a mistake”.
At this point, he paused when his siblings began to cry. Continuing, Chidera said: “When my mother and I returned from the market where we went to sell rice and pepper soup on Christmas day, she went straight to bed, saying she was tired. Later, daddy came back home drunk and also went to bed. The next thing we heard was mum telling dad to leave her alone. He started accusing her again of visiting some of her boyfriends. Dad was fond of accusing my mother of having an affair with any man that came to buy rice and pepper soup from her.
“They started quarrelling and dad stood up from the bed and broke a bottle which he threatened to stab my mother with. I held my father , begging him not to carry out his threat. One of our neighbours, uncle Kola who came in, collected the broken bottle from my father. “But daddy rushed out and came back with a kitchen knife which he threatened to stab my mother with. My mother moved closer to him to collect the knife. But in the process of struggling with him, it pierced into my father’s stomach. When my mother noticed what happened, she called out for help.
I was among those who rushed my father to the hospital, where he was confirmed dead on arrival”, he said in tears.
Crime Guard gathered that when news of the death of the Ebonyi state father of eight filtered in , occupants of the building held Christiana until the arrival of policemen from Ajegunle division. They whisked her away. The suspect’s younger sister, Mercy Eze, also told Crime Guard that aside accusing her sister of infidelity, the deceased was also fond of beating her sister. She revealed that her sister had been responsible for the family’s upkeep for a long time, alleging that the deceased usually left home for a week without deeming it fit to drop money for the children’s feeding. She lamented that rather than get a pat at the back, her sister’s late husband would beat her and accuse her of cheating on him.
According to Eze,” My sister has lost some of her teeth due to constant battering. Any time her husband came back drunk, he would pounce on her . This accusation had been on for long but my sister would always say that she was only holding on because of her children.”
But some members of the bereaved family did not buy the explanation as they insisted that Christiana allegedly stabbed their brother to death because of his inability to provide money for Christmas food. One of them who gave his name simply as Andrew said that the family would soon come up with its position on the matter. “For now, I can not speak on behalf of my family because I have not been authorised to do so.
What we heard was that she had been threatening to kill our brother and now she has carried out her threat. We leave the police to do their work”, he said.
Appeal to Police, government
Meanwhile, the children have appealed to the Police to carry out discreet investigation with a view to ascertaining how their father died. They also called on the Lagos State government to come to their aid. Chidera said “As it is, we are like orphans. Our father is no more and our mother who used to cater for our feeding and other responsibilities is being detained by the police.
Since the incident happened, we have been feeding from hand to mouth. Neighbours and relatives have been coming to check on us. But how long will this go ?. Christiana , has been transferred to the State Criminal Investigation and Intelligence Department , SCIID, Yaba for further investigation , from where she would be charged to court.