Wednesday, November 9, 2016, would remain a sad day for them forever for the Orioha family of Umuezeagu, Nsulu, Isiala Ngwa North Council Area of Abia State. This was the day their 36 –year-old wife and mother of four, Mrs. Amaechi Orioha, was burnt to death by political thugs while she was in her office at Okpuala, the headquarters of Isiala Ngwa North Council.
It was the day Abia State Chapter of PDP held primary election to select chairmanship candidates ahead of next month’s Local Government elections. It was a huge shock, pain and grief for the Oriohas that their wife who like any other day, went to work but could not return. Rather, what they heard was the devastating news that she was trapped in the office of the Chairman of the council where she worked as a clerical officer. Since then, life has not been the same for her 51- year- old husband/ farmer, Mr. Emmanuel Orioha and his four children, two boys and two girls and indeed, the entire Orioha family.
Mr. Emmanuel Oriha who narrated the sad incident to Crime Alert in tears, pointed accusing fingers at some prominent politicians from Ngwa Ukwu and Umuha areas of the Council. His suspicion arose from alleged inflammatory remarks they made when they visited his community to solicit support for their preferred aspirant, one Uzoma Iruka. Flanked by his elder brother, Ugonna, the distraught husband lamented that his wife was sacrificed by politicians to settle their scores and urged the Police to ensure that they will not go free. He also urged PDP which he said was behind everything to see to the training of their four children.
How it happened
“On Wednesday, November 9, 2016, at about 11.30 am, I was in my house resting after returning from the farm. I got a call from my senior brother, Ugonna, who told me to urgently proceed to the Federal Medical Centre, Umuahia, that my wife was involved in fire outbreak in her office. When I got to Umuahia, I saw my wife at the emergency ward and I could not recognize her because of the degree of burns she sustained. I told them this is not my wife. The doctors who were doing everything possible to save her life told me to call her as she was still managing to speak. I called her and she responded. I lost control; it was like the end of the world for me.
“After trying their best, the doctors referred us to the National Orthopaedic Hospital, Enugu, where the doctors told me in confidence that the chance of her survival was 50-50 because of the level of injuries she sustained. Before then, I asked her if she recognized the people that set the office on fire. She mentioned three persons, all of them natives of Isiala Ngwa North. She said that three boys came to the chairman’s office with petrol and one of their colleagues confronted them, they said that the Transition Committee chairman asked them to buy it for his generator. ”
Shortly after, the chairman came to his office and picked few things and left. After that, one of the boys made a phone call after which one of them poured the fuel around chairman’s office and lit it up,” he alleged. She pleaded for life Orioha said that his late wife told him that she was crying and pleading with the arsonists to allow her escape from the fire but they refused. One of her colleagues died instantly during the inferno.
He also lamented that the Transition chairman whom his late wife worked for did not come to see her at FMC or orthopaedic hospital but came to their house after the woman died.
Why we are pointing accusing fingers. Interjecting, his elder brother, Ugonna Orioha, alleged that: “On October 19, 2016, some notable politicians from Ngwa Ugwu and Umuha visited our community to solicit support for their aspirant running for chairmanship of the council.
They addressed us and some of them threatened that if one of the aspirants, Ginger Onwusibe, wins the election, blood will flow, that they will burn down the council. One of our leaders cautioned them over the statement reminding all of us that it should not be a do or die affair. Now see what happened about two weeks after. Our principal suspects.
“Those people and the Transition Chairman are our principal suspects in the death of our wife. We are ready to go anywhere and mention their names. We are using this opportunity to call on the Federal Government to wade into the issue of political killings in Isiala Ngwa North. The Federal Government should do something about it.” Continuing, the bereaved husband lamented, “Now, they have also sent a letter of threat to my brother, Ugonna. The life of our family is under threat. We appeal for police protection.”
He brandished one-paragraph letter of threat that was allegedly sent to Ugonna which reads;
“Ugonna Orioha, choose to close your mouth or we shall come for you.” He said it has been submitted to the police.