Amanuke Community in Awka North Local Government Area of Anambra State, Southeast Nigeria, woke up on Wednesday to the news that Uchechukwu Nweke, a 65 years old hunter and his family members had died under curious circumstances.
The other victims were his wife, Patricia, 55, and son, Obinna, 29, all of whom were found in pools of their own blood.
Their house was razed by fire but it was not clear what was responsible as it was said to have burnt around 3 a.m. on the day of the incident.
A preliminary investigation report by the police stated that Nweke shot his wife and son with his single barrel Danegun before shooting himself.
CSP Haruna Mohammed, the Police Public Relations Officer, Anambra State Command, said although the circumstances around the incident were yet unclear, the hunter was responsible for setting the family house ablaze.
“Police detectives attached to Achalla Police Division visited the scene and rushed victims to Uche Hospital, Isuanocha, for medical attention but all the three victims were certified dead by a medical doctor on arrival.
“Investigation is ongoing to ascertain the circumstances surrounding the incident,” Mohammed said.
Emeka Anukwe, an indigene of Amanuke, said he was not aware of any rift among the family members and that the hunter did not exhibit any form of mental instability in the past
Anukwe called on the police to conduct a thorough investigation on the incident to ascertain if Nweke actually exterminated his family.
Two days earlier, 28 years old Obijofa Chukwuemeka of Ofufe Nza village in Ekwusigo Local Government Area of the state was arrested for allegedly killing his wife, Chisom, and their four years old daughter with a shovel.
Members of Anambra Vigilance Group who intervened at the time of the incident were also allegedly attacked by the suspect with the shovel.
According to the police, the suspect equally used the object to wound a vigilante who tried to rescue the victims.
“Police detectives visited the scene and rushed victims to a hospital for medical attention but victims were certified dead by a medical doctor on arrival, while the wounded vigilante is responding to treatment,” the police said.
Similarly, a young lady whose identity is yet to be known allegedly died after falling off the fifth floor of a five-story building in Awada in Obosi Idemili North Local Government Area of the state.
The lady, said to be about 23 years old, reportedly fell from the apartment of her boyfriend identified as Nonso Eze, 37, around 3 a.m.
“The victim was rushed to a private hospital in Onitsha for medical attention but was certified dead on arrival by a medical doctor.
“Preliminary inquiry from the occupants of the compound revealed that the girl was allegedly pushed down from the room of one Nonso Eze ‘m’, aged 37years, of the same address who is occupying the 5th floor, following a quarrel.
“Suspect was arrested, search executed in his apartment where a pair of female slippers and an unused condom was recovered as exhibits,” Mohammed stated.
HumAngle learnt that there had been cases in the area like the lady’s, in the past, where partners killed each other in bizarre and inexplicable circumstances.
Sometimes, people have fallen off from buildings and died or sustained serious injuries, HumAngle further learnt.
Commenting on the deaths, Rev. Fr Obinna Dike, said the harsh economic situation in Nigeria was taking a toll on the sense of judgement of the people.
Dike graded said most people needed psychological and spiritual assistance but sought succor in the wrong places.
He said there could be more deaths in the society if urgent steps were not taken to ease tension among the people.
Dike, a football coach, said people engaging in sports or seeing games could help them manage stress instead of resorting to alcoholism as a form of relief.
“There (might) have been warning signs, the economic situation is taking a toll on most families; the level of uncertainty in terms of economic and social security is high.
“In the past, people used to go to churches for counselling but they are not making it easy for people, the pastors end up aggravating the issues.
“People need shoulders they can lean on, they need succour, not who will tell them that their problems are from the village or family members, these things lead to frustrations and extreme decisions, ” the priest said.
He said people should look out for change in moods of their neighbours and find out what they could be passing through.
“The problem could be psychological, intellectual or spiritual.
“When you see your neighbour become erratic, moody, soliloquising, complaining a lot, it is your duty to find out their problem and provide some psychological assistance,” Dike said.
Prof. Michael Ezenwa, the President of Psychological Association of Nigeria, said the development of increased homicide was abnormal, adding that violence and insecurity in the society had started to reflect in families.
He said the social behaviour of communities, families and individuals were being affected by the high rate of insecurity and economic pressure on the population.
Ezenwa, a clinical psychologist with Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, blamed the high rate of homicide and suicide in the society on poor resilience that often led to violent actions.
“It is unusual for someone to take the life of another person; mental health challenge, depression and frustration could be responsible for such extreme behaviours,” he said.
Ezenwa advised that people exercise patience and engage in effective communication as an important tool in stress management.
“Couples should know the profile of each other, when you see unusual behaviors like withdrawal, destructiveness, irritability or rage when these are noticed, it is important to give professional help.
“People need to communicate, they need to relate with one another and increase social intimacy even in this time when we are advising that keep physical distance, effective communication is important, “ Ezenwa said.
Meanwhile, a building expert has suggested a review of the functionality of buildings in major towns in Anambra State to address factors that caused death in them.
Dr Celestine Ezeagu, a building and construction expert, said it had become imperative to include safety designs in buildings in the light of fatalities that occurred when people fell from them.
Ezeagu who teaches in the Department of Civil Engineering, Nnamdi Azikiwe University, said many buildings in Onitsha and other towns needed to be reviewed as most had become dysfunctional.
He said since it was now a growing trend that people fell off the buildings, the municipal authorities should develop a new building code that would take care of such accidents.
“All the buildings in Onitsha, Nkpo, Obosi, Awada and the environs need to be subjected to functional tests, some of them are high rise but lack basic features.
“How can somebody living on the fifth floor of a building and be fetching water from downstairs, no elevator, no fire extinguisher or emergency exit? Most of them lack these functionalities,” Ezeagu said.