Chidima Omna, a patent medicine store owner in the Wadata area of Makurdi, Benue State, North Central Nigeria, died at the Federal Medical Centre, Makurdi, on Tuesday morning following an alleged fire attack on him by his girlfriend, Esther.
Neighbours said that Omna’s room was set on fire at about 11p.m. on Sunday.
A neighbour, John Paul, told HumAngle that Omna, who was known as “Doctor” in the neighbourhood, had been having issues with Esther for which they broke up after the lady threatened to deal with him.
Paul said the lady had frustrated the young man in many ways, including hiring some thugs to kill him.
HumAngle gathered that the two had cause to seek settlement of their matter in the Zone A Divisional Police Station on several occasions during which Omna was advised to avoid Esther.
Paul alleged that Esther came into the compound with two young men who aided her on the night but no one noticed their presence.
He said neighbours only realised what was happening when Omna’s room in the building was burning and rushed to save him with the rest of the building.
A friend of Omna’s told HumAngle that while on his bed at the Federal Medical Centre, Omna informed him that two boys knocked on his window behind the room and when he asked for the identity of the person who knocked, the response was “na me” (I am the one).
The friend said that Omna further informed that he went out to open the entrance gate of the compound to ascertain the situation but could not find anyone.
He said that on returning to his room, Omna found Esther inside lying on the bed.
The friend and other neighbours alleged that “Doctor” must have been drugged by the lady, who later set him ablaze.
They said “Dockay” as he was addressed, celebrated his birthday on Saturday and the lady came on Sunday night to meet him.
Neighbours suspect that the lady came in with a gallon of petrol and sprinkled it on Omna’s bed and property before setting him on fire while he was asleep.
Other residents of the building said the lady had been barred from entering the compound because they believed she was out to carry out a mission.
A neighbour in the compound, known as Papa Favour, said he saw the lady entering the compound with a gallon but did not know the content as he and his wife were viewing from their room by the entrance to the compound.
Favour said he had personally called the parents of Omna to come and take their son away from Makurdi or relocate him somewhere else given the threat to his life before now.
He said he could not imagine why Doctor would still be seeing the lady after she had threatened to deal with him.
Favour said when the fire began, neighbours made efforts to prevent it from spreading to the next room and called on “Doctor” to ascertain his whereabouts.
HumAngle gathered that when he was eventually rescued, Omna had suffered serious burns.
At the hospital on Monday, the doctor who was attending to him said the clinical test carried out on him showed that he was badly burnt, neighbours said.
The Police Public Relations Officer in Benue State, DSP Catherine Anene, confirmed the incident and said the suspect had been arrested.
She called for calm over the situation and promised that the police would interrogate her to find out the reason for her alleged action.
Meanwhile, HumAngle learned that the suspect was angry because she had carried out two abortions after allegedly being impregnated by Omna, who later abandoned her and travelled to his village in Enugu State, Southeast Nigeria, to perform traditional marriage rites with another lady.
HumAngle also gathered that the mother of Omna is distraught and has described her son’s death as the fall of an iroko, while the father, a retired policeman, is highly devastated.