From Rose Ejembi, Makurdi
A 17-year-old Benue girl, Esther Alex, has been remanded at the Makurdi correctional centre for setting her boyfriend on fire leading to his eventual death.
The magistrate court sitting in Makurdi, the Benue State capital, was presided over by Magistrate Regina Ochokwunu.
When the case came up for hearing on Tuesday, the First Information Report (FIR) was read to the accused, with the magistrate asking the accused if she understood what had been read to her, to which she answered in the affirmative.
The accused was charged with Mischief by Fire and Culpable Homicide, with the FIR reading in part that: ‘One Esther Alex, ‘F’, of No 1, Zaki Biam street, Wadata Makurdi, went to the house of Mr Chidimma Omah ‘M’, 28-years-old at No 17, Yandev Street, Makurdi, and poured petrol in it while he was asleep and set him ablaze.
‘As a result, the room was engulfed in fire and burnt down the entire house’s property value not yet known together with Mr Chidimma Omah who sustained grave burns and subsequently died while receiving treatment at the hospital.’
No plea was taken for want of jurisdiction but prosecution asked for another date for further mention.
Prosecution also prayed the court to remand the accused at the Makurdi correctional centre pending the completion of a police investigation.
Counsel to the accused SO Obekpa did not object to the prosecutor’s prayer but drew the attention of the court to the First Information Report.
Obekpa requested for oral application to be made in respect of the FIR but his request was declined by the magistrate who noted that the case was capital in nature and should be critically looked into.
Ochokwunu ordered that the accused be remanded in the Makurdi correctional centre and adjourned the case to March 5.