ω 30-year-old saleswoman clubs master to death, injures wife after three years of service
From OBINNA ODOGWU, ABAKALIKI
When Mr. Boniface Nike, 35-year-old businessman from Ikwo community in Ikwo council area of Ebonyi State, employed Ms Ngozi Nwancho in 2014 as a saleswoman, he had great expectations. He believed that she would help to boost his business fortunes.
The enterprising young man started with one shop where he sold photo enlargement frames. Not long after that, he acquired two more shops. His wife managed one while the saleswoman took charge of the other.
But determined to expand the business, he went into sewing. At No 16 Brackenbury Street, Abakaliki in Abakaliki Local Government Area he was popular. He was reportedly good at the business. Expectedly, his expertise on the job brought him many customers.
Fondly known in the area as Bonny, the dark-complexioned man made sure that he never lacked anything in the business. But on September 22, tragedy struck. Her saleswoman clubbed him to death with a long wooden bar spiked with nails. She also battered his wife, Chioma, in the process. In fact, it was by God’s grace, she managed to escape death.
According to witnesses, the suspect had invited her boss to the shop where she was incharge to allegedly help her fix a problem. As reported earlier, they sold picture enlargement frames. When the boss then mounted the cutting machine they use in cutting the frames, she swooped on him and hit him severally on the head before leaving him unconscious in the pool of blood.
The brother-in-law to the deceased, Mr. Sunday Ogboji, told Saturday Sun that on that fateful day, the three people were working separately in their shops when the suspect invited her master to the shop she was managing to help him fix a problem. “She called her master to come and help her fix something in the other shop. He came and mounted the machine unknown to him that evil was lurking around. She hit him from behind and he slumped there, bleeding profusely.
“She left him there and went to his wife’s shop and attacked her as well”, Ogboji further narrated. “Actually before her master answered her call, their sales boy had offered to help her fix the problem but she refused, insisting that their boss must come. The boy then left to run other errands.”
Narrating her ordeal, Chioma said that after she was attacked, she (Chioma) rushed to her husband’s shop only to behold him in the pool of blood. Her husband was rushed to seven different hospitals but none was able to treat him. At the Federal Teaching Hospital, Abakaliki, they were not attended to because of the ongoing strike of the Joint Health Sector Union [JOHESU]. The six private hospitals in Abakaliki, where he was taken to, she said, lacked the manpower to handle the situation. Nike was thereafter rushed to Felix Hospital also in the state capital where he eventually gave up the ghost.
Chioma, the six-month-old pregnant mother of two, who has remained distraught since then said there was never a time Ngozi behaved abnormally as to make them suspect she had any mental disorder, adding that before this time, there was no problem between the suspect and her family. With tears running down her cheeks, the 28-year-old widow recalled the circumstances that led to their hiring and keeping the evil sales lady and the events surrounding the tragedy.
“My husband hired Ms Ngozi Nwancho in 2014 as a saleswoman,” she said. “Throughout the period she worked with us, she carried out her duties dedicatedly and we never had issues with her. Sometimes, she looked after my children. Because of her closeness to us, I took her as part of my family and she took us as hers.
“Sometime last month, she complained to me about the problems she was having with her marriage. I told her that since she had decided that she would not be able to marry another man, that it would be better for her to go back to her husband. In fact, we were still talking when her mother-in-law called. Subsequently, her brothers-in-law also called. I then asked her: ‘Why not go back to them since they still like you?’ I told her that anxiety would worsen her matter. Some time last week, some of her neighbours came here and pleaded with us to talk to her, that her worries and anxiety over her marital problems seemed to be affecting her psyche negatively.
“They said that sometimes she would be crying and talking like someone who is not mentally stable. On Monday (September 17), she came here and complained to my husband that she was sick. She said that she had fever. So my husband told her to go home and get some medication. Later in the evening, my husband called her but her phone wasn’t reachable. He then went to her house to check her. When he got there, Ngozi was nowhere to be found. We became worried. We searched everywhere but she was not found.
“The following day being Tuesday, she came here very early in the morning. She knelt down and pleaded for forgiveness. But we told her that there was nothing to apologise for; that we were worried that she was nowhere to be found. I cautioned her once again to stop thinking about her marital woes as anxiety would not help her at all. After that, she carried my child and went to the shop.
“On Friday morning, she came very early again in the morning. Unlike her, she did not come to greet me as she used to do. She went straight to where my husband was cutting enlargement frames and started packing them to the shop. When I got to my own shop, she greeted me. One boy who also worked for my husband in his shop threw banter at her, telling her that I was faster and efficient on the job. She only giggled without making any comment. It’s equally unlike her.
“I later went into my shop. My husband was busy in his shop sewing clothes. That’s all I knew before she attacked me. She hit me on the head the first time. She lifted the large wooden bar to hit me on my hand before I wrestled her down. It was when I ran out of the shop with blood all over me that passers-by grabbed her. Then I ran to my husband’s shop to behold him in the pool of blood. He was unconscious.
“We helped him into a tricycle and headed for the hospital. When we got to the Federal Teaching Hospital here in Abakaliki, everywhere was deserted. We were told that Joint Health Sector Union were on strike. We went to some private hospitals but they told us that they did not have the manpower to handle his level of injuries.
“We went to a roadside chemist shop to see if the owner could help stop the bleeding but no luck. We then moved to the fifth hospital and the nurses told us that the doctor was not around. At the sixth hospital, after paying for card, they referred us to another hospital. We later moved to Felix Hospital. They put him in oxygen machine. They did everything they could and confirmed that he was still breathing. Few minutes later, he gave up the ghost.”
In the meantime, Ngozi has been handed over to the police, by residents of the area. They arrested her while she was trying to escape. When contacted, the state Police Public Relations Officer, Loveth Odah, confirmed the incident. She said that the suspect would be charged to court after police investigation.