From Chijioke Agwu, Abakaliki
While the story of Chidinma Ojukwu, the alleged killer of Super TV CEO, Usifo Ataga, trended last month, another story of a man that reportedly died in a romp in Ebonyi State also went viral.
The incident occurred on Saturday, June 19, at a private hostel close to the Alex Ekwueme Federal University Ndufu Alike Ikwo, Ebonyi State (AE-FUNAI), where a 23-year-old lady simply identified as Amara from Ndufu Echara autonomous community in Ikwo Local Government Area was found unconscious in a room with her lover. The young man, Ogbonnaya Okoro Chukwu, said to be about 30 years old, was also reportedly unconscious.
Daily Sun gathered that Amara, who had earlier in June been attacked by suspected warlords from Izzi during the recent Izzi-Ikwo inter-communal crisis, was found in a room in an uncompleted hostel building, where she was panting for breath. She was taken to a private hospital within the community, while her supposed boyfriend, Chukwu, was rushed to Alex Ekwueme Federal Teaching Hospital, Abakaliki, where he was confirmed dead.
Amara could be said to have cheated death twice in a month, as she was eventually revived, treated and discharged but her lover was not that lucky.
Daily Sun gathered that Amara had gone to meet her new lover, who was supervising the construction of the hostel building at Gbozua Street, beside the family compound of Chief Ben Nweke, a well-known community leader in Ndufu Alike Ikwo, when the incident happened.
The tragedy set the social media on fire as it was reported that the young man, who hailed from Obuagu-Etiti Amechi, Okposi, in Ohaozara Local Government Area of Ebonyi State, had died on top of a woman. In fact, many alleged that he had received another Chidinma treatment.
However, the story got clearer when our correspondent visited the scene of the incident and Grace Gate Hospital and Maternity, Ndufu Echara Ikwo, where Amara was treated. He gathered that the tragedy was actually caused by inhalation of carbon monoxide from a generator set they had in the building.
Our correspondent observed that the self-contained room, where the incident happened, was the only place in the entire building that had windows and doors fixed. It was also gathered that the room was quickly fixed to serve as store house where sensitive building materials were kept. Except for the glass window panes and door on the entrance, there was nothing else in the room to show it was ready for habitation. Peeping through the broken glass window of the building, he saw a piece of mattress on the dusty floor of the room.
Police public relations officer in Ebonyi State, Loveth Odah, who confirmed the incident to journalists in Abakaliki, also attributed it to generator fumes.
A woman working in a farm close to the building who was among the early callers at the site on the fateful day told Daily Sun that she was in her farm around 8am when, suddenly, she started hearing sounds like someone gasping for breath.
The woman, who gave her name as Mrs. Catherine, said she initially ignored the sound since the building was an ongoing project and people had not started living there. She said: “But the sound continued and got me worried. I could not concentrate on my farm work. I stood up, and looked round the building and I saw a car parked in front of the building. I went closer and observed that the front door of the room was locked from inside. For the first time, I had a feeling that someone was inside the building. I quickly ran to the next compound and called people. When we got closer, we discovered that phones were ringing inside the room but no one picked the calls. We were still there when one engineer who used to work at the site came, complaining that he had been calling the man on phone but he was not picking. He broke the window and behold two of them were lying on the floor. The man was already dead while the girl was unconscious. They went and invited the police who came and took the body of the man to the mortuary, while the girl was taken to the hospital. I heard that the girl has been revived.”
Daily Sun traced Amara to Grace Gate Hospital and Maternity, where she was being treated, but the nurse on duty claimed that she had been treated and discharged two days earlier. The nurse, who gave her name as Blessing, described the young lady’s survival as miraculous, adding that generator fumes usually killed victims before dawn.
She said: “The girl is called Amara. I was here when they brought her. She was unconscious. She was lucky to have survived, but the man was not lucky like her. He died before morning. It was not a case of sex gone wrong as widely reported. It was generator fumes. The girl told us when she regained herself that the man put on a generator inside the toilet of the self-contained room and locked it there and they slept. The generator is with the police, while the man’s body has been deposited at the mortuary.”
Explaining further, Blessing said: “I didn’t know the girl before but it’s like they are from Ndufu Alike. The mother came here to see her. She is a widow; she said the husband died years ago and it was her efforts to fend for her children that made her join women working at project sites as labourer.
“Her mother said she was among the people working for the man in his hostel building where the incident happened. According to the mother, one day, in June, she had told the man that she would be closing work before the normal time to enable her go to the hospital to see her daughter. The man asked her what was wrong with the daughter and she told him how she was attacked by Izzi people during the recent clash between Ikwo and Izzi. The man opted to carry her to the hospital, where he saw the daughter and started liking her. She said the man said he was going to marry the young lady. So, the man started coming to their house to check on her daughter, until she recovered.
“But last week, the man came and said he wanted the girl to come to the site and help him do some things. She didn’t support it but her daughter said she wanted to go and the mother permitted her, but warned her to make sure she returned before night. But around 10pm that day, the man called and said the girl would return the following day because it was late for her to return that night. The following morning, the mother started calling the man and Amara but they were not answering their calls before she was told to come to the hospital, that the daughter was sick.”
A landlord in the area who did not want to be named said the father of the deceased had supervised work at the site before he died about two years ago.
“The man was married. We heard that he was to dedicate his child last Sunday before the incident happened. He came to buy chippings used for the decking of the second floor of the building. I don’t know the girl and I had never seen him with the girl before the incident. It is unfortunate. May his soul rest in peace,” he said.
At Chukwu’s Obuagu-Etiti Amechi village in Okposi, he was described as an easygoing, handworking young man. A community leader who claimed to be his relation said he was survived by a wife and four daughters, adding that the last child was slated for dedication before his death.
Though Chukwu was involved in construction business, it was gathered that the building, which he supervised, belonged to his elder brother, a medical doctor.
He told Daily Sun that Chukwu’s family, community and the Assemblies of God Church, where he worshipped, and two elder brothers said to be pastors, were still in shock.
The community leader further said that no date has been fixed for the burial of the promising young man who was preparing to further his education, having stabilized his construction business.
In her reaction, PRO of the Ebonyi State Police Command, Odah, said: “It was reported at the Ikwo Divisional Headquarters that two persons (a man and a lady) and the lady being a victim of the recent Izzi/Ikwo crisis, who had machete cuts on her body and was undergoing treatment.
“But her family didn’t allow her to remain in a hospital while receiving treatment. So, she went to quarry site where she went to work and met a man, who was equally picking stones for sale at the quarry site.
“According to an informant, it was late and they (the lady and the man) went home together. The man just decided to accommodate the lady that night.
“It was when they slept off that fumes from the generator they put on got inside the apartment and affected them. So, the DPO immediately moved to the place and when they opened the door it was discovered that the man had died and the woman was still unconscious.
“It was then that the DPO immediately took the lady to a nearby hospital for treatment. And I can tell you that she is stable now.
“So, they were not having sex when the man died; even, it was found that the lady was on her menses two days before the incident. And, medically, it has been proven that it was fumes from the generator that killed the man and was about killing the lady, too”.