There was confusion and wailing at Umuoduku village in Oboama Autonomous Community, Ezinihitte Mbaise Local Government Area of Imo State, when a grand-father and palm wine tapper, Mr. Richard Anochirionye alias ‘Okpoko,’ soaked his two family houses with fuel and set them ablaze.
One of the houses was a five-room bungalow while the other was a three-bedroom, according to an indigene of the Oboama community who added that the entire compound had been deserted since the incident occurred.
It was reliably gathered that trouble started for the family when his sons secretly sold their father’s old motor-cycle for N30,000 to a man in Ihitte, a neighbouring community to Oboama. But few days after, the sons reportedly ambushed the buyer and snatched the motor-bike from him, thereby making the man lose his money and the motor-bike.
Embittered by the action of Okpoko’s children, the man went with some soldiers, stormed Okpoko’s house and took away his fairly new motor-cycle for his personal use, pending the time the children would return the old motor-bike they sold and allegedly snatched from the man.
It was further gathered that before the embattled wine tapper set the houses on fire, he went round the village announcing to whoever cared to listen that his children should return his two motor-bikes or else he would take an action that would make front-page news in the newspapers.
“He even contacted the village heads – the chiefs and Nzes – and threatened that if the children did not bring back his motor-bikes with which he goes about his palm wine business, he was going to take a very drastic action on them, an action that they would live to tell till the end of their lives,” the source said.
When the sons were not moved by their father’s threat, the old man went on Tuesday night (July 27,201) and bought 25 litres of fuel and waited patiently for the children including their mother to go to sleep before unleashing violence on them, according to the source, who added: “But somehow, as fate would have it, the old man slept off that night. He was sleeping outside till day break. When he realized that it was dawn, he quickly went and spread petrol on the buildings before setting it on fire. The wife managed to escape through the window.”
It was learnt that even one of the sons who attempted to prevent him from carrying out his mission, received a brutal knife cut on the head from his father who made sure that the fire gutted the houses to the point of “no rescue,” before he took to his heels.
As at the time of filling in this report, no one was certain about Opkoko’s whereabouts.
“He wanted to wipe out the entire family, including his wife,”said the source who added that the son with a knife cut was rushed to the Aboh Mbaise General Hospital.
When contacted on phone, the Imo State Police Command Public Relations Officer, Andrew Enwerem could not confirm or deny the incident.
He simply said: “What kind of confirmation or reaction do you want from me? Did he come to complain to the police after setting his houses ablaze?”