By Frank Oshanugor
Fifty-year-old chartered accounting consultant; Benjamin Nkemakolam Ogudoro arrested few days ago by police in Lagos for allegedly setting his wife; Chinyere and her brother Ifeanyi Edoziem ablaze earlier this month has cried out, claiming innocence and saying loudly that “I did not kill my wife.”
The Imo State born Ogudoro who was publicly paraded on Thursday alongside some other criminal suspects at the Lagos State Police Command headquarters, Ikeja spoke with journalists narrating the incident that occurred in their apartment at Oteyi community in Amuwo Odofin Local Government Area of Lagos State.
According to him, “it is not true that I poured fuel on my wife and her brother. The story in the social media is false. We had lived as one lovely family and there was nothing to warrant such action. Since this incident happened, I have not been myself. For four days, I could not eat or take my birth because I could not fathom out what happened.”
Narrating the incident, Ogudoro said when his wife arrived from Scotland same day, both of them were in his bed room when suddenly a call came through her phone and she excused herself saying she had to speak in presence of her brother Ifeanyi who had come to pick her from the Murtala Mohammed International Airport. She left her husband’s room to meet her brother in another room as she claimed the call had something to do with her and the brother.
When the fire incident occurred midnight on Friday April 1, 2022 Chinyere and her brother were said to have been trapped while her husband escaped. Chinyere was burnt to death while Ifeanyi was
rescued with injuries and rushed to the hospital but later died. However, before he gave up, he had made certain revelations based upon which Benjamin Ogudoro was later arrested by police detectives.
According to Ifeanyi’s last statement shortly before he passed on, he was quoted as having said “I went to pick my sister from the Murtala Mohammed International Airport when she returned from Scotland. Later same day, we were sleeping when her husband came in late banging on the door. We had a little misunderstanding as he accused me of locking him outside. I told him I did not bolt the door, and besides he could have opened it since he had his spare keys with him.
“He kept shouting that I locked him out. He insulted me and my sister but we kept quiet. He left the room only to return when we had fallen asleep. He poured petrol on us, lit a match and went out. We were burning. I managed to escape but could not save my sister. I was fortunate enough to survive.”
Earlier media reports had said that there was a misunderstanding between the couple as a result of the suspicion that the man was about to sell his wife’s house in Lagos without her consent while she was residing in Scotland. Reacting to the allegation, Ogudoro said it was not true.
Giving some insight, he told journalists that the contemplation to sell the house came from the wife even though, the house was not eventually sold. Ogudoro said “the time we wanted to sell that property was last year. Our papers expired and we needed to renew our two years visa for my family members. The cost was put at about N8million which we did not have in the immediate. Since what I had in addition to my wife’s own was not up to the amount, she suggested that we should sell the house in Lagos particularly as we were relocating.
“Before this time, I have been in Nigeria where I have my consulting firm. I
wanted to put things in order before relocating, getting people who would manage the firm in my absence. The idea of selling the house was mooted by my wife after she had discussed it with her former manager at Fidelity Bank one Mr. Kinsley who was also planning to migrate. When my wife told me about selling the house to make up our money, I bought into it. She later called one Mr. Kennedy who acted as agent who helped us to buy the house to send any documents in his possession to me.”
“However, before we could get a buyer of the house, my wife and I, were able to make up the N8million needed for the visa arrangement.”
Expressing sadness over the unfortunate death of his wife and brother in-law, Ogudoro who made several efforts to show some burnt parts of his body to journalists that he narrowly escaped the fire incident the source of which he could not explain. He described as cordial, the relationship between him and his mother inlaw and other members of her wife’s family prior to the unfortunate incident which remains mysterious until detectives are able to unravel exactly what transpired.
Meanwhile, authorities of the Lagos State Police Command are still investigating the incident deeply with a view to establishing the level of culpability of Benjamin Nkemakolam Ogudoro who according to the police commissioner would soon be charged to court.