If only he had known, he would not have allowed his three children to go with their mother. This costly error, would hunt him for life. Fidelis Ezenwa’s decision to allow Chidera, Destiny and Precious to go with his enstranged wife Ugochi Amalaha to go with the children has turned out to be a night mare, as the three children died same night.
Narrating what led to the death of the three children away from home, Mr. Fidelis Ezenwa Amalaha an electrician told newsmen during the burial that he married his wife Ugochi Amalaha, (nee Onyemata) legally and the marriage blessed with the unfortunate deceased two boys and a girl, disclosing that there have been incessant quarrel as a result of his wife’s stubbornness and wastefulness even as the cosmetic and a condiment businesses he set up for her collapsed.
Ezenwa said the last quarrel was when his wife took the money he kept for the repairs of his car without telling him and when asked, never showed any remorse, pointing out that at that stage, he became annoyed and then sent her and her belongings back to her parent’s house at Ohia in Umuahia south LGA.
The bereaved father said the misunderstanding lasted for seven months in 2017 but made up his mind to bring her back following the intervention of his father, John Amalaha.
However, when his first son, late Chidere woke up one day and asked when their mother would be coming back Fidelis decided for the sake of his children, began to consider reconciling with his wife.
The youthful father of 32 years said with the consent of his father John Amalaha reconciliation moves were started and in November 2017, both families met and reconciled their differences and agreed that she would come back few days to Christmas.
Ezenwa disclosed that within the seven months of separation, his children were in the care of his parent who reside in Ubakala community in Umuahia South LGA, disclosing that few days to Christmas, Ugochi came to his father’s house and demand that she should be allowed to take the children to spend some days with her with a promise to come back with them on her final return.
“My father put up a call to me that my wife had come to take the kids with a promise to come back with them when she would finally return before Christmas”, he said stating that he told his father not to release the children to her but the father pleaded with him, reminding him that she was still their mother “before I obliged her”. The visibly heartbroken father said the wife took the children.
On Sunday 17th of December 2017 around 4pm my wife came and took the children away and by 4am on the 19th of December “my father received a call from the President General of Onhiya Development Union informing him that the three children have died as a result of fire outbreak”.
On receiving the news, he said his father, himself and family members rushed to the home of his in-law Chief Onyemata in Onhiya “and saw the lifeless bodies of my children in the room with thick black smoke all over the walls”.
Ezenwa said that on inquiry, they learnt that their mother locked them up in the room while they were sleeping with a lighted candle on the hedge of a chair, which later fell on the top of a Ghana-Must-Go bag and the smoke engulfed the room leading to the suffocation of the children.
“My eldest son attempted to come out of the room but the door was locked, my children died mostly of suffocation, it was only the eldest that had little burnt in the cause of struggling to leave the room, the walls of the room were all filled with black smoke.
“The reason my wife gave was that after the children had gone to sleep she went to her uncle’s house nearby to charge her phone and she slept off while her parents where in their room sleeping and ignorant of what was happening”.
He however blamed the death to the carelessness of their mother, adding that a similar incident had occurred in the past where his wife left candle on top of the television and went to sleep with the children, he said when he came back quite late the entire house was engulfed with smoke while they were all in deep sleep.
Reacting over the incident Chief John Amalaha a retired Principal and grandfather of the late children said there have been one crisis or the other in the marriage while he accused his daughter in-law of wastefulness and waywardness adding that the two times his son opened businesses for her, was ran down by she and her mother adding also that she had a secret child earlier which she never disclosed until it was later discovered by her husband.
Chief Amalaha said he never believed in separation or divorce and that when the son came up with the idea of reconciling with his wife he gave his consent and even went further to call for reconciliation of the two families where he gave out N10,000 to his in-law to buy the necessary items required for peace settlement.
He maintained that on the 19th of December at about 4am when he received the call from the President General of Onhiya Development Union’s telling him about the death of the children barely two days the mother took them away, stating that he was in shock and could not believe it adding that he was not satisfied with the reason given of the death of the children.
The retired Principal said he was not satisfied on the role the Police at Umuopara division played, stating that it took over a week for the DPO to call him on phone over police readiness to investigate the matter adding that the eye witness account and on-the-spot assessment, stating that evidence would have been lost. He said he has committed the whole incident to God.
Preaching during the burial, the Pastor of Liberation Ministry, Ven. Don Kalu regretted the death of the three children stating “it was one death too many” and prayed that such death should never occur again anywhere.
Information has it that the woman reported herself to the police after the incident and was briefly detained. However, she was absent at the burial of her kids, while all attempts to reach her relations proved abortive.
When contacted, the Police/Public Relations Officer, PPRO of the state Command, DSP Geoffrey Ogbonna declined knowledge of the incident.
Three siblings Chidera 7, Destiny 5 and Precious 3 were last week buried amidst profuse weeping the sleepy community of umumba autonomous community Nsirimo, umuahia south LGA in Abia State, having been burnt to death in a mysterious fire incident at their maternal Onhiya community also in Umuahia South LGA.
This burial was at the instance of an Umuahia Magistrate Court, following petitions to the police by their father and grandfather over the manner in which they died.