Speaking to Daily Sun on her hospital bed at the National Orthopaedic Hospital, Enugu, where she was transferred to from the Eastern Nigeria Medical Centre, Ifeoma expressed shock and surprise about the action of her husband.
Also on admission at the hospital were her first son, Emmanuel, who was crying continuously obviously because of the pain he was suffering and his brother, Udochukwu. Both children are within the ages of two and three.
With most of her body wrapped with bandage, Ifeoma, who is heavily pregnant, said she was surprised that she is still alive. She told Daily Sun that she could not tell what might have pushed her husband into the devilish act.
She said she was so confused even at the point when her husband was pouring fuel inside the shop; “I was asking him what he was doing but before I knew it there was fire everywhere inside the container which served as his shop.
“The other woman who sells provisions was the person who pushed open the door as he tried to close it and ran away.
Ifeoma, who hails from Amuri in Nkanu West Local Government area of Enugu State, said that she and her two kids were staying with her mother but decided to visit her husband and celebrate the Independence anniversary with him.
“When he brought the fuel, I felt he wanted to use it for his generator but he was telling me that, ‘people are wicked; that the woman who sells provisions opposite owed him and had refused to pay up; somehow he managed to attract the same woman to the shop, telling her to talk to me.
“It was all confusing, but the next thing he started pouring petrol inside the shop and afterwards lit a match but the woman forced her way out as he tried to close the door on all of us. It was people around that came to our rescue but I and my children were already burnt. I thank God that we are still alive.”
Ifeoma said that her husband, who hails from Mbaitolu in Imo State, was fond of beating her.
“Most of the time, I will run to my parents’ house but he will always come begging,” she said.
Asked if she can forgive her husband over the incident, she replied; “If God can forgive us our sins why can’t I forgive other people. I believe in God and that is all I can say for now. She, however, ruled out the possibility of retuning to the man’s house again, asking; “if it is you that somebody tried to kill, will you go back to that same person again?”
She called for assistance from both government and other public-spirited individuals to come to their aid.
“There is nobody to help us now; it is only my brother who has been trying his best but he can’t shoulder this alone. He has already paid the bills at Eastern Nigeria Medical Centre from where we were referred to this place; but we are yet to pay for the deposit in this particular hospital. Of course, there will be other bills but we have faith in God,” she added.
Reacting to the incident, her brother, Mr. Sunday Ede, lamented the ill-luck of his younger sister as regards her marriage, saying he had severally discouraged her from marrying Egeonu.
“This is my immediate younger sister; she was with me during her secondary school days. But at a time this guy impregnated her and decided to marry her.
“As time went on, I started seeing the character of the man and I made up my mind that he was not good for her. Sometimes, she will return to my house and stay with us but whenever he comes begging, she will follow him again.
“The last time she retuned was a week before this incident; she had stayed with me for about a week until the man came and my sister said she was following him. I could not stop her but I warned her that she was on her own.”
He recalled how a friend called him on phone on the day of the incident to inform him of what happened, which he initially ignored.
“Few minutes later somebody came on a bike and told me that my attention was needed at the Eastern Medical Centre that my sister was on admission; that her husband poured fuel on her and her children and set them on fire .
“Out of anger I said I was not going that they should bury her if they have finally killed her; but the messenger urged me to go that they had been referred to the National Orthopaedic Hospital.”
Mr. Ede said he had never seen something of this nature in his life and expressed shock that somebody could set his own children on fire.
Meanwhile, the police in Enugu are still searching for Egeonu, who had disappeared after setting his wife and children ablaze.
Before the incident, Egeonu was said to be dealing in musical equipment and at the same time using a part of the container-shop, located at No 61 Mount Street, Idaw River area of Awkunanaw Enugu, as barbing salon.