By Pezuoma Ake
An Imo state resident, Sunday Okebata, has revealed how soldiers of the Nigerian Army stormed his house, set his wife and house ablaze.
Speaking recently in an interview with a national newspaper, Okebata explained that his house was one of those allegedly burnt by the military on October 8, 2021, after soldiers clashed with youths in Zombe community of the Oguta Local Government Area of Imo State.
He said his wife got burnt in the inferno, disclosing that she died five days after the incident.
He said: “I was away at work when my beloved wife called me and told me that she had been burnt by soldiers. She told me that soldiers who were on a reprisal in our community came to our house and told her that one of the youths they were looking for ran into our house. She said that one of the soldiers pointed a gun at her, asking her to provide the suspect or he would shoot her.
“This was happening in the presence of our two children and my mother, Mrs. Catherine Okebata, who had had a stroke since 2014. My wife knelt down, begging the solider not to shoot her, my mother and my children. She explained to them that nobody ran into our house. My sick mother also begged the solider not to kill them as there was no youth who ran into our house. My mother also told the angry officer that none of her two sons had any criminal record, begging him to spare their lives.
“The solider walked out the room where he met my mother, wife and children and went outside. He then set the house on fire and left. My wife tried to rescue my children and mother, who could not walk without an aid. My wife succeeded in rescuing my mother but was unfortunate as her clothes got caught in the fire and burnt her terribly. Her face, body, chest, back and everywhere was burnt.”
When asked if the soldiers have gotten back to him after incident, he said “Not at all. Apart from the conversation I had with the senior military officer at 34 Artillery Brigade Command, Obinze, wherein he said that the rampaging soldiers were not after women and children, the military has not reached out to me.”