By Okereke Wilson Ogbonnaya
A young man of about 33 years old and indigene of Ndiezeoke Village, Mr. Simon Nkwegu, was recently accused of sending suspected hired killers to eliminate his step brother, Mr. Nwofe Nkwegu at Ndiechi Ezza-Inyimagu Community in Izzi LGA of Ebonyi State.
Report gathered that the trouble between the two persons started as a result of the tradition in the area which authoritatively gives customary right to every male child from polygamous home to re-marry his step mother whenever his father dies.
It was upon this tradition that Mr. Nwofe Nkwegu got married to the accused person’s mother, Mrs. Nwanyigwe Nkwegu after the death of her first husband, late Mr. Nkwegu Omeru, many decades ago.
Late Omeru was the father of the two young men who are currently at loggerhead with each other.
According to the information, the rest of the siblings of Mr. Simon, who are grown females were borne from the second marriage between the woman and Mr. Nwofe who is invariably the eldest step brother of the accused person.
Mr. Nwofe while narrating the incident alleged that the supposed killers had concluded their arrangement but through an act which he described as divine intervention, one of them had a change of mind and thereby came to him and revealed the intended crime.
“On the fateful evening, I was in my compound fully unaware of the evil plan when one of the hoodlums came to me and requested for settlement so that my life can be spared and having heard all the strategies already put in place and the fear in me, I accepted without hesitation but immediatel,y I went out and intimated some residents who felt irritated by the development, invited members of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defense Corps for Mr. Simon’s arrest””
The presumed victim further added that his brother’s evil plot was stimulated by envy over why he (Nwofe) would be endowed with the traditional right of giving out those ladies from Mrs. Nwanyigwe to suitors whenever the need arises.
“I have not offended Mr. Simon still he went as far as paying for my death so that my rights and benefits over my children from his mother will be denied.
“He was also provoked by his desperate move to become the eldest person in our family once I’m gone” he said.
He told our reporter that shortly after the accused person’s arrest, some of his maternal uncles allegedly giving him moral encouragement rushed and secured his release.
“He claimed that in spite of the problem currently starring them on their faces, Mr. Simon is still threatening to kill him through other means.
Ndiezeoke Village Head, Mr. Joseph Nkwegu confirmed that there was such incident in the area but following the lock-down directive and ban on social gathering, the residents had not discussed the issue.
Other stakeholders, Chief Felix Ajim and Mr. Michael Ajim respectively told us that ordinarily the issue would have been resolved at the family level, owing to the fact that the two persons are more or less father and son.
He blamed the lock-down for the non mediation of the people into the matter.
Mr Simon, in his confessional statement had said that his action was necessitated by the neglect which his mother and three siblings were subjected to by the man who allegedly abandoned them for another woman coupled with his land of inheritance which was seized by Mr Nwofe.
“On that particular day, some friends had seen me moody at a drinking joint, and when they enquired and I told them, they opted to assist me by killing the man, if I could pay the sum of N25,000, but before they could come back for the job the following day, I had already changed my mind and based on the decision, I offered them N1,000 as their transport fare. But to my surprise, one of them who was not happy with my decision went back to Mr. Nwofe and revealed the dea,l” Mr Simon said.
The Commandant, NSCDC, Ebonyi State Command, Mrs Lucy Samu confirmed the report and added that after she had seen the complexity of the case and the entanglement of the people involved based on their relationship, the accused person was released on bail.
She disclosed the other factors for the release to include the lock-down which had halted some court processes and the intervention of some stakeholders of the area who appealed for an opportunity to resolve the issue between the warring brothers.
“I have given them time to settle the matter but if they fail to resolve it until the days elapse, my command will do the needful once they report back” she said.