RECENTLY, the Ogun State police command confirmed the arrest of a 46-year-old man, Azeez Hassan, who set his wife, Olayinka Hassan, on fire for failing to cook for him. The suspect, who had been on the run since October 22, 2022 when the dastardly incident occurred, was arrested following a report lodged at the Ibogun divisional police headquarters by the wife’s father, who indicated that the victim, a mother of one, was rushed to a hospital in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital. According to the Ogun State police spokesman, Abimbola Oyeyemi, the DPO of Ibogun division, CSP Samuel Oladele, had upon receiving the report mobilised his men to the scene, but the suspect had escaped. However, he was eventually apprehended on January 22 this year. Oyeyemi said: “On interrogation, the suspect who claimed to have run away to Benin Republic confessed to the commission of the crime but blamed it on the devil. According to him, he asked the victim to prepare food for him, but instead of the victim to prepare his food, she was busy washing clothes. He stated further that he got annoyed because he was hungry and the annoyance made him to pour petrol on her and set her on fire. When asked whose clothes the woman was washing, he confessed that it was his clothes.”
Terrible as it may sound, cases of unhinged men setting their spouses on fire over the most minor of incidents are not novel in the state or the country at large. For instance, in October last year, a 40-year-old woman, Folasade Badejo, was allegedly killed by her husband, Oluranti Badejo, at their house in Orimerunmu, Mowe, in the Obafemi-Owode Local Government Area of Ogun State. The fashion designer’s crime was getting into an argument with her husband over the payment of their three children’s school fees: Oluranti allegedly smashed her head against the wall of their apartment. According to the victim’s younger brother, “on several occasions, even when I was living with them at Ajegunle, Oluranti beat my sister whenever he returned home from work, even when she was asleep.” According to the police, “having realised that he had killed his wife, the suspect used a hot iron to burn parts of the body of the deceased so as to make it look as if she was electrocuted. But unfortunately for him, their eight-year-old daughter was there and witnessed the whole thing.”
In another incident, this time in November last year, one Segun Omotosho Ebenezer, 45, was arrested by men of the Ogun State Police Command for beating his 42-year-old wife, Omotosho Olubukola, to death. Unknown to the husband, the deceased had sent a voice note to her family members, informing them that her husband had used a padlock to hit her on the head while beating her, and that if she died, they should know that it was he who killed her. As soon as the voice note was played to his hearing, Ebenezer took to his heels, having realised that his evil deed had been exposed, but he was subsequently traced to Akinseku village, Abeokuta, and promptly apprehended. Preliminary investigation revealed that the cause of the couple’s incessant quarrels was the deceased’s building of a private school in her own name. Ebenezer, a carpenter, had wanted to take control of the school but the deceased, a Nigeria Certificate in Education (NCE) graduate, had resisted the move. And in yet another incident, also in November last year, the case was reported of one Akpos who fled after allegedly burning his wife, Risikat, to death at their residence on Ayide Osolo Street, Divine Estate, in the Ijanikin area of Lagos State. An argument had reportedly degenerated and Akpos, out of annoyance, was said to have reached for petrol, poured it on his wife, and set her ablaze. Some good Samaritans reportedly rushed the victim to a nearby hospital even as the matter was reported at the Ijanikin police station. However, according to the Police Public Relations Officer, SP Benjamin Hundeyin, Risikat died while receiving treatment in the hospital.
To be sure, the Ogun incident, the latest in a series of dastardly episodes that point to the utter darkness in the minds of some members of the Nigerian society, is hard to even contemplate. It is sad, bad and mad, chilling in its horrific essence. Apparently, the suspect had not the slightest regard for his wife. And sadly, that is apparently the case with many men in the Nigerian society who treat their wives as mere chattel. In the present case, a woman was killed for washing her husband’s clothes! This is certainly yet another instance of the descent into bestiality and insane action that has become rampant in the country nowadays. The suspect complained that the wife had not cooked for him, but how would this explain or justify his resorting to setting her on fire? Why should a disagreement in a household about cooking result in such a terrible outcome? Which sane person would want to kill a person for refusal to cook? Apparently, there are so many things wrong with the man in question and he has to be taken through the rigours of the law to get him to pay for his horrendous act.
It is also important, as we had stated in past editorials, for the government to be concerned with the growing deterioration in the mental health of citizens arising from their harrowing living conditions and resulting in the growing resort to violence and dastardly acts. A more sanguine living condition would go a long way in lowering the deterioration in the mental health of Nigerians and this should be the focus and responsibility of the government.