A mother of five, Esther Nwoko, aged 22, who was arrested with two others for dispossessing a rider of his motorcycle at gunpoint, has explained how the gun used in the robbery got into the hands of her husband, Chidinma.
She said, however, that she did not know that her husband plotted and used the weapon to steal a bike from its owner.
Esther, Iyegbunuwe Oluchukwu Harrison and Okwudili Ozah were arrested by operatives of the Delta State police command after a revolver used by Chidinma and Harrison was found in the couple’s room. The command’s Police Public Relations Officer, Bright Edafe, a Deputy Superintendent of Police, who confirmed the arrest of the three suspects, said that a case of stealing an unregistered motorcycle at gunpoint was reported by a native of Onicha-Uku at Isseluku-Uku Police Station.
Edafe said: “On the strength of the complaint, the Divisional Police Officer, IsseleUku, detailed detectives to investigate. An intelligence-led investigation culminated in the arrest of the prime suspect, Iyegbunuwe Oluchukwu Harrison, of Issele-Uku. The suspect led the detectives to their hideout at Onicha-Ugbo in Aniocha North Local Government Area, where two other suspects, one Okwudili Ozah and Esther Nwoko, were arrested and an English revolver, 15 rounds of live ammunition and six expended ammunition were recovered.”
The PPRO stated that Chidinma, Esther’s husband, fled when the police stormed the hideout but efforts were on to arrest him and other members of the gang. In an interview with Saturday Tribune, Esther explained how her relationship with Chidinma began and how he got the pistol found in their room.
She said: “I am Esther, Chidinma’s wife. I am 22 years old and I have five children for him. The last child was born three months ago and was still being breastfed before my arrest.
“I started dating Chidinma at the age of 13 and gave birth to the first child in 2015 at the age of 15. I dropped out of school in JSS1 when my father died and there was no financial help for my mother. When I met Chidinma, he promised to sponsor my training as a hairdresser after which he said he would open a shop for me. I started the training after giving birth to our first child. I have five children now, three boys and two girls. He has not paid dowry on me or performed the traditional engagement. He used to ride bike but stopped when he had an accident and his ribs broke. Survival became difficult but we were managing.”
How my husband got a gun
“I will speak the truth to save my life because of my children. After the accident, we were living in my brother-in-law’s house. One day, my in-law asked us to leave because he and his caretaker had a disagreement over our staying with him in the apartment he rented for himself only.
“Harrison (one of the suspects) came to see my husband and he allowed us to move our belongings to his house where we stayed for two weeks.
“Harrison’s father is the caretaker of the house he was living in. The owner of the house was living abroad and was a lecturer before he died there. Harrison and my husband went to the master bedroom where the man used to stay whenever he came home. They could not find anything. They checked the wardrobe and came out with a pistol found in it. They kept it in the bush.
“Soon afterwards, my husband and I had a disagreement over his affair with another lady. It was a big fight. He retrieved the gun and threatened to shoot and kill me. I ran to my mother and stayed with her for two months. I called his relative, Okwudili, and explained everything to him.
“He cautioned Chidinma, telling him it was bad for him to threaten me with a gun. Okwudili and my mother pleaded with me and because of the children I have for him, I returned to his house.
“At the time I was in my mother’s house, a bamboo stick tore my son’s scrotum, exposing his testis. We needed money for the surgery and that was when Okwudili lent us N10,000.
“Then Harrison came to tell my husband of the money he borrowed from a microfinance institution which he had not been able to pay back. I heard them plotting how they would steal someone’s bike which would be sold to get money. I didn’t say anything because I had become fearful of my husband. But when Harrison went out to ease himself, I cautioned my husband and told him I would not be part of what he intended to do.
“This led to a quarrel and he warned me against intruding in his discussion with anyone. Both of them later left and Harrison left his phone at home. They returned in the evening.”