An Akure High Court in Ondo State has heard how a 50-year-old man, Daniyan Ojo locked up his wife, Dorcas in her room while asleep and allegedly set the house on fire.
The wife reportedly died due to the degree of burns after she was given medical attention managed for 72 hours.
A family source said that the husband allegedly took that decision after he discovered that his wife secretly bought a property without his knowledge.
The suspect, Daniyan who is now standing trial before the court however denied setting his wife’s room on fire or locking her inside the room at their Irese road residence in Shagari Village, Akure.
But the prosecution led by H.M Falowo said that the defendant was standing trial over arson, murder and disabling to commit a felony.
Daniyan was also alleged to have disabled the only means of escape (door) by the victim prior to setting her on fire, in order to prevent her from escaping.
A witness close to the family, Ajayi Ajiboye told the court that he heard the defendant’s voice during the incident calling for help. He said, “when I got to the compound, l discovered that her room was on fire and I forcefully broke the door with my leg.
He described how the defendant’s wife who was burnt beyond recognition, rushed outside into the waiting hands of neighbours who came for a rescue mission and she was immediately taken to the hospital for medical attention.
According to him, “the following morning, landlords in the neighbourhood came to the house and discovered empty bottles of petroleum products scattered under the victim’s bed positioned at strategic corners of the room.”
Also, the brother to the deceased, Adeniyi Samuel, testified that the defendant reported the victim to him in respect of a title document of a commercial vehicle the deceased bought.
He stated that he had apologized on his sister’s behalf, but a few days after, the defendant again, reported the victim to him about three plots of land she bought and registered in her name which was confirmed by the deceased.
Adeniyi testified that his sister confided in him that she bought the property in her name because she was afraid the husband could dispose of them without her knowledge. He stated that he was able to resolve the issue between them and went back to his base but was later informed on the phone how the fire broke out at their residence during which his sister was badly burnt. He said that when he visited the deceased at FMC, Owo, she explained what transpired when she arrived home before she gave up the ghost due to the degree of burns.
According to him, “It took the intervention of the police to effect the arrest of the defendant having absconded immediately after the incident occurred.” Also, the deceased’s daughter, Happiness said that her father prepared dinner for the family and later informed them that he was going to buy fuel.
“I woke up briefly when my mother came back from her trip but later went back to sleep. It was the noise of the car that took my mother to the hospital that woke me up,” she said.
Another neighbour, Ogunsola Babatunde stated that he heard an alarm raised in the defendant’s compound and thereafter went there to ascertain the cause of the uproar. “I met the other landlords there. We all heard the victim shouting, ‘it was my husband who packed cotton at the point where the fire ignited from.’ The victim later died in the hospital due to the degree of burns.”
Inspector Bayo Adaran testified that a case of arson and murder was transferred from Okuta Elerinla Police Division to the State CID for further discreet investigation and he was part of the team that investigated the case. Adaran said that he visited the scene of the crime and arrested the defendant.