Pa Mathew is being held by homicide detectives at the Edo state Police command for allegedly axing his wife of 42 years to death. Although the Edo state born father of one said he could not actually say what came over him that ill-fated day, leading to grabbing an ax which he ended up using on his loving wife, Alice.
But he was able to trace the beginning of the strained relationship between him and Alice, a woman he married in 1970, to the period he was bestowed with the title of Odionwere which in Bini language means, head of his community in security matters. He said his late wife had mistaken the title for one that should be accompanied by cash reward and therefore, made ceaseless demands for money.
“Each time she requested for money and I said I do not have, she would mock me saying I am only Odionwere for nothing, she would say, ‘ Mr. Odionwere who has no money to feed his wife’.
That derogatory manner of calling him Odionwere, Pa Mathew continued , was the beginning of the trouble between him and his wife which eventually led to her death. He was quick to point out that Odionwere as a title may be a mixture of fame and diabolism, insinuating that it could have been mischievously bestowed on him by members of his community in order to undo him.
“Like I told you, I loved my wife so much even though she has only a daughter for me. That child has made us grandparents today. That I had to conceive a murderous idea at this age when I needed her companion most is something I can not really say.
We met and got married in 1970 and have lived happily together. We used to have minor misunderstanding but it does not last because of the love we had for each other. The recent deep-rooted hatred and animosity that finally culminated into murdering my wife of 42 years started with the title ‘Odionwere’. I think the title came with evil.” he lamented
Continuing, Pa Mathew said, “As a security guard with the National Museum and monuments Benin city, I was contented with the little I get and my loving wife never complained. But from the very day I was bestowed with the title, everything we cherished together fizzled out.
My wife no longer respected me; she was always asking for money and each time I said I had none she would make mockery of me and call me names. Go to Okonokpa street Benin where I live and inquire about me, you will hear what people will say. I am not a trouble maker, I am always contented with whatever I have and above all, I had a wife who understood me until recently.
But it got to a stage when I could no longer bear the insult from her. So that day, after she asked for money and I said I didn’t have, she mocked me as usual. I waited patiently for nightfall when she would have gone to bed. When she was asleep, I went and grabbed her by the neck and pulled her to the ground.
While she was struggling to free herself, I reached for the ax nearby and hit her several times on her head and neck. She became motionless with blood gushing out from her mouth, neck and eyes. At that point, I became afraid and quickly I threw away the ax and bent over her begging for forgiveness.
But by then , she was dead. It was at that point that I realized I had killed my wife; the only person I cherished in life! Confused, I called out to neighbors that I had killed my wife. That was how the police came into it. I did not mean to kill her, I still believe it was not ordinary and that the Odionwele title came with a spell. I regret my action.”
No matter how pathetic Pa Mathew’s tale might sound, the police, through its public relations officer, ASP Etim Bassey said the law would have to take it’s course. “It is possible that the man was actually under a spell like he claimed but it is not our duty to decide. Only a court of competent jurisdiction can decide to set him free or otherwise,”he stated.