From NOAH EBIJE, Kaduna and FRED ITUA, Abuja
Tragedy struck on Wednesday, as senior legislative adviser to Senator Mohammed Saleh and a former staff of Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria (FRCN), Kaduna, Mohammed Ibrahim Matazu, lost his life from severe burns he suffered when his wife set him ablaze. It was further learnt that the deceased had a domestic quarrel with his second wife, who allegedly complained that he was spending too much time with his first wife in Kaduna.
Saturday Sun gathered that Matazu’s second wife, simply called Mummy, had complained bitterly as her husband was preparing to travel to Kaduna, saying that she would no longer bear her husband’s long absence from her in Abuja. Sources revealed that in an attempt to stop her husband from travelling on that day, she allegedly drew some fuel from a generator set, emptied it on her husband and set him on fire at their Gwarinpa residence, Abuja.
Matazu, already aflame, was said to have rushed out of the house, shouting for help. He was rushed to hospital. He died at the Ahmadu Bello Teaching Hospital (ABUTH), Shika, Zaria, where he was later referred to, where he died on Thursday. According to the deceased’s younger brother, Engineer Magaji Ibrahim, “on Wednesday last week, my elder brother called me that he was coming to Kaduna from Abuja to represent Senator Mohammed Saleh at a meeting with the NNPC in Kaduna, and that the senator was travelling to Imo State for another engagement.
So on Thursday morning, I saw missed call on my phone, and I called the number back, only for the voice at the other end asking me if I was Matazu’s brother, and I said yes. “He now narrated to me what happened to my brother, saying that my brother rushed out of his room with fire all over his body. He said that neigbhours rescued him, adding that my brother’s wife came out of the house and, taunting my brother, she asked: ‘what can you do now?’ That was at about 9 am on Thursday.
“When neighbours asked my brother what happened, he said his wife that poured petrol on his body and set fire on him. It was at this point that the neighbours now grabbed the wife, and called the police to arrest her. They all left for the police station with her. She is simply called Mummy. “My brother too followed them to the police station, even with pains all over his body. It happened in Gwarinpa, Abuja, and the day he was preparing to go to Kaduna for the meeting.
He was later rushed to Zone 3, Wuse hospital. He was briefly treated there as his body was bandaged. But according to the doctor’s report, 77 percent of his body was severely burnt, though he was speaking and discussing with people. “Then the senator came and met us, and advised that we should take him to the National Hospital, Abuja, but by the time we arrived the hospital, they said there was no more bed for admission. Then we went to University of Abuja Teaching hospital, in Gwagwalada, only to be told that they were on strike.
It was at this point that we begged for an ambulance to enable us take him to 44 Army Reference Hospital, Kaduna. When we arrived 44 Hospital at about 10 pm, they started treating him, but we later moved to Giwa Specialist Hospital, and from there we took him to Ahmadu Bello Teaching Hospital (ABUTH), Shika, Zaria based on the advice on doctors at 44 Hospital. “The doctors at Shika, about seven of them, tried their best and treated him, and my brother was actually responding to treatment.
He was passing stool normal, and he even told me that he will survive, that I should not be disturbed. But at about 4pm on Wednesday this week, one of my younger brothers called me and said, we should take heart and pray to God that Matazu had given up the ghost. So he was buried on Thursday this week at Kudenda burial ground. “The wife said she poured him the petrol because he was over staying with first wife in Kaduna. But my brother was always in Kaduna because of the assignment the senator gave him to do, that is borehole projects. So he used to spend 10 days before going back to Abuja.
He was going round the seven local governments to supervise the boreholes project the senator is embarking on in those areas. “And he was spending almost five days in Abuja before coming to Kaduna again. But the wife continues to complain that he did not spend enough days in Abuja. She was the second wife. He married her about a year ago, but she has no baby yet. The first wife gave birth to six children.
She is currently being detained at Wuse police station. We have nothing to say; we have left everything to law to take its due course.” Reacting to this, Senator Saleh said: “Ibrahim Matazu was a very pleasant and friendly personality. He contributed a lot to the development of our party, that is Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) and in my legislative duty he did his best to contribute to the smooth running of my office.
He was actually the pillar of the office. This is a plain murder case; it is a case between the state and the accused. His wife, who committed this heinous crime, is in police detention now and I intend to follow through to ensure that justice is done. I don’t know if this case is a bailable one, but we will ensure that justice is done; we will do it.”
Senator Saleh, a retired Major General, who is representing Kaduna Central Senatorial zone on the platform of the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), engaged Matazu as his senior aide soon after he won the election. Matazu also worked at Nagarta Radio, a Kaduna based electronic medium, after his short stint at FRCN.