A man arrested for setting his brother’s daughter on fire in Cross River state was today paraded by the State Police Commissioner Hafiz Inuwa.
In his confession, 37-year-old Leo Columbus told reporters he set his 3-year-old niece on fire because she defecated in a neighbour’s house in Akamkpa local government area of Cross River State.
According to him, he did not intend to kill her and only acted out of anger because of the child’s behavior.
He said he started taking care of the child, his brother’s daughter, two years ago.
Columbus said his neighbours had been complaining a lot of times that the little girl, who parents are in Lagos, was always defecating in their houses.
“People had been complaining until that fateful day. It was not purposely. Someone came and reported to me that he had defecated in their place. With the annoyance that she went and shit in someone’s pumpkin and water leaf, I beat her,” he said,
He said at the time he was burning some grasses and in anger threw the fire on her, which severely burnt part of her body.
He also denied tying her to a tree while she was on fire.
“When I saw she was burnt, I said look at what you have caused to me. I regretted. I applied JV and bought drugs and gave to her. I did not plan to kill her. She is brother’s daughter. I did it out of annoyance. It was anger that made me do it,” he said.
He said he always leaves the little girl when going to work.
“I can’t lock her inside. I always tell her to stay in the house and even if she wants to go to toilet, she should do it in the house, but she still goes out and shits in the neighbour’s houses,” Columbus said.
Inuwa said Columbus was arrested immediately he set the girl on fire, while she was tied to a guava tree.
The little girl was rushed to General Hospital Akamkpa where he was later taken to an orphanage.