These are not the best of times for Mrs. Mary Okolie, the 85-year-old mother of the Commissioner for Local Government and Rural Development in Imo State, Chief Gerry Okolie.
This owes largely to the dehumanizing conditions she had allegedly been subjected to by her eldest son, Chief Okolie.
For Mrs. Okolie, the rise to prominence of her son, which she had prayed for, has become her greatest undoing.
Speaking to our correspondent in Orlu, she said, “My son, Gerry has done everything in his power to humiliate his siblings and to kill me, but for the grace of God”.
She disclosed that the commissioner has rendered every member of the family homeless and had “demolished my three-room kitchen line. I am not only homeless, but I cook my food in the open on a soak-away pavement under rain and sunshine.
She further explained that all efforts by kinsmen and the entire community to make him rethink have been futile. According to her, the traditional ruler of Amaifeke and Deputy Chairman, Imo State Council of Traditional Rulers, Eze (Dr) Emma Okeke, wrote the traditional ruler of their autonomous community, Ihioma, to prevail on Gerry to abide by the decision and resolution of the community to no avail.
“He not only ignored the letter, but refused to go and answer the elders-in-council. He keeps boasting that with his closeness to Governor Rochas Okorocha, he will always have his way and nothing will happen”.
In a letter to the governor, dated June 3, 2017, the frail octogenarian said: “My son Gerry, lost control of himself since he was empowered by the present state government. He chased me out of my late husband’s house just to force me to an early grave. He demolished my apartment, kitchen and also my clothes and other properties, without an alternative and erected his personal building there”.
Continuing, the woman said, Gerry Okolie’s wicked and inhuman actions to her and her other children have caused her sleepless nights and adversely affected her health and yet, “My son does not care whether I live or die because he wants me dead at all cost”.
In a similar letter to the governor by two siblings of the Commissioner, Anthony Okolie and Vitalis Okolie, they wrote: “Gerry has severally threatened to kill us and has chased us out of our late father’s house where we are living with our families without providing us an alternative living place. We begged him to give us time but he refused and threw us out.
“One day he just returned and forcibly broke the door to our bedroom, entered and started damaging and throwing some of our properties out through the fence. He beat my eight-year-old child mercilessly.
On a similar occasion, he stormed into our home with a squad of policemen and soldiers shooting sporadically, some villagers fled as he broke into our room where my wife and children were lying down, he ordered the policemen to hold my wife while Gerry started beating my wife. He tore her clothes, gave her wounds and a heavy blow to the eyes. My wife fainted.”
With the relentless terror visited on her family, Mrs. Mary Okolie was compelled to institute an action in court against his son, Chief Gerry Okolie, with her four other children as co-plaintiffs.
The case came up recently at Ihioma Customary Court and in their statement of claims, in Suit No. CC/14/2017 filed by their counsel, O.A.U. Eleke Esq., plaintiffs, is seeking an order of the court, that the plaintiffs and defendant are widow and children of late Chief Michael Okolie and are, therefore, all entitled to inherit his estate, which the defendant has forcefully and exclusively kept to himself.
Gerry neither picked our correspondent’s calls when contacted to respond to the petition, neither did he respond to text the message sent to his phone, requesting his side of the story.
As their mother, the first plaintiff has nowhere to cook her meal, an order of court, also, directing the defendant, Gerry Okolie, to restore the house of Chief Michael Okolie (Husband of Mrs. Mary Okolie), currently housing Anthony Okolie (2nd plaintiff), with his household of seven members and N1million as general damages.
The plaintiffs are also asking the court, to declare that the entire estate of Chief Michael Okolie (Husband of Mary Okolie) which Commissioner Gerry Okolie has forcefully taken for himself, has not been shared and should be partitioned, amongst his heirs in accordance with the native law and custom of the people of Umuagi, Ihioma in Orlu LGA of Imo State.
The case was adjourned for further hearing.
Younger brother to Commissioner Okolie, Mr. Anthony Okolie also lamented that it has become routine for the Commissioner to assault and harass his siblings with policemen adding that on one occasion when he broke into our home, Gerry Okolie had asked a policeman to shoot Vitalis, the last born of the family ‘if he talks’.
He called on Governor Rochas Okorocha to call his Commissioner to order and allow their aged mother to live in peace.