By Peter Duru
Tears freely flowed few days ago at Tse Gbila Ayaku in Vandeikya local government area of Benue state when the five children of a widow, Mrs. Ladi Nongu, who met their untimely death in a ghastly motor accident along the ever busy Makurdi-Gboko road, were being buried in their final resting place.
The five victims of the mishap, Joseph, Mary, Mimidoo, Terkende and Benjamin, had traveled to Makurdi on that fateful day to visit a sick relative in a Makurdi hospital.
Unfortunately, the trip to Makurdi was a journey of no return, which ended up at Mu, some six kilometers from the heart of Makurdi town where they all perished after the vehicle they were traveling in lost a tyre and summersaluted severally.
None of the occupants of the vehicle survived the accident and their death has left their widowed mother, Ladi Nongu, heart broken and in deep pains and agony. Ladi Nongu lived with her children at Abinsi town where she took it upon herself to give them good education even after losing her husband to the cold arms of death several years ago.
According to a family source who spoke to Vanguard in Abinsi, “She has lived in Abinsi with her children even after she loss of her husband many years ago. ”She is a farmer who struggled to make ends meet and with her modest savings, sent her children to school and catered for their needs.
“The family has not had it rosy until the eldest son, Joseph began to work which brought some form of relief but they had been as happy as they could be,” he said. Not withstanding the pains she went through while bring up her children, death further dealt a sad blow on Ladi who in one fell swoop lost three of her children, a daughter-in-law and a grand-daughter in that fatal mishap.
Saturday Vanguard gathered that when the news of the accident filtered into Abinsi town, where the victims lived before their demise, the community was thrown into wailing and mourning. Their grief stricken mother had threatened to take her life but for the quick intervention of relations who though mourned with her, kept vigil at her home to ensure that she did not carry out her threat. ”When the news of their unfortunate death filtered into town we did not believe if initially, until a close relative came crying and shouting, it then dawned on us that a tragedy has befallen us.
“We were able to break the news to their mother few days after the accident but we also detailed some women to keep a close watch on her because she passed out after hearing the news but she regained consciousness and threatened to take her life.
“In all things, we give thanks to God who is all knowing, because he said we should give thanks in all situations. And we cannot thank Governor Gabriel Suswam enough because when the news of the accident was aired by the state owned radio station, he sent emissaries to the family and offered to assist in the burial and also provide succour to the widow”.
Saturday Vanguard gathered that when news of the tragedy got to Governor Gabriel Suswam, he immediately directed that all the hospital bills as well as burial arrangements be taken over by the state government.
He further directed officials in the state who took care of all the arrangement including their bills at the hospital ranging from the bills at the mortuary to coffins as well as ambulances, to ensure that they accompanied the remains of the dead from Makurdi to Vandeikya local government area where they were finally interred. And as directed, the instructions were carried out to the letter and though painful, Governor Suswam ensured that they were all accorded a befitting burial.
Suswam also went a step further to direct the immediate employment of the widow just as he also promised to provide a befitting shelter for her. Though deeply in shock, Mrs. Nongu who sobbed uncontrollably as her children were laid to rest could only utter “may the Good Lord Bless Governor Suswam and all those who have shared my pains and grief; though I will now live without anyone calling me mother.”