For Meriji, the 23rd birthday that never was

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By SUZAN EDEH, Bauchi

Life will never be the same again for the family of  Mr Solomon Gantu following the untimely death of their daughter in a ghastly motor accident in Bauchi State.

cut-1The sad incident which cut short the life of Meriji Solomon happened on May 8, 2014 along Yelwa, opposite an NNPC Mega Filling Station in the metropolis.

VM gathered that on the fateful day, the deceased was making plans to celebrate her 23rd birthday the following day. It was for this purpose that she decided to head to the bank to withdraw some money to enable her make adequate arrangements.

It was learnt that the late Meriji who is a 300-level student of Estate Department at the Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University, boarded a commercial bike popularly called Okada from her residence in Yelwa Tundu to the bank. But on getting to the NNPC junction, the Okada man had an epileptic attack and lost control of the bike.

It was while the bike was swerving from left to right that it was hit from behind by a car. Both the Okada rider and his passenger fell to the ground. Unfortunately Meriji did not survive the impact of the fall as her head was said to have been smashed on the hard surface of the road. She died instantly due to the gravity of the injury on her head.

Gravity of the injury

When VM visited the family in Yelwa Tundu, a suburb in Bauchi metropolis, relatives and friends of the family were there in their numbers to console them over the loss. They are still to come to terms with the sudden demise of Meriji as they openly showed their grief through heart-rending wailing.

Some of the deceased colleagues in the university who came to symphatise  with the family also could not control their emotions as  they shed tears of grief and pain.

Mr Solomo Gantu told VM that his daughter’s death was like a nightmare to him because it never crossed his mind that such an incident could  befall a young girl with  such a bright future.

According to him: “I can’t imagine that Meriji, my favourite daughter, will die so soon because I never had any premonition that such tragic fate would befall her. Just the day before the accident, she came to tell me that she would like to celebrate her 23rd birthday in a big way and I supported her by giving her some money. The following day, before I went to work, she told me she would be going to the bank to withdraw some money one of her uncles sent to her. That was the last time I set my eyes on her and the next thing I heard was that my daughter was dead.

“I will definitely miss her because she was my favourite child. She was very intelligent and hardworking at school and was not a troublesome person. She was very respectful and obedient to her parents”.

He said he has accepted the death of his daughter as the will of God because “everybody has a stipulated period of time to live on earth and when that is up,  we must all go and meet our creator”.

Her Mother, Mrs Jumai Solomon said that her daughter’ s death confirms the bad dreams she had been having lately in the last one month. According to her, “It is now that I understand the meaning of the bad dreams I have been having lately. Whenever I go to bed, I usually see myself in the midst of some people weeping. I kept asking myself what the dream meant. Although I never  told anybody about it, I just kept praying. For one month, I kept seeing myself weeping along with some people I didn’t know. It is now that I understand the meaning of  my dreams”.

She blamed herself over Meriji death’s, saying the dreams she had represented a warning sign from God over an impending disaster in the family and she did not take concrete action to avert it.

One of Meriji’s childhood friends, Mummy David, told VM that she received the news of the death of her childhood friend with shock, saying that she is finding it hard to come to terms with it. According to her, the late Meriji was her classmate right from secondary school and they had been best of friends for over 15 years.

“I will miss her because we were very close friends right from childhood. Life has taught me that we have different paths in the journey of life. Some will live for 20 years, others will live up to 35, 40 and so on, depending on the time God has destined for each person on earth,” she posited philosophically.

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