*Survivor: One step ahead of my slain wife saved me
By Wole Mosadomi
Many sympathizers thronged All Christian Fellowship Mission Church , Suleja, Niger State where the latest bomb exploded, killing four people and wounding others last Sunday.
Acting governor of the state, Alhaji Ahmed Musa Ibeto, who led top government officials to the scene, was among those who sympathized with the church members, the families of the deceased persons and the Emir of Suleja, Alhaji Muhammadu Awwal Ibrahim.
Almost everybody that stormed the venue shed tears and left almost immediately leaving the immediate members of the affected families to their fate.
Government at the federal, state and local levels, corporate bodies and individuals have made promises in the past to victims of such unfortunate incidents but never fulfilled them.
This is why one of the children of one of the deceased victims of the Suleja blast, Emeka Ogbogu, 20, wept profusely over who is going to fulfill the promise of his late mother, Theresa, who was killed on the spot when the church was bombed. Narrating his last discussion with his mother, Emeka is pained that his mother could not fulfill her promise of setting him up in business, having just completed his apprenticeship.
And just as the son narrated his sad experience, the husband of the deceased, Mr. Ogbogu, said he escaped being killed by the blast, by whiskers. With tears running down his cheeks, the widower said he escaped being blown off by the blast because he left the very spot only minutes to the incident, leaving his wife behind.
‘’I would have also died instantly and gone with my wife had I not left the spot for another duty”, the widower, 61, and father of five, who is a building contractor, said.
Emeka, who is the second to the last born of the family, said he was the closest to the late mother.
‘’I was always with her. She was so interested in my welfare and much more interested on how I would settle down in life. Just two days ago, she promised to give me N20, 000 to rent a shop for the smooth take off of my business. My mother was a teacher and she promised to give me the money this month end (July) after collecting her salary but now, that she is no more”, he said, sobbing.
Emeka is a motorcycle spare parts dealer who just finished his apprenticeship and trying to establish his own shop.
When asked whether her late mother had a premonition of her death, Emeka said he could not answer in the affirmative.
He, however, narrated how the deceased spent the last few hours at home on the fateful day.
‘’Daddy and mummy came back home immediately after service on Sunday to take their lunch and prepare for another meeting in the church later in the afternoon. She hurriedly took her meal because of the importance she attached to that meeting and directed that the leftover be kept for her but she didn’t return to the house she left hale and hearty and with excitement , “the son narrated.
Emeka gave a graphic narration of how she insisted to snap a photograph with an in-law before she departed for the ill-fated church meeting.
According to Emeka, ‘’the sister of our father was on a visit to our house with her daughter and when my mother was about to go back to the church for the meeting, despite the fact that she was so much in a hurry to the extent of not finishing lunch, she insisted having photographs with the little daughter, beaming with smiles . This is a sad memory which will linger for a long time.’’
‘How I escaped the blast’
The husband returned to the church with the wife full of life and set for a successful meeting of the Missions Support Team (MST), an evangelical and humanitarian group.
While waiting for other members from different branches of the church, the husband left the deceased and others at the spot where the bomb exploded unknown to anyone that the device had been planted at the premises.
‘’I was trying to open the door of the office where the meeting will be held when I heard a loud bang outside and, when I rushed to the spot, what I saw was unbelievable. I saw my wife stone dead with her body and the bodies of two others mangled. I couldn’t believe she was the one especially after leaving her just about minutes earlier to open the door of the venue of the meeting, “Ogbogu lamented.
Emeka, the son, narrating how they learned of the the bad news of the death of their mother, said, ‘’we (children), after our parents returned to the church for the meeting, remained at home.
‘’Then there was a distress call trying to ascertain the authenticity of the bomb blast they heard. A call had to be made to our mother in the church but her phone was ‘unreachable’. We were in this panic until when my father called to inform of the blast and when we rushed to the church and met the corpse.’’
Friends, neighbours and co-worshippers described the late Theresa as an easy going, devoted Christian, caring, loving and will be missed by all.
A lady worshipper, Efunaya Nwachukwu, described her as an epitome of womanhood who should be emulated as a Christian and as a mother.
According to her, her blood paid the price of death for many of us who were at the church premises together but escaped death narrowly. Uchema Obioahu, her next door neighbour in the shop in front of the church, broke down in tears as our correspondent sought her comments.
She said, ‘’we saw last at the shop on Saturday not knowing we will never see again.
Uchema, who heard about the demise of her neighbour on Monday afternoon when she came to the shop, was shocked to the marrow.
The corpse of the late Theresa at press time was still at the Suleja General Hospital mortuary, while the family and church made burial arrangements.