By Anayo Okoli, Umuahia
LAST weekend, Uzuakoli, the sleepy town, about 10 kilometres from Umuahia, the Abia State capital, was agog with excitement. A woman from the community who was said to have died during a heart operation in Ibadan after spending 10 days in an unnamed mortuary, resurrected on the 11th day when her body was brought to Loghum, near Uzuakoli, to be deposited in another morgue in preparation for the burial rites.
The news of the resurrection of 36-year-old Mrs. Charity Chigoziri Ikechukwu Obioma spread like wild fire in her community, especially among her church members, the Cherubim and Seraphim Church, Uzuakoli.
The story of Charity’s death and resurrection is full of controversies. Charity, works at the Sub-Treasury of the State Ministry of Finance, Uzuakoli office but her husband resides in Lagos.
She had a the heart disease and booked for an operation with the Kanu Heart Foundation but when they discovered they could not foot the high bill, they decided to do the surgery in an undisclosed hospital, either in Lagos where her husband resides or in Ibadan where the operation was said to have been initially booked.
During the operation, Charity gave up the ghost and was deposited in an unnamed mortuary where she spent 10 days. On the 11th day, the husband, Mr. Ikechukwu Obioma, consulted with his relatives and friends and decided to convey the body back home to a nearby morgue, pending the conclusion of burial arrangement.
But a ‘miracle’ happened when few kilometers to their town, Charity sneezed seven times and started making efforts to sit up from the stretcher with which she was being conveyed home. The husband had refused to get a casket because he did not believe that the wife was actually dead. The incident was said to have terrified the driver who was driving the vehicle that brought her remains back.
The miracle was celebrated in their church last Sunday where Charity and her husband gave testimonies of the incident. Later in the church, Charity spoke to journalists and narrated what she went through. But she could remember a man whose face was invisible to her, who took her from one place to the other and showed her things and complained of the evil being done by Man.
Before then, the man took her to a theatre where she was operated upon and all the ailments in heart were removed before taking her around.
Her husband chipped in some words intermittently, though he refused to name the hospital and the mortuary where her wife was deposited, not even whether it was in Lagos where he resides or Ibadan where the operation was said to have taken place. He refused to collect death certificate because “spiritually”, he never believed that his wife was actually dead.
Charity gave her own narrative thus: “I have always said it. I don’t know what really happened to me. When I was taken to the hospital, I don’t know. The hospital where I was taken to ,I don’t know. All I can remember is that there was a time that somebody gave me his hand; whose face I could not see. He was in a white robe. He took me away and had been taking me from one place to another, spiritually and physically.
“During this period, there were people I visited physically. Those people can attest to it now. I went to them in the dream, gave them instructions and told them what to do. There were people I went to physically who saw me and shook hands with me. These people can attest to it. And I gave them messages. By then, some people knew that I was dead, but those particular people I went to did not know that I had died.
“I was going for lectures on daily basis from the man that was taking me around. It was on different subjects and he told me that I should not withhold whatever he was telling me to the people of the world.
“He told me that one of the things that makes him angry is that people of the world, including me, don’t pay tithes and that so many married men run after other people’s wives and many married women run after other people’s husbands. He said Satan uses this to boast before him that my people are disobedient to me. These are two out of many things that he told me.
“Before I went for the operation, I had a dream and told my husband that God has never told me lies before, that even if I did not come out of the operation immediately, he should always trust God that he would do the best. I told my mother the same thing and asked them to put me into prayers, and they did.
“When they were discussing about buying a casket to bring me back, I told them that I didn’t want to be in a casket and that they should not bring me back in a casket. I said they should bring me home like that and deposit me in a mortuary of their choice and wait for the day of my burial if God so wished it. The wonderful thing they did for me was keeping my instructions.
“As they were coming back on the day that would have made it the 11th day, they never knew what happened and I
cannot say what happened. I was using my hand trying to open my eyes, making frantic efforts until I got it opened.
“The people were expecting my corpse that day, but I returned as a living being. I was really impressed because I never knew that so many people loved me that much. They only saw me alive instead of my corpse.
“Before that, he took me to a particular hospital, where you can find any equipment you can talk about. He loosened every stitch on me because I was told that I went in there with bandages and plasters on my chest, showing wounds of the operation that made me die.
But the man loosened them and told me that he wanted my whole body to be without a scar. But that for people to believe my story, he was going to leave a scar, showing where my chest was opened up for the surgery. But every other thing he did, he did it perfectly and now I am very strong.
“Before I went in for the surgery, I told my husband that God told me that I am going to come back. I said no matter the circumstances you find me, don’t ever be afraid or lose hope that I had died. Even if you people bury me, I know that God has never lied to me before and that he must fulfill that which he has promised.
“The decision of my husband not to embalm me must have arisen from the faith I expressed to him before I went in for the operation.”
Her husband, Obioma, narrating her wife’s experience, said immediately they got to Ubani Ibeku, close to Uzuakoli, the woman sneezed seven times and started making efforts to sit up.
“The driver of the Siena bus that carried us, a Yoruba man, became afraid. I told him to concentrate and not to be afraid because God was in charge.
“I refused to obtain a death certificate when they confirmed her dead because I knew that she was not dead. God has never spoken and lied. Since she had told me that I shouldn’t use a casket for her, I refused to talk about a death certificate. All along, we were in prayers and the messages we were getting was that God wanted to use her to show the world what they had not seen before.
Based on the message, I told them that she should not be embalmed based on the words she came to tell me in my dream and the revelation from the prophets I gave her name to for prayers.
“She was not also embalmed and she did not show any sign of decay.
The first revelation I got came from one Prophet Maduka from Isuikwuato. He called me very early in the morning and told me that God said that he wanted to use my wife, Charity, to show the world what they had never seen, and that even if she was dead, that he was going to resurrect her.
You know, I was looking at one, two or three days, but when she stayed for the fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh day, I became troubled as a human being. It was at that point that I picked up the courage to call the father and told him that I was like a sheep without a shepherd and we still continued praying.
“What surprised me was that she came to my dream and wished me happy birthday. But because I was troubled, I didn’t even remember that day was my birthday. She told me that she would come to celebrate my birthday with me.
Immediately I woke up, I called my friend who was by me and told him the dream I had. It is that human nature that made me say, let me bring her home so that we could deposit her in the mortuary here, close to the village and meet the family officially and tell them what had happened.
“On getting to Ubani Ibeku, where they want to relocate the Umuahia Modern Market, she sneezed seven times, opened her eyes and was looking like someone whose eyes were covered. In my mind, I started reciting Psalm 24, and she sat up. I called her Daddy on phone because he had earlier told me that we should take her straight to the mortuary. So I told her Daddy that we were coming straight home, that something had just happened which was very, very strange to me and that I could not explain it.
Then we drove straight to the compound, and as we drove into the compound, I looked at the crowd and I couldn’t hold myself. I broke down and started crying and I didn’t even know when my friend who was by me brought her out. I was just crying.”