building Ibadan
File: Building collapse (Note this photo was used to illustrate the story)

By Joseph Erunke

Even as he tries to conceal the true situation of developments around him, a look at him evokes pity, given that as young as 32,Mr Emmanuel Otache moves around in crutches without shelter and living from hand to mouth. This is certainly not the way he wanted to live life but he has no choice as fate has confined him to that side of life for now.

Before October 12,2019,when a building located on top a hill collapsed on his apartment down similar hill at Magodo-Isheri area of Lagos, killing his pregnant wife, two children and a sister-in-law, leaving him in an unconscious state for six months at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital where he was rushed to, Otache was a promising young family man with hope and aspiration. He was a young man with a beautiful family living life without depending on anyone for survival.

From Opaha Village in Apa Local Government Area of Benue State, Otache had relocated to Lagos in search of greener pastures and thought luck had shone on him when he was engaged as a staff by a logistics company, Opay Nigeria.

On that fateful day, like he had always done, Mr Otache returned to his house after the day’s tedious work. As expected of a good wife, Faith served him food after which she warmed water for him to have his bathe and subsequently go to bed. As she did this, little did the couple know that it would be the last time they would be together on planet earth.

Mrs Faith Otache, her two kids identified as Dominion and Daniel died in the building that collapsed during rainfall about 4am on the day while Mr Emmanuel Otache, her husband and father of her children survived narrowly with a life threatening injury.

It was late before help could come the way of the victims who were removed from the rubble about 7 am. However, occupants of the building on the plains escaped unhurt.

Families, friends, associates as well as residents of Oton Araromi Isheri area of Isheri-Magodo mourned the tragedy.

But more than one year after the incident, Mr Emmanuel Otache, the lone survivor who went into coma for about six months recounts a very sad tale of what stripped him of all that he had.

The 32 year old Emmanuel Otache, recalled  that, “On Friday night of 11 October, 2019,after I came back from work, my wife boiled water for me to bathe and presented me food to eat, I went to bed. Unfortunately, I didn’t know what happened again as I recovered from unconsciousness in the hospital after six months. People told me what happened.

“I didn’t really know what happened but was told that it was after heavy rainfall that a building on top the one we were living in with my family, collapsed between 3am and 4am at Magogo, Isheri, killing my children-my wife, children and  my wife’s sister.

“I was on admission at the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital for six months. Within that time, I was abandoned as nobody to care for me except my Church, Lighthouse Outreach Centre that cared for me, helped me and fed me.

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While he had survived , Otache can’t escape the trauma associated with the horrible  development as well as neglect and many other challenges confronting him ahead of life.

Whenever I think of my family, I would be quick to pray that death comes my way so I can join them once because I feel I have no essence of  living again in this world. But on a second thought, I console myself because of my belief in Jesus Christ that he is the way, the life and the truth.

While expressing gratitude to those who have helped him going, he solicits the assistance of government and well-meaning Nigerians to give him a shoulder to lean on.

“Since my discharge from the hospital after six more months of being admitted there on account of what happened, I have no job again and have lost everything I worked for. Now, I walk around, living from hand to mouth. No house to live again in . I want government and spirited individuals to assist me  start  life again, he begged.

Emmanuel Otache can be reached on 09056969174. First Bank: 3049481636

Vanguard News Nigeria

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