The story has been told of how a pastor in Enugu state and his wife with their kids got crushed to death by a reckless driver.
A middle-aged woman, Mrs Virginia Onyia, has said that her younger brother, Pastor ThankGod Onyia, his wife, five children and a neighbour’s daughter, were killed by a reckless driver on June 10, 2018, along Ugwu Onyeama in Ngwo, Enugu North Local Government Area of Enugu State.
Mrs Onyia, said that ThankGod who was the only male child in their family was on his way to attend a church service at the Redeemed Christian Church, Holy Ghost Parish, Obunofia Ndiulo, in Ezeagu Local Government Area of the state when a reckless bus driver with a popular transportation company in Onitsha, hit him while trying to dodge another vehicle, while overtaking at a very bad corner, killing all the eight people in the Toyota Carina vehicle.
Speaking with tears rolling down her cheeks, Onyia said members of the family were shocked and traumatised when they received the news of the incident.
According to her, it was difficult for the family to lose a whole family of seven in a twinkle of an eye.
The interview went thus:
Madam, tell us about the death of your brother and members of his family.
I was not there but according to eye witnesses, the ugly and heart-rending incident happened at Ugwu Onyeama, along the Ngwo Enugu-Onitsha Expressway on 10th of June 2018. My younger brother, Pastor ThankGod Onyia was on his way to church service at the Redeemed Christian Church of God, Holy Ghost Parish, Obunofia Ndiulo in Ezeagu Local Government Area with his family when the ugly incident happened. An Onitsha South Mass Transit bus overtook a vehicle but while trying to dodge some potholes, hit my younger brother’s car by the side and killed him, his wife, five of his children and a neighbour’s child.
How have you been feeling since you received the bad news?
I have been feeling bad. I am heart-broken. I have not been myself since then. My mother has been on medication since the incident. My younger brother, Thankgod is the only son and last born in our family. We’re only three in the family, two female and one male.
I am the eldest. How do you think I will live to see my only brother, the father of the family and his family buried just like that? It’s very painful for me and my mother to bury our younger ones like that.
We heard that his six children were involved in the accident, how old were they?
Thankgod Onyia had five children. The sixth child was his neighbour’s child. The first son, Chizutalu, will be 12 years old by October. The twins among them – Chimezendu and Kamsiyochukwu were 10 years old; Sobechukwu is 7 years old; Chiemerie is 4 years and our neighbour’s child, Favour, is 12 years old. Eight of them died instantly.
Has the date for the burial been fixed and how are you preparing?
We haven’t fixed a date for the burial yet. We had initially slated 29th of July for the burial but since he was a pastor, the church is expected to fix a suitable date for them. We are waiting for the church to give us a date. We are planning for the burial in our own way as women. We don’t have any male to help us plan the burial. I believe that with God, we will do our best.
Since you started planning for the burial, have you received any help?
We have not received any help for now but we believe that when the date is fixed, we would get help from people.
Have you met with the Mass Transit company’s management?
My uncle in the village has been meeting with the management. The last time I asked my uncle, he told me that they would meet soon with the management to finalise their agreement with them.
A neighbour, Mrs Agu Adora who disclosed that she is like a family member to the deceased, when asked how she felt, said that she didn’t know she would live to tell the story.
According to her, “though we were neighbours, we were more like a family. On that fateful Sunday, we all prepared for Sunday service, she came to my room and called me as usual, saying, “my mother-in-law, how do I look,” and I told her that she was looking good. I wanted to take a photo of her but couldn’t because we were already late for service. We went down together and they boarded their vehicle while I drove out to New Haven where I usually worship.
“When we came back from Sunday service, we didn’t border to ask about them because they usually visited their mother in the village after service. So we left for fellowship in the evening. While we were there, people were calling our phones and we started wondering what was happening. We came back and our mummy in the compound told us that they have not seen Thankgod and his family and that the mother was in the house waiting for them to come back.
“immediately we remembered what one of our members said during the fellowship that eight people just passed on, we drove to Parkland Hospital Enugu, moved to emergency section to know if there was any accident case but they told us that it was only those on morning duty that could answer the question. We moved to mortuary section around 7:45pm and all the morticians had left. On our way, coming out from the mortuary, we saw some clothing at the entrance, we checked them and found out they were Thankgod’s suit, tie, his wife’s clothes, children’s sandals and shoes and I shouted ‘it can’t be true,’ but we couldn’t do anything.
“When we came back that night, everybody was waiting for us to come back and tell them what happened but we couldn’t say what we saw there because of the mother. We told them that we will go to Road Safety office the following day to know if there was any accident case. We went to Road Safety office at New Market in the morning and they told us that only the head of operation could tell us what happened and the identities of the victims.
“The Road Safety took us to mortuary, while we were waiting for morticians to come, they showed us the video record of what happened and we confirmed that they were the victims. We came back and told the parents what happened.
Crying and thanking God, Mrs Adora, said that she never knew she would live to tell the story.