...Says, “I thought we were all sleeping”
Twenty-one-year-old Adora Ugwu is planning to be a soldier. She also wants to secure admission into one of the country’s tertiary institutions. She had put her hands on the plough of her latter dream by writing the last UMTE. But, as she was going for the other one, she died.
The ambitious girl who had her secondary school at the North-Bank Markudi, Benue State had written the June 18 examination into Nigeria’s higher institutions of learning.
Two days after she was heading for her home state of Enugu for the recruitment into the Nigerian Army when the vehicle she was travelling had a head-on collision with a similar minibus. The result: her death and that of 25 others who included four discharged members of batch B National Youth Service Corps (NYSC).
Twenty of them including Adora reportedly died on the spot in headon collision involving two 15 passengers’ capacity buses, each, belonging separately to Peace Mass Transit Limited and the Enugu State Transport Company (ENTRACO). The buses had registration number BENUE - XB 504 TKP, ENUGU - XL 812 UWN respectively.
The ghastly crash occurred along Enugu- Markudi express road, at Amoka in Udi, Enugu State on June 20th. Immediately after the crash which was promptly reported to the Enugu State Command of the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) by its Delta State Sector Commander Lukas Ikpi who met the accident while travelling on the road, the dead including Adora were evacuated to Our Saviour Hospital morgue at 9th mile. But she was not meant to stay among the dead for long.
Two days after she had been confined to the mortuary. The parents had wept and mourned, most of them especially the mother was devastated, but the dead must be buried. And this was what Adora’s relative intended doing: bury her two day-old corpse. At the morgue, the attendants were putting in place all the deeds of mortification when suddenly there was a sound; a sneeze, it was. They looked around, then another one! Behold, the body being prepared for claim by the relatives had just sneezed.
The dead don’t sneeze, they reasoned. Adora, whose body was being prepared, is not dead after all. When Saturday Mirror asked her what she felt on her first realization of consciousness, she said: “I thought we were all sleeping. When I asked people around where I was, she said they said I an accident.
I cannot remember anything that happened when I was at the mortuary.” When Adora was discovered to be alive, her relative who had come to identify her was immediately called phoned the others from the morgue. Tears turned to felicitation. From the morgue she was later transferred to the Federal Orthopaedic Hospital in Enugu where is currently receiving treatment and spoke with Saturday Mirror.
Adora, told Saturday Mirror that hails from Eziokwe Amuri, in Nkanu west local government area of Enugu state. She said she attended a secondary school in North- Bank Markudi, Benue State adding that she was in Benue to take her Joint Admission and Matriculation Examination (JAMB) after which she was travelling down to Enugu for army recruitment when the accident occurred.
The accident in which she died
“My father retired from the Nigeria Railway Corporation. He has been jobless since he retired. I survived by the power of God. I am getting better now. When I recollected myself I asked people around what am I doing here and they said I had an accident. I asked if it was in Markudi that it happened or here in Enugu and they said it was on my way from Markudi that the accident occurred. I cannot remember how the accident happened I can only remember what I bought,” said Adora.
Asked whether she was actually at the mortuary, she replied: “I don’t know. But they said I was there. I was unconscious then, so I didn’t know what happened. I don’t know anything that happened in the mortuary.” A solider from 82 Division of Nigeria Army in Enugu, who said he is a family friend of Adora, but preferred anonymity, who was at the hospital bed beside of Adora said he was the last person who called her on the day of the accident .
He confirmed too that the crash was immediately reported to the Federal Road Safety Corps personnel. “I rushed there and I identified her in the mortuary. So I went and told her people that I saw her in the mortuary. Later, the following day, when the Air Force people went to identify their own relative, I was called on phone to come back that she is alive and I was surprised,” the soldier added.
The soldier who was with Adora’s mother at the Female Ward 2 of the Enugu Orthopaedic hospital was in high spitit. He, however, appealed to good spirited individuals and or organisations to come to the help of Adora and help with the hospital bills since Adora’s parents are indigent and will find it difficult to foot them.
He lamented that that even the transport companies that own the vehicles involved in the accident had not come forth to the hospital. “This is bad because even ordinary passers-by like one okada man came here and donated blood. When they screened his blood and it was okay, he donated it for her and left. So please, the transport owners should come forward because there is an insurance policy for things like this. That is the reason why they ask you to write your name in the manifest when you are travelling,” the soldier stated.