Five months after, the circumstances that led to the death of a forty-year old mother of three, Ngozi Okonkwo, a native of Ogwashi-Uku in Aniocha South Local Government area of Delta State, who died in a Church in Lagos, where she went to worship on a Sunday, is playing out as the police have arrested three persons in connection with her missing phone.
Ngozi, a mother of three, ages from three years old to one and half and three months old as at time of death, was said to have died on June 16, 2019 at the HouseHold of Love Church, located at Addo, Badore Road, Ajah, Lagos State.
She was buried at the Atan Cemetery, Yaba, Lagos, on Saturday, June 22, 2019. Family sources revealed that some members of the church who rushed her to the hospital where she was confirmed dead, paid the sum of N50,000 for the embalmment of her corpse.
However, it was gathered that after the embalmment, no member of the church came to pay condolence visit to the family or attended her funeral, even though they promised to be part of the burial.
Having waited for hours at the Attan Cemetery where a pastor in the Church promised that members of the church would join in the final burial of the deceased, the family sought the assistance of the cemetery attendants who connected them to hire a clergy man from a nearby church, who finally performed the dust-to-dust funeral rites.
Speaking to Saturday INDEPENDENT, Ogochukwu Anamanya, younger sister to the deceased said that when she was contacted on the phone about the demise of her sister, she rushed to the hospital and met the corpse of her sister lying on the floor.
“I saw some of her church members. They arranged for the corpse to be deposited at the morgue. They even paid N50,000 for embalmment of the corpse. We felt that since our sister died in the church, she would made heaven, and did not suspect any foul play.
They handed over her children to us, two girls and a little boy of three months, who went with her to the church. They also handed over hand bag to us. But her phone and pause were not in the bag. We asked about the phone, a lady who claimed to be her friend said my sister did not come to church with phone.
But I know that she doesn’t go to church without a phone. She rather would go to church without a Bible. She read the gospel through her phone. So we decided to let the sleeping dog lies.
We felt the phone would have fallen off during the pandemonium. But when we called the line several times on Sunday night, it rang severally too.
Nobody picked. But on Monday morning, it was off. Our curiosity started when we told the church that we wanted to bury her on Friday being 21st of June, 2019. A pastor, who was now playing the role of a middle man between the church and my family, told us to fix the burial for Saturday, that they would not be chanced as they were ending up a program on Friday.
We accepted. So on Friday evening, we expected them for the service of Songs. No member of the church showed up. On Saturday being the date for the burial, I called the pastor and told him that we have provided bus for the church members to travel from Ajah to Yaba, for the burial. He asked me the time. I told him the burial was slated for 10 a.m. He said that my family should proceed to the venue (Atan Cemetery), that they were coming to join us there. When we got to the Cemetery, I called him on his mobile phone from 10am to 2pm. He said they were still coming. By 3 p.m. he did not pick call again and by 3.30pm, the line was off, so by 4 pm, we had to hire a pastor to perform the funeral rites.”
Following these scenarios, a petition was written to the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Abukakar Adamu with an appeal to assist in resolving the circumstances surrounding the death, most especially as her phone, gold necklace and pause containing unspecified amount of money were missing.