FACT CHECK!!! Late Dr Chike Akunyili Was A Biafran Soldier With Bullet In His Skul—-The Akunyili family formally reacted yesterday to the killing of one of its sons, Dr. Chike Akunyili, saying sorrow was not enough to fill gaps in the hearts of its members.
“Our hearts have been broken twice. These have left a gap which sorrow cannot fill’’ the family said in a statement by six of its members.
The family recalled the life and times of Dr. Akunyili whom it disclosed lived with a “civil war bullet in his skull” till his life was terminated by gunmen on Tuesday.
It added that the late medical doctor whom it described as “Daddy” rendered free medical service for 45 years to Catholic priests in his alma mater, Bigard Memorial Seminary in Enugu when he was alive.
In the statement by Ijeoma Akunyili, Edozie Akunyili, Somto Asuzu, Njideka Akunyili, Chidiogo Akunyili-Parr and Obumneme Akunyili, the family said: “As a nation mourns a man known to many as the husband of the late Prof. Dora Akunyili, we as a family remember the man we call Daddy.
“He was a son — as a young man, he fought as a soldier in the Biafra war. A war that earned him a bullet that stayed lodged in his skull ever since. From this experience of violence and death, he went on to become a doctor saving thousands of lives — a powerful testament to his journey through life.
“He was a loving husband. It is no surprise that, on the day of his untimely death, he was on his way from a memorial lecture in honour of his late wife, whom he cherished and honoured even in death. At this event and always, he invited everyone to be like his wife, Dora.
“He was a father and grandfather. With joy, he would share that he was a grandfather to nine.. He welcomed his youngest grandchild just a little over a month ago and had yet to meet her.
“He was an older brother to all his siblings, many of whom call him Daddy in reverence and recognition of his love.
“He was a healer and a passionate surgeon, Dr. Chike was the Medical Director at St. Leo’s Hospital in Enugu. For decades he served countless people, many of whom he cared for and healed at no cost. His one request was always that they paid it forward.
“He started his healing journey in the North where he built and ran a mobile clinic in Jaban Kogo. For many months, he lived and worked among the people, studying and becoming fluent in Hausa to better serve his patients. His commitment to providing healthcare to that community earned him the National Youth Service Merit Award.
“He was a philanthropist. For 45 years he treated priests in Bigard Memorial Seminary and beyond for free, trusting this to be his calling.
“He was a man of the people, loved by many for his wisdom and for his courage to always speak the truth. His counsel was sought far and wide.
“He was an ordinary man who, every day, showed his extraordinary commitment to his community and his people by his ability to help people in need without question.
“In his final days, his heart was heavy about the state of things in Nigeria. He lamented about the struggles of people unable to pay for treatment anymore and about the unfortunate state of unrest where human life had lost its value.
“His hope echoed that of his beloved wife and our mother, that Nigeria might lean on the forces of unity and shun disunity..”