Victim dies a week to wedding
By JAMES OJO, Abuja
Wednesday, October 26, 2005
Unekwuojo, among the Igala tribe of Kogi State, means God's will. But for the family of Abah Usman, it is very hard to believe that it is the will of God that Joy, the family pearl, would die a week to her wedding day.
Precisely this week Saturday, October 29, 2005, Joy, a staff of the Para-military Pension Board at Gwagwalada, would have solemnized her marriage to Pastor Yemi Davies at the Living Faith Church, Durumi, Abuja.
The marriage was to be one-in-town as an elaborate reception had been planned for friends at the Millennium Park. Sadly, the ceremony would never hold.
Joy Unekwuojo Usman (29), the last in the family of six girls and three boys, was among the passengers of the ill-fated Bellview plane which crashed on Saturday shortly after take-off from Lagos en route Abuja.
Elder brother to Joy, Abah Sunday, a lecturer at the Kaduna Polytechnic fought back tears while narrating the grief of the family whose plans to give her sister away in marriage have become a mourning ceremony.
"We were preparing an elaborate ceremony to send Joy to her husband's house. Joy is the last daughter of the family. We have six girls. Now our joy has been shattered. To say that we are devastated would be an understatement. We have big problems on our hands. How do we console our mother? How do we console our father? He arrived from the village on Saturday for the wedding of his most prized daughter."
According to the wedding invitation card, Joy's traditional wedding ceremony was to take place at the Zone 3, Lugbe village residence of the Usmans on Friday, while the church wedding ceremony had been slated for Saturday at the Living Faith Church.
Joy had gone to Lagos for her last wedding shopping, but never returned alive.
Daily Sun gathered that Joy's fiancé, Pastor Yemi was waiting at the local wing of the Nnamdi Azikiwe Airport to pick her up.
"Joy and her fiancé were in contact on phone shortly before taking off. Pastor Yemi was still at the airport waiting. He became agitated when there was no announcement of the arrival of the last plane one hour after the plane was said to have left Lagos. He started making phone calls to find out what happened. It was in the process that he was informed that the plane was missing, and he started contacting the family, " the brother narrated.
This was how he was woken up at about 10.30 p.m with the sad news that his sister was in the plane that had crashed.
Sad as the death of her sister is, Abah says the joy of the family was that the late Joy knew Jesus Christ.
"We have one consolation. Joy, my sister is a believer. She gave her life to Christ before tasting death. She was loved by everybody. No doubt, we shall miss her. She was everything to us. The only sadness is that she died a week to her wedding, nothing more," Abah said, as he fought back tears.
As a Christian family, he said that they had accepted Joy's death but that they would have preferred a situation whereby her remains could be found so that the family could give her a befitting burial.
Igala-speaking people around Lugbe have been trooping to the home of the Usmans to commiserate with the family.
A large expanse of land cleared as part of preparations for the elaborate wedding ceremony opposite the house has now been converted to mourning ground where people now gather to sympathize with the family.
Joy's mother, fondly called Mama Igala, was in a deep sleep apparently from the injections administered on her. Her husband was looking askance in a corner of the compound, surrounded by sympathizers.