PRIEST WHO HAD PREMONITION OF OWN DEATH
Hours before dying in a ghastly auto crash, Rev. Fr.Godwin Teru publicly presented the things he bought with his money for his church.While delivering a sermon at St. Mary's Catholic Church ,Damaturu ,Yobe State , Sunday Sun learnt he dwelt on death and life hereafter.
Those close to him even said he heckled his brother and asked him what he thinks will happen to him if he suddenly dies . He also disclosed his dream about the death of someone.But ironically death laid in wait for him at a dangerous bend on the road last Monday.
Sunday Sun learnt that the 36- year -old priest was on his way from Azare in Bauchi State on Sunday night after attending a Thanksgiving Mass of one of his relations, Rev. Fr. Stephen Zirra Job who was recently ordained a priest, and was almost back to his base, St. Mary's Catholic Church, Damaturu when the right rear tyre of the brown Toyota Corolla which he was driving came out of the wheel hub making the car to somersault and smash from all sides.
However, there was also an indication that his car after losing control ran into a GSM mast.
The accident which occurred between the hours of 10:00 and 11:00 p.m was unnoticed because it was drizzling . The car was discovered by a police patrol team around 4 a. m on Monday morning, June 14,it finally stopped in the bush after somersaulting.
The lifeless body of the man of God was discovered in a pool of blood with a deep cut around the lower part of his face including one Mrs. Felicity Teri who he offered a lift. Though, Mrs. Teri survived , she is still unconscious at the intensive unit of the University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital, according to a family source. The body of Fr. Teru who might have died as a result of bleeding and Mrs. Teri was conveyed to the General Sani Abacha Specialist Hospital in Damaturu by the police patrol team.
According to many of members of the church congregation during last Sunday Mass which Fr. Teru celebrated before traveling to Azare that same day , his sermon and disposition dwelt on his death. According to the Vice Chairman of St. Mary's Parish, Sir Jacob Nyam (SP) who spoke to Sunday Sun, Fr. Teru had lashed out seriously on members of the church who feigned the worship of the Almighty God and would hardly offered their time and resources for the service of God. He said the late priest consistently call out for forgiveness and hammer on the realities of heaven and earth, and warned people to be prepared as one's life could end at any time. Sir Nyam said late Fr. Teru was sober throughout the Mass that Sunday as he unusually had his hands on his chin.
The late man of God, according to Nyam ,spoke at length that Sunday and later brought out many of the things he used his personal money to buy for the Church while challenging the well-to-do members to follow suit. He announced a celebration for those in the priesthood against the next Sunday where he promised to honour the few members of the Church for their efforts toward the development of the Church. He had said that he would have love to do more for the Church but for time where he later announced his transfer to St. Joseph's Catholic Church, Kaya in Adamawa State as the parish pries and Director of the Catechetical Training Centre.
Having announced his transfer, Sir Nyam said the late priest and former Yobe State CAN chairman declared that his name was Godwin and that God has warned him already saying, 'Everything that has a beginning always has an end'. The priest after the mass had left for the children Sunday class where he told the children playfully that he was prepared for heaven and that if he dies, he would always pray for them from heaven before offering them the final blessings of the day.
It was after this he announced his trip for Azare. Sir Nyam said he along with the The Assistant Secretary of the Church, Miss Grace Joseph told Sunday Sun she tried to stop him from the trip that Sunday afternoon but to no avail seeing that for the past one week he had been on the road without rest.
Miss Joy Christopher who is a teacher at the St. Mary's School in Damaturu. She said she related very well with late Fr. Teru who was the school manager. According to her, Fr. Teru gave her a new lease of life when the chips were down. She said late Fr. Teru registered her for NECO to make up her discrepancies and that when her mother was ill, he assisted her tremendously pointing out that the Sunday he died, he was to speak with her mother.
Late Fr. Teru, according to her, was a true man of God who was always moved to assist those in need. She said Fr. Teru was like a father to her so much that he took so much interest in the affairs of her life.
In tears, Miss Christopher told Sunday Sun that the late priest had invited her few days to his death and told her that he had a revelation but that he would not tell her because she would not be able to keep it. According to her, late Fr. Teru's countenance changed when he was talking to her to the extend that the late priest informed her that he was very close to his bosom friend, late Fr. David from Bauchi Diocese who died some three months ago. She said the priest told her that he won't mind joining Fr. David in heaven.
This statement made her speechless and confused not until the news of his death got to her on Monday when she was supposed to be sitting for her Chemistry Exam. 'I was confused and slummed and could not sit for the Chemistry paper when I learnt of father's death', she said. She explained that it was like the priest had the premonition of his death but found it difficult to relate it to anyone.
Teru was said to have narrated a dream he had that on three consecutive times he dreamt the same kind of dream that somebody died in an accident but that he did not know the person. He was said to have laughed it off and said he was no longer afraid to die, but on that day queried his younger brother, David who was with him. He told his younger brother that he was not making effort to be useful to himself, and asked, 'If I die today, what will your future look like'.
Mr. Hillary Chima Mmeje, former secretary of the Church said the few last days of late Fr. Teru was something else. He said he was boisterous more than ever and made efforts to reach out to many souls both in preaching and in the practical sense. He collaborated with the statement of Mr. Nkem kanu, also one time Church secretary that the Church in Damaturu never had a priest that that did so much like Teru in terms of physical development of the Church and the school owned by the Church. They described the late priest as a builder and developer.
The Commissioner for Religious Affairs, Alhaji Gulani told newsmen that the news of the death of the state chairman of CAN was a rude shock. 'I am shocked by the news of his death. His death was such a big loss to the state and the entire Christian Community here .Fr. Teru was such a person whom I enjoyed working with. His views on issues were very objective and articulate. We pray for the repose of his soul', he said.
The acting State Chairman of the CAN, Pastor Jibrin Joshua who was the vice chairman before now described late Fr. Teru as gentle, humble, hardworking, committed, and free and open minded.
As state chairman of CAN, Pastor Joshua said the late priest brought innovation and united the Christians so well in respective of denominations. He said he was happy to have worked with him because he learnt so much from the late priest whose contributions to the CAN would remain memorable. He said the late CAN chairman gave all the opportunity to speak their minds and had always respected all opinions. 'A leader has gone', he said.
Active soldier of Christ
Dean of the Potiskum Deanery, Rev. Fr. Peter A. Musa who has just been announced as the new Chancellor of the diocese said the late priest died an active soldier of Christ and expressed the belief that God would grant his soul salvation. 'Fr. Gody was a young dynamic and energetic priest who was ever ready to carry out his duty joyfully', he said. Fr. Musa disclosed that the Bishop of the diocese, Most Rev. Dr. Oliver Doeme Dashe has directed him to oversee the affairs of the parish for now.
In a telephone conversation, Rev. Fr. Tobias Bature, the Assistant Parish Priest of the Damaturu Church who was away for a religious obligation at the Monastery in Benin was at lost of what to say. He simply described his late colleague and partner as an honest shepherd who was committed to his pastoral duties.
Bishop Dashe has approved Tuesday, June 21 for the burial of late Fr. Teru after a night wake- keep ceremony on Monday at the St. Patrick's Cathedral, Maiduguri . His 40 day Mass and prayers would take place at St. Mary's Church in Damaturu, the last place he served as parish priest.
According to Rev. Fr. Moses Ma'aji, Parish Priest of St. Paul's, Potiskum, after completion of his secondary education in St. Peter's Minor Seminary, Yola, late Fr. Teru was admitted to study Philosophy at St. Thomas Aquinas Major Seminary, Makurdi in Benue from 1993 to 1996/1997 before his one year pastoral work in the diocese of Maiduguri after which he left again in 1997 to study Theology at St. Augustine Major Seminary, Jos, Plateau and upon completion was ordained in 2001 as a Catholic priest.
He served as Assistant Parish Priest at St. Andrew's Catholic Church, Mubi, Parish Priest, St. Ann, Murfudi before coming to St. Mary's Damaturu as Parish priest in December 2007. His quest to become a better preacher and teacher made him register for the National Teachers' Institute Post Graduate Diploma in Education which he completed early this year.
Rev. Fr. Ma'aji said late Fr. Teru was very humorous and could douse tension with several jokes. He said he was never lazy and was indeed a performer 'for all his works where he served speak for him'.