UNIJOS 7: A communion shattered by bomb

For Michael Ogbole, Doris Udegbunam, Wingak Monday, Millicent Yusuf, Vivian Obilo, Lydia Komolafe and Francisca Nwafor, who died in the bomb blast at the Terminus Market, Jos, Plateau State, on May 20, 2014, stories of their journey of life will for long draw emotions.

Theirs was a life bound by fate and faith. First, they were all final year medical laboratory science students of the University of Jos. Second, they were all Christians. Third, their stories are that of shattered dreams and unfulfilled ambition.

University of Jos students, who died during the May 20 bomb blast

For the seven, Tuesday, May 20 might have started like any other. They had all left their homes and hostels, as they had done for five years. They had played, read and studied together.

And as usual after such lectures, their plan was to go home together. Of course, for many other students of the institution, the seven were almost inseparable.

But fate changed all that at the Jos market. In the twinkling of an eye, the seven friends who were headed for their place of residence, had their communion shattered following the bomb ignited by the Boko Haram members.

Their stories, as told by their friends and acquaintances, who gathered last Thursday in a procession to pay tribute to them, was that of sorrow and sadness.

Almost in tears, the Vice-President, National Fellowship of the Medical Laboratory Science Students, Gloria Dachollom, who spoke on behalf of students of the department, described the deceased as the “best of the best” in their class.

She added, “They were great friends, who had so many things in common. They had great visions and potential. Those of us they left behind know that their death is a great loss to the department.”

Telling the story of one of the deceased, Michael Ogbole, who was born on October 21, 1991 in Abachi, Otukpo Local Government Area of Benue State, Dachollom said his journey of life was very phenomenal.

According to Dachollom, the amazing Mike – as she called him – was the former president of the Jos chapter of the students’ fellowship and the National Mission Secretary until his death.

Dachollom, who spoke as if Ogbole had not died, said he was truly a genius.

She said amid emotions, “He was such a young man and yet he acted like an adult. He called us children and we often got annoyed with him over this. But he was such a person you could not afford to avoid.

“He was a kind of person that had so much leadership qualities as he sat at the helm of many fellowships he was involved in. But it did not affect his studies. Being one of the best in his class, he mingled with so many students by virtue of his position. He was very calm and diplomatic and I can’t see any reason why he should die so young.”

For Monday Wungak, she said, “He was so much of a sacrificial person and dedicated to whatever work given to him in the fellowship. He was calm, jovial and a friend to so many people.”

Dachollom, who said that Francisca Nwafor was her schoolmate at the Federal Government College, Langtang, described her as an exceptionally brilliant student.

According to her, in her 300 level, she had the best result in her set.

Another student, Freeborn Eguabor, a 24-year-old 400 level student of the department, said the deceased were inseparable.

“I had never seen that kind of friendship until I met them. They entered 100 level at the same time and immediately discovered that they all had so many things in common. In fact, when I was the Director of Socials of the Association of Medical Laboratory Students, they won the best clique award for their unique type of friendship.

Another student of the university, Miss Odey Daisy, in a blog post entitled ‘Because we believe – A photo tribute to our seven fallen dynamites’, wrote, “God looked around His garden and saw an empty space. He looked upon the earth and saw your tired face. He put His arms around you and lifted you to rest. God’s garden must be beautiful, always takes the best.’

For Francisa Nwafor, Daisy wrote, “I don’t think of you as gone. Your journey just began. I think of you as resting from the pain and the tears, in a place of warmth and comfort where there are no days and years.”

She wrote of Lydia Komolafe, “I know how you must be wishing that all our pain and sorrows could really pass away. We are believers. We do not die, so we that live will not say ‘Goodbye’, because to live with Christ and call it death is to call his word a lie.”

To Millicent Yusuf, she wrote, “You will live forever in the hearts of those you loved; for nothing loved is ever lost and you were loved very much.”

Even as their colleagues mourn them, the baby boys of Doris and Millicent, will surely miss their mothers.

The Senior Special Adviser to President Goodluck Jonathan on Youths and Students Matter, Jude Imagwe, who spoke during the procession, also commiserated with the friends and well wishers of the deceased.

Imagwe, speaking on behalf of the President, described as unfortunate the incident which claimed the lives of the students. He, however, appealed to the students of the university to remain calm, united and to continue to pray that the efforts of the President to end terrorism in the country would come to a fruitful end.

He also urged Nigerians to support the military to end insurgency in the land, noting that the perpetrators of violence were the “enemies of Nigeria”.


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