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The remains of Oluchi Anekwe, a 300-Level Accounting student of the University of Lagos (UNILAG), who was electrocuted on September 8

Oluchi Anekwe's Burial Amidst Tears
The remains of Oluchi Anekwe, a 300-Level Accounting student of the University of Lagos (UNILAG), who was electrocuted on September 8, have been interred in Oshigo-Aku Village in Igbo-Etiti Local Government Area of Enugu State. EMMANUEL AHANONU reports.

It was a solemn and sombre funeral. The Oshigo-Aku village in Igbo-Etiti Local Government Area of Enugu State felt the pain of its loss. The community shared in the grief of the Anekwes whose daughter, Oluchi, was electrocuted at the University of Lagos (UNILAG) on September 9. The compound of the Anekwes, a prominent family in the community, was besieged by mourners, dressed in black.

Oluchi Anekwe
Oluchi Anekwe

Oluchi, a 300-Level Accounting student of  UNILAG, was electrocuted at the entrance of her hostel. On the day she was buried, the late Oluchi was supposed to write her final Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN) examination.

The mourners betrayed emotion when the hearse bearing her remains arrived.

Mrs Augustina Anekwe, her mother, sobbed as she stared at the brown casket. She writhed in pain. Then, she was led away by sympathisers.

Mr Basil Anekwe, the father, was with some elders in the community when the ambulance arrived in the famly compound.

The body was taken to St. John the Evangelist Catholic Parish in Oshigo for a requiem mass, which was conducted by five ministers led by the parish priest, Reverend Father Denis Chibuzo and Reverend Father Emeka Ngwoke.

Revd Ngwoke, in his homily taken from Hebrews 9:27, said all human beings would die, urging members of the congregation to always prepare to meet God with righteous hearts. He said there was no guarantee that all goals set by human beings would be accomplished, noting that death was a debt everyone must pay.

The priest described the late Oluchi as a serious-minded and bright student, who would be any lecturer’s favourite. He said Oluchi was not dead but had gone with the righteous.

Ngwoke said: “We cannot cry for the righteous person; the Bible told us that we will always be comforted, because Jesus passed through that same road. It does not matter how a human being dies; what matters is he has lived.”

Turning to the bereaved mother, Ngwoke said: “You should not cry that God has taken Oluchi away. Rather, you should be grateful that God gave you good children. So, let Oluchi’s death bring you closer to other children and your husband.”

Reading the family’s appreciation, Chinedu, the late Oluchi’s brother, thanked the people for standing by the family.

Before the end of the mass, Mrs Anekwe left quietly, followed by her husband and some family members.

It was another moment of desolation when the body was returned to the family house for interment. The ceremony was attended by the Igwe of Oshigo-Aku village.

While performing the dust-to-dust rite, Buchi, the late Oluchi’s brother, said: “Let this be a wake-up call for the people in position of authority to do things right to end this kind of death; everybody must live up to his responsibility.”

Nkem, her sister, said: “Oluchi, let your death be the end of untimely death in the family. We don’t want to mourn again.”

After the funeral, family members shared their feelings.

Buchi, a Master’s student of Civil Engineering at UNILAG, said the death of his sister has left a vacuum in the family. “Oluchi’s dream to become a chartered accountant has just ended here,” he said with misty eyes.

He bemoaned the circumstances that led to her death, saying the late Oluchi could still be alive but for the nonchalance of the medical personnel at the hospital where she was rushed to after the electrocution.

He added: “If the power company that owns the cable and the school have done their job, the said event wouldn’t have happened. If the doctors have done their job, Oluchi could still be alive. Like my dad always say, this is not a time for blame or argument, but a time for people to speak up against failure of our institutions. We must prevent a further occurrence of this kind of death.”

The late Oluchi’s uncle, Mr Charles Anekwe, said she planned to go for Post-graduate study at Harvard University after her graduation from UNILAG, noting: “That is a shattered dream.”

The president of Oshigo-Aku Town Union, Tony Ezeoyili, described Oluchi’s death as a loss to the community. He said: “The death is still shocking to us, because she was one of our shinning stars in this village.”

He urged the Federal Government to investigate the circumstances surrounding her death, saying such move would pacify the community.

Asked to describe her late daughter, Mrs Anekwe could not utter a word. She looked into space as tears welled up in her eyes. “Oluchi! Oluchi!! Oluchi!!!” was all she could say as sympathisers swarmed around her.

A 300-Level Accounting student and Oluchi’s friend, who simply gave her name as Rosaline, said the school and the Eko Electric Distribution Company should be held responsible for the tragedy. “There is no amount of compensation they can pay to the family that will bring back Oluchi, but government can appease the family by bringing everyone who contributed to Oluchi’s death to book,” she said.

The late Oluchi was born in Lagos on December 4, 1993. She was the fifth in a family of six children.
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