When Deaconess Ngozi Ike, a 39 year-old mother of five and a trader, woke at about 6a.m on August 10 to supervise her house chores and prepare food for her household, she did not know that death was looming. After taking care of her children and husband, Elder Frederick Ike, she set out on a journey of no return. Deaconess Ike, who hailed from Obiaruku, in Kwale, Delta State, left her Byazhin Across, Kubwa, Abuja home at about 8.30 a.m. for her shop in the village market where she was selling Nigerian prints and Hollandis.
Ngozi usually took motor bike a.k.a. Okada or her husband would drop her off if he was still at home, but, that morning, she trekked down the street while looking for Okada. Then she got a lift from a family friend who dropped her half way to her shop. Ngozi, whose first born is about 18 years and the last born, 4, according to an eye witness, arrived the shop; then went out.She was said to be returning on Okada around 12 noon when, she, like many others at the scene, sighted an articulated vehicle, which, apparently, having lost control, the driver and his conductor started shouting, ‘brake failure, brake failure’, for everyone to clear from the road. At that point, panic gripped Mrs Ike who was said to have jumped from the Okada and, without stopping, the Okada rider zoomed off unhurt, but Ngozi lost her balance while trying to run, fell on the verge of the road where the trailer met her.
The trailer, with number plate XV 245 EPE, crushed her and went further to ram into other vehicles parked around. Eye witnesses picked her phone, searched it to know who she spoke to last and that person informed Mrs Ngozi’s husband before he and other family members rushed to the scene of accident. An eyewitness, who spoke to Sunday Vanguard, said the trailer was sighted from Arab Road Junction heading towards Byazhin Road, Kubwa.
The eyewitness confirmed that the driver of the trailer and his assistant indeed kept shouting, ‘brake failure; brake failure,’ to warn people to clear off the road but that could not save the housewife from being crushed. Another eye witness, who said he was a member of the same church with Ngozi, said the deceased’s junior sister, identified as Lilian, had premonition of an imminent death in the family though the dream did not zero-in on the victim.
Six of the cars smashed by the articulated vehicle were damaged beyond repairs while two others were badly dented. All the vehicles were parked on the verge of the road while some of the owners have their workshops just by the scene of the accident. One of the vehicle owners, Mr Ambrose Bello, kept thanking God for saving his life. Bello said he parked his vehicle in front of his workshop when he heard noise outside and rushed out to see what was happening only to see his car crushed by the trailer.
Sunday Vanguard visited the home of the Ike family which was under lock and key as the entire family was said to have had travelled to Obiaruku, Delta State for the deceased’s burial. Mr Emmanuel Ekpah, a neighbor, said he was at the Ike family house that fateful Saturday to invite Mr lke for the community meeting to deliberate on issues concerning the security and other matters. Ekpah said that when he knocked at the door at about 7a.m., he heard Mrs Ike calling her husband who was having his bath to hurry up for the meeting before he left the house to invite others.
He said the husband later joined the meeting held close to the Ikefamily house when he sighted Mrs Ike trekking down possibly to catch an Okada and that was the last he saw of her before the news of her death broke. Another neighbour, ex-Sgt Bello Samuel, said the Ike family moved to that neighbourhood less than six months ago. Samuel said they are easy going family, very peaceful that they maintain cordial relationship with neighbours.
He said it was his house that the Ikes kept their building materials when they were erecting their own building before they finished it and moved in. Ike family friends of 13 years, Elder and Mrs Alizor Chuks, said Mrs Ike visited them on August 7while they also saw her on August 9, when she was returning from Kubwa village market.
That was the last they saw of her before Mr Ike called them to break the sad news of her death on that Saturday. Mrs Alizor, who did not go to Church the day after the tragedy, Sunday, was in black dress when Sunday Vanguard visited, apparently mourning her friend with red eyes from weeping. She said Ngozi Ike was a peace loving and jovial friend since she they became friends in 2000and that both families worship in Christ Chosen Church of God as senior members.