Sunday, December 21, 2014

Man whose wife was killed in Jos bomb blast recounts his ordeal

43 year old Audu Goyar Chime, an indigene of Plateau state and husband of one of the victims of the bomb blast that rocked the city of Jos on Dec 11th, has recounted how Jumai, his wife of 22 years and mother of his six children got killed during the blast and how he has been faced with the challenge of raising their six children alone.

36 year old Jumai, a fruit seller had gone to Farin Gada, a popular vegetable market to buy cucumber, watermelon and pawpaw which she would hawk around the town to make some money to buy foodstuff to feed her family but was bombed to death after a female suicide bomber blew herself up at the Terminus roundabout. She was killed alongside many others.  

Her husband, Audu who spoke with Sunday Sun said his wife left behind a one year old baby who he now gives Viju milk in substitute for the mother's breast milk. He said he was devastated when he got the news of his wife's death

"I was devastated. If she was sick and died, it would have been easier to bear than to find someone who left home hale and hearty dead in a mortuary about 24 hours later. If I say it has been easy for me to bear, I will be lying. When I went out today, it was to collect drugs from the clinic to help my heart. I cannot think of how I will cater for six children alone. I am a mason. I fend for my family from the proceeds I make from working at construction sites. But lately business has been bad. We do not get much to do. It was this woman that was helping out from the little she makes. She usually bought what we ate on her way back home. The children are also not finding it easy to bear. The little one cries throughout the night because he cannot get breast milk. We now give him the food we eat and supplement it with Viju milk.

When he gets up in the night we give him Viju milk again. After whimpering for some time, he sleeps off. I have been hearing about Boko Haram but never thought it will ever come close to me or that I will ever become a victim. We are poor and only going out to look for our own daily bread. If we decide to stay at home, nobody will come to our rescue. So, see what has become of us going to look for our daily bread. My appeal now is that people should assist me with a job. I do not want to remove my children from school. I have three in secondary school and two in primary.

The eldest one needs to write his SSCE exams to be able to further his studies. It is only the last one that is yet to start school. I am now looking onto God to assist me. When their mother was alive, she was assisting me with their feeding and schooling but now the future looks bleak. Even though the traders were blamed for going to that market, but my own wife was not selling there. She was just unfortunate to be there at the time of the incident. She has no stall there. There is no way one could have known that danger was lurking at a corner. Govern­ment should know that any gathering can become a target for these evil people. They attack churches and mosques. Can they also blame people for going there? While my family learns to cope with this sad situation in which we have found our­selves, we leave our fate in God’s hand. Just like my son’s name, we believe God’s will be done." he said.
Faith, one of the daughters of the couple, narrated how they got to find out her mother had died in the blast

"By six in the evening, she was usually back home. What kept her till 6:30pm when the bomb exploded I do not know,” says her 15-year-old daughter, an SS1 student of Christ the King College. When I did not see her up till 7:00pm, I went down the road to look for her. All the other women who went out to sell wares like her were all back home. I went as far as Jenta Makeri to look for her but did not see her. When I came back, the boys in the area also went out to check on her but came back with no news. That night, nobody could sleep. We were awake throughout the night and were hungry hoping she would come back with something for us to cook for dinner. Before my mother died, my youngest brother, who is about one year and two months old was still breastfeeding. He cried throughout the night. In the morning, the search was taken to the various hospi­tals. It was at one of the hospitals that we found her dead. Since the incident we have all been trying to live with the situation but we know it will not be easy for us. Our major fear is not to be withdrawn from school. This is because whenever our father did not have any job to keep him busy, my mother was always catering for our fami­ly. My elder brother, Dania, has completed his secondary education but still wants to retake his SSCE examination, and is presently learning a trade. Blessing, Junior and myself are in secondary schools while George is still in primary; the youngest child, Godswill is still an infant" she said

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