By Miriam Ndikanwu
All was well for the Okwuchukwu family until Sunday, June 3 when the ill-fated Dana Air plane crashed into their home in Iju-Ishaga, killing the couple and their youngest daughter, Ngozi.
On that fateful day, the entire family of six was ‘cooling off’ after returning from church. Their father, Mr. Jeremiah Okwuchukwu, asked his daughter, Esther, to check on the plumber. Since Esther took longer time than necessary on the errand, Okwuchukwu asked the eldest child, Joel to find out what may have been wrong. But Joel did not leave the house alone; his younger brother, Chisom, accompanied him.
Unknown to them, it was fate that was shielding them from being victims of that Black Sunday, which eventually claimed the lives of their parents, Ngozi and the 153 people on board the flight. They were some of the casualties on ground.
Unlike his other siblings, Ngozi was not allowed to go out of the house because her mother was plaiting her hair in preparation for school that week; but this did not come to be as the three died when the plane crashed into their home.
Since the incident, life has not been the same for the three children, Joel, 11, Chisom, 9, and Esther, 7. The children, who were left at the mercy of a Good Samaritan when the incident occurred, were rescued at the crash site by Governor Babatunde Fashola (SAN) when he visited the scene and learnt of their story.
Fashola has since then taken custody of the children, while awaiting contacts from their family members.
A director in charge of Child Development, Ministry of Women Affairs and Poverty Development (WAPA), Mrs. Alaba Fadairo, told our reporter yesterday that all is well with the three children.
Though Fadairo did not disclose the location where they are being looked after, our reporter gathered that the children are living with the governor at the State House, Marina.
Fadairo said: “The children are in the custody of government. Some family members have made contact with us, but government is still keeping the children because we are working on a plan that will be in their interest.
“We understand how traumatic the incident has been for them and as such decided to keep them within the family circle to help them outlive the situation.
“Government also has plans for the education of the children to ensure that they can get back to school and continue their schooling, which has been temporarily affected by the air crash into their residence.”
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