The grief-stricken family of the late National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) member, Nneka Odili, who was crushed by a train have continued to express their deep sadness and pain on social media, as friends offer their condolences.
Pope Odili Chukwuemeka and Odili-Obi Albert, both elder brothers of the late Nneka expressed their heartbreak in tear-jerking Facebook messages they posted after the burial of their sister.
The two brothers are particularly agonized and incensed at reports that went viral online on the circumstances that led to their sister being killed by a train at the Ikeja-Along railway track a fortnight ago.
Several social media platform and blogs had in their reportage of the tragic incident, painted different scenarios surrounding how the incident happened. Many alluded that she committed suicide by walking along the rail track until the moving train hit her. Others alleged that she was carried away by the music she was listening to from her phone while many bloggers disclosed that Nneka was fiddling with her phone and was so engrossed in her chatting that she did not notice or hear the blaring horn of the approaching train.
“My kid sister died and bloggers started posting rubbish that broke our hearts even more. But I’ll say may Almighty God who knows best forgive them all”, cried Albert in one of his emotional Facebook posts three days after the late Nneka was buried on the 10th of March.
In another post, he said: “I won’t shed any more tears, cause I believe my Nne is ok wherever she is. Nne wasn’t even carrying a phone that plays music. She’d been robbed severally and had decided not to go out with big phones again. She was holding a torch phone.
“And the Nne we knew very well wasn’t a music type of person. Tell me about sports related stories, then I’ll agree, music wasn’t her thing at all. Please, before you believe anything you read, ask questions. Bloggers can post whatever they feel is comfortable for them, so be wise. Sites like Opera mini, and lots of them out there without names are not places to get credible answers. I pray that we don’t lose any loved one till they live old and die at the right time… Amen. God bless us all.”
Also in a bid to set the record straight, Pope, while debunking stories making rounds that Nneka had an earpiece in her ear when she was crushed, raised pertinent questions on the circumstances surrounding her death. He further posted pictures that compared the mangled bodies of persons crushed by a train and the photos of his sister’s injuries at the scene of the tragedy. According to Pope, Nneka fell near the train because she was struggling with a thief that grabbed her bag inside the train contrary to reports that she was crushed because she did not see the oncoming train.
“I have been mute because I have to bury her first, but it’s quite unfortunate that some persons in social media, online news and newspapers have been going round and flying false news about her death. The false news they have been spreading about her is that she was listening to music with her earpiece and so did not hear the sound of the train and that she was pinging with her phone and then she walked onto the rail track and got hit by the train.
“I have been waiting for the NYSC officials to comment on this whole event which they have done recently. So now, I want to let the entire public know that the three reports about my late sister are all LIES, complete lies and we have the facts and evidence to prove it.
“Firstly, with the way Nigeria railways is designed, when a train moves, it vibrates the ground, even without the noise from the train the ground vibrates so heavily that one will know something heavy is coming.
“Secondly, the sound from the horn of the train is so loud that one can hear it from a far distance, it becomes louder and louder as the train gets closer, so much that you can hear it even with the sound of music at a close range.
“Thirdly, Nneka was not wearing an earpiece, neither was she with her iPhone and she certainly did not walk onto the railway, because if she did, we would have been picking her body parts.”
Pope argued that bodies of persons hit by the train resulted in their bodies squashed, but the late Nneka’s body was intact, and she lived for about eight hours before she finally gave up the ghost after losing too much blood.
In the second part of his post last Thursday, Pope further alleged that his late sister was dragged onto the rail track during a struggle for her bag with a thief.
Pope’s Facebook post is reproduced here: “This is the continuation after the first part which was all about comparison and now it’s time to tell you all that really happened on the day my sister Nneka Odili died.
“On March 8, 2018, in the morning hours, she took about 36 pictures of herself with her iPhone and left the iPhone at home before heading to the train station to board a train heading to the NYSC secretariat.
“While she was at the entrance door of the train, a thief grabbed her handbag (by then the train had started moving), she held on to her bag and started dragging her bag with the thief. In the process, one strap of the handbag was cut-off, resulting in her falling by the train. And the train hooked one side of the bag together with her hand and pulled her along the railway line until it cut-off her fingers and released her.
“The train pulled her on the railway line so badly that it damaged her legs.
“After the incident, news about her walking into the railway track using earpiece and pinging on her phone started spreading. We called the NYSC officials to find out if this was true. They told us there was no earpiece or iPhone that was found on her. The only phone found on her was a small phone. You can see the crack on the phone as a result of the accident.
“Her roommate contacted us that she left the iPhone at home before going out. One thing I am very sure about my sister is that she does not go out with her iPhone because bad boys have been stealing her previous phones.
“Based on my analysis, I now ask the following questions begging for answers: They said “she was listening to music with her earpeace”, whereas there was no earpiece found on her. Where is the evidence to prove that she was wearing an earpiece on the day of the accident? They said, “she was pinging with her phone”, how come her iPhone is still intact without any scratch on it, whereas the small phone she was carrying on that day was cracked? They said, “she was hit by a train”, how come her body was not picked in parts, whereas only a railway line could do such severe damage on her legs?
“Someone, anyone with clear evidence and facts should help answer these question because I just don’t understand why a group of individuals would generate lies to gain cheap popularity over someone’s life. I mean, why will my sister commit suicide whereas she was enjoying happy moments in her life. After going through so much in school, she successfully graduated and was engaged in serving her country through the NYSC. Was there any point for suicide? Except someone knows something about her that I don’t know.
“Let me ask these people peddling these lies. How will you feel if you were in the same situation as my younger sister and people began spreading false news about your death? Tell me how you would feel?
“No matter what, I don’t wish death on anyone but this is way, way too painful, especially with the way people are peddling false rumors about her death”, Pope lamented.
Corps members serving in Lagos share the grief of the Odili family as they are yet to get over the tragic loss. When Sunday Sun visited the NYSC Secretariat at Surulere, corps members wore sad, gloomy faces. The NYSC Lagos State Coordinator, Prince Mohammed Momoh had in a statement paid glowing tributes to late Nneka.
Momoh, while debunking the rumours being spread about Nneka’s death, recounted her time with the NYSC: “It is worth mentioning that the corps member was a very active volley ball player, whose prowess and dexterity in the game of volley ball stood her out amongst her teammates during the inter-platoon competitions at the 2017 Batch ‘B’ Stream 1 Orientation Course.
“Nneka’s leadership qualities, warmth and humility also endeared her to those who came across her. While on her hospital bed, stable but with severe pains, Nneka was still able to acknowledge NYSC Ikeja Local Government officials for their prompt response at the accident scene and for immediately conveying her to LASUTH. She thanked the NYSC State Co-ordinator for quickly providing funds for blood transfusion, and other medical needs, the Chairman, Ikeja Local Government Area, Hon. Balogun for sending the local government nurse with some money for her medicare, and the CMD, LASUTH, Prof. Oke and his medical team for giving her the best medical treatment.
“She summed it all up in her words to Mrs. Esan Modupe, NYSC LGI Ikeja 2, shortly before she died, by saying, “Help me thank everybody that saved me and did not allow me to die. Her death left the NYSC Lagos State in deep shock.”
Nneka was buried at Ndoni, Rivers State on Saturday March 10, 2018.