But for her seat that was allegedly allocated to another passenger, earlier in the day, Miss Hope Okeke would not have been counted among the dead in the plane crash on Sunday.
The nurse was said to have booked a seat aboard Dana Airlines’ flight 9J998 at 7.45am on the fateful day but found out that another passenger had been allocated her seat when she got to the Abuja International Airport at 7.30am
Her colleague at the SOS Children’s Villages Nigeria, where she was a nurse, Mr. Mark Nwakudu, told our correspondent that Okeke left the SOS village in Abuja for another in Owu-Ijebu, Ogun State, en route Lagos, to relieve a colleague who had travelled to Benin Republic on an official assignment.
Narrating his last moments with Okeke, Nwakudu said, “I was in Edo State when she was leaving Abuja but I was monitoring her movement on the telephone. She was at the airport with her sister and another colleague.
“I asked her why she didn’t travel with a bus but because of her passion for the children, she said she needed to be at the Owu-Ijebu SOS village on time as our colleague there had travelled to Benin Republic.
“Her flight was to take off at 7.45am but she didn’t get to the airport until about 7.30, when she was told her seat had been allocated to another passenger. Our colleague, who was with her, queried the unfair treatment.”
A colleague of Miss Hope Okeke, Mr. Mark Nwakudu, said the decision of the Lagos State Government to withhold the release of the remains of the crash victims would leave the wounds of the family members open.
Nwakudu however said there was little to be done, since the order came from the government and was backed by an existing coroner law.
He said, “We planned to give Okeke the befitting burial she deserved but all activities have to be suspended until the autopsy is carried out and the death certificate is issued, which will be useful in our subsequent actions.
“The longer the corpses remained unburied, the longer the loss remained an open wound for those who lost their loved ones.”
Nursingworld Nigeria and the entire Nigerian Nursing community mourns the loss of one of our finest. RIP Nurse Okeke!
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