All those close to late Flt. Lt. Taiwo Olufemi Asaniyi and Major Nura Hamza, among others are still living in anguish and recalling the importance of the deceased to them
The ill-fated crash occurred on Friday, May 21 and claimed the lives of the Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lieutenant General Ibrahim Attahiru and 11 other military officers.
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Weeks after the incident, families of some of the victims are still weeping uncontrollably. For instance, at Iyanuoluwa Estate, New Airport, Alakia, Ibadan, when our correspondent visited, the family of Flt. Lt. Asaniyi were still in shock.
Asaniyi is survived by a 62-year-old father who is a retired headteacher and a 59-year-old mother and other siblings that the parents are still striving to bring up.
His five siblings, including his twin sister, Kehinde, are jobless.
His father, Mr Rufus Asaniyi, told Daily Trust Saturday that the late military officer was the only glory and breadwinner of the family. He said that he suffered so much to take care of his children.
He said: “I am a retired primary school headteacher. I left service in 2019. To ensure that my children are educated, I combined teaching with farming for 32 years. I thank God that he excelled among them and went to the Nigeria Defence Academy (NDA). He was the only glory of our family. My big Ife is also retiring next year. His twin sister has not gotten a job. His intention was to care for his younger siblings when he settled down finally. He was the only one we were all looking up to. He promised to end all our struggle when he finally ‘arrived.’
“As the only hope of the family, we believed strongly that he would assist his younger siblings to succeed in life,” Pa Asaniyi said, sobbing.
He added: “Even if government gives me billions of naira, it can’t compensate for the death of my son. I can only be fine if my children get jobs. There is no amount of money that government will give me that will be enough to commensurate with the loss I have suffered. With my late breadwinner, I thought that my suffering was over, but with his death, I am doomed.”
His mother, Mrs Rachael Asaniyi , who was also weeping profusely said that the family’s hope had been shattered.
“I am the mother of Taiwo Olufemi Asaniyi. His twin sister has finished schooling for long without doing anything. She refused to get married because she felt it wouldn’t be reasonable to get married without a job and suffer in her husband’s house.
“I want government to assist the twin sister of my late son and also his younger brothers whom he is caring for. If they could get good jobs, the pressure on me and my their father would be minimized because he was the one caring for all of us. I am retiring in February 14 next year. After then, we don’t have any hope again. He was our only hope, but the hope has been dashed. He promised us many things, but couldn’t fulfil any of his promises. Whenever my son was coming home, he used to send me money to buy beef and gari for him. But Taiwo suddenly left me without telling me.”
The eldest sister, Mrs Oluwatoyin Olaoye, said that all the promises by the late Asaniyi to the family members had gone with him.
“I am the first born of the family. Femi was one of the first set of twins of our family. He was the breadwinner of our family. I was at home when one of my younger sisters called me and said: “My sister, there is no God.” I asked her why? She said Taiwo is dead! I became devastated. Taiwo called me on Thursday and asked me to go to our parents because his in-laws had sent the list for settlement of the bride price of his fiancee.
“He wanted to send the money for the bride price by the end of the month because he was supposed to travel for a training in UK. I don’t think there is anything the federal government can do to fill the vacuum left in our hearts by the death of my younger brother. I am the first born and I have three other siblings in higher institution aside Kehinde who is not working. I work as a teacher at a command school. Can the salary be enough for me to feed them? Is the salary enough to care for my parents and siblings?
“My late brother promised to ensure that one of our younger sisters served in Abuja. He also promised to sponsor one for a masters programme abroad and assist me, too, to get another job because my salary is not enough to eat kilichi. But all the promises are gone now.”
His immediate younger brother, Taiwo described the late Asaniyi as a very simple and quiet man.
“I had heard the news of his death in the mass media even before I heard from a family source. He was a good, humble and cool man. He respected everybody.”
Major Nura Hamza was also one of the victims of the ill-fated crash that occurred on Friday, May 21.
Daily Trust Saturday gathered that since his demise, the Kawo community in Kaduna State where the officer resided before his death has been thrown into mourning, while many others have yet to recover from the shock of his sudden exit.
His elder sister, Zainab Hamza, who looked bemused during a chat with Daily Trust Saturday, said that she had never heard anyone speak evil of her late brother.
“My brother was a God-fearing man. He was compassionate and loved helping people. I have never heard anyone speak badly of him. All I hear is his good work and how he reached out to poor families,” Zainab said.
“Even in our family, he was the bridge builder, the one who always had a listening ear and gave helping hand. We will surely miss him even though we know Allah loves him more.”
She, however, appealed to the Federal Government and the military authorities to investigate the cause of the clash so that more families do not experience the anguish that the late Hamza’s family is experiencing now.
Born on November 20, 1979, in Kano State, Major Nura hailed from Gusau Local Government Area of Zamfara State. He attended Bayero University, Kano, from 1999 to 2003, where he obtained a Bachelor of Science (BSc) degree in Economics.
Before he joined the Army in 2006, he was a teacher and civil servant with the Kaduna State Ministry of Local Government.
He is survived by two wives, Zainab and Maryam, eight children and siblings.
Major Lawal Aliyu Hayat, an indigene of Zaria Local Government Area of Kaduna State was also a victim of the crash.
His immediate younger brother, Hassan Hayat, told Daily Trust Saturday that he was being expected at home on the fateful day that he died.
“We were expecting him at home on that very day. In fact, he called our mother, Hajiya Bilkisu Dangaji, to tell her that he would break his fast at home, unknown to us that we would not see him alive again,” Hassan said.
He added: “The family is still in shock and we are trying to get over the shock because of the sudden way he died. His wife is also here. They had been married for seven years. My late brother was the third of five children and I pray Allah grant him Jannatul Firdausi.”
Born on April 11, 1979, Major Lawal attained his rank (major) on September 27, 2017. He bagged a Bachelor of Science (BSc) degree in Economics and Accounting. He held several command positions.