A sad Story of Nursing mother blown to death: Forty-three-year-old Audu Goyar Chime, native of Plateau State now wears grief like a garment following the gruesome death of his wife, Jummai, in a Boko Haram suicide bomb attack on December 11, in Jos, the Plateau State capital.
Audu Goyar Chime, Jummai’s husband, is still dazed by the horror and shock of what happened to his wife. Having been married for 22 years, he sees her death as a big blow to the family.
He recalled that it was after they had gone round the hospital, and could not locate her that they were asked to go to the mortuary to check if her remains could be there.
It was at the Plateau Hospital morgue they found her corpse lying on the floor with others, yet to be claimed.
Recalling how he felt upon seeing the corpse of his wife in the mortuary, Audu said:
“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.”
He speaks further: “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.”
Until her death, Jummai, 36, an Irigwe woman, resided in the Jenta Adamu area of Jos with her family.
On the fateful day, she woke up early in the morning, had the usual morning devotion with her husband and children before leaving for Farin Gada, a popular vegetable market, to buy cucumber, watermelon and pawpaw. Done with making her purchases, Jummai returned home. After washing the whole stock of fruits, she loaded her tray and set out to hawk, moving from street to street, from Joseph Gomwalk Road to West of Mines, all around Tafawa Balewa Street and eventually trekked up to Terminus roundabout, a daily journey made for years.
Customers rewarded her industry and dedication with good patronage, such that she often had to go back home to re-fill her tray of fruits for more sales. But on that fateful Thursday, a female Boko Haram suicide bomber was lurking in the corner, her weapon of mass destruction primed and ready to explode. When she detonated the bomb around 6.30pm, Jummai and many other people within the destructive range of the bomb were killed.
Meanwhile, members of her family were unaware that she had died in the explosion. We learnt from her daughter, Faith, Jummai was not known to return late from the market.
“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.
She continues: “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 breast feeding.
He cried throughout the night. In the morning, the search was taken to the various hospitals. It was at one of the hospitalsthat we found her dead.
Faith further revealed that her mother was the pillar on which they all rested, saying that the future of her siblings and herself now looks bleak.
“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.