Pastor Emmanuel Atere, father of Maria Atere, a 400-Level Plant Physiology and Crop Production student of the Federal University of Agriculture in Abeokuta (FUNAAB), Ogun State, who died in an Okada accident after leaving church penultimate Sunday, has recalled the heartbreaking moments.
The grief-stricken father told newsmen that the 22-year-old may have had the premonition that she was going to die during the visit of a delegate from FUNAAB, who paid him and his wife, Felicia, condolence visit at their home, 16, Alfa-Nda Street, Ilasamaja, Lagos.
Narrating how he received the sad news, Pastor Emmanuel said: ‘I had just finished night prayer when i got a telephone call from Victoria, my first daughter, at 9:45pm.
“Victoria said I should start praying for Maria. I asked what happened to her; she told me her sister was in a coma. I became restless immediately. I could not call my wife, because I did not know if she had been told Maria was in a coma. I later got to know she was told that Maria was sick. We started praying immediately. We held a vigil all through the night; I did not sleep.
“At 4am on Monday, a senior Redeemed Christian Church of God pastor called me and told me to start coming to Lagos. I asked if Maria had woken up from coma, he said she was still being attended to.
“He said I should take the next available flight to Lagos… After a few minutes, the pastor sent money for a flight ticket into my account.
“My friend took me to the airport at 5am. I was crying as we approached the airport, because I knew something tragic must have happened. But, I continued praying to God to avert calamity in my family. After I landed in Lagos, my son joined me and we departed for Abeokuta immediately.
“I met other family members with the Catholic Bishop of Abeokuta Diocese and pastor of the church Maria attended. They took me to a mortuary and I was surprised. When I asked what was happening, they said my daughter was in the mortuary. At this point, I broke into tears and lost my memory. I could recall the Bishop led another prayer session at the mortuary to call back Maria’s spirit, but she did not wake up.”