The silence in the home of the late Levi Ajuonuma, General Manager, Corporate Affairs, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) eerie.
“We still don’t accept that he is dead,” said a family member who refused to give his name.
At the entrance of his Omodara Estate home in Opebi, guests were thoroughly screened before they were allowed in.
The late Ajuonuma is one of the victims of the ill-fated DANA Airline flight that crashed into some residential buildings in Iju-Ishaga, Agege, Lagos.
Ms. Sarah Ajuomona, a PR official with Mobil and the second daughter of the deceased, told The Nation: “Sorry, we shall issue a press statement tomorrow (today). At the moment, this is like a dream and until we are able to confirm certain things, we are not talking to anyone.”
She added: “I am attending to you because of the civil way you approached me. If not, I would have asked that you are made to leave the same way we sent out a TV reporter who just came in and started setting up her camera. This is a very sensitive moment for us and I beg you all, media people, to please appreciate that. So, you may leave now.”
Also asked for her mother, Sarah said: “She’s upstairs sleeping. It has been very devastating and shocking for her. So, we ask her to stay upstairs for her to be stabilised until we know the actual situation of things. She can’t speak to anyone yet. But like I said, we shall issue a press statement tomorrow.”
A man, who introduced himself simply as Tony and a second cousin of the late Ajuonuma, said: “We plead with you to leave. And try not to misquote any family member please because we are not talking yet. I shall shortly be leaving for the hospital with some other family members to see if we can identify his body at the hospital where they are being taken to. But that’s about it for now. We are not admitting journalists into the house for now.”
On the flower-laden terrace of the house sat a few people looking forlorn and talking in hushed tones. The patio, decked with various sizes of flower pots and palm trees, has two sets of canopies. Under the fixed awning shelter to the left of the entrance sat a few guests on cane seats. And the one in the middle of the yard, has white set of plastic chairs.
In front of the chairs, a black table covered with red silky clothe, had the picture of the late Ajuomona placed on it with a condolence register in which about forty-eight people had signed in, at the time The Nation reporter scanned through the pages.
Also inside the dark-lit living room sat a handful of women, but no reporter was allowed beyond the porch. Some members of his church, Mountain of Fire and Miracles Ministries (MFM) came in a white Toyota Hiace bus with number plate DA 178 MUS. None of them was willing to speak with reporters.
By 2.12pm, Tony and about three men drove off in a maroon-coloured vehicle to visit the hospital to see if they could identify the remains of the late Ajuonuma.
*Culled from The Nation online.*