The Speaker of Abia State House of Assembly, Rt Hon Engr Chinedum Enyinnaya Orji today paid condolence visits to the families of Mr & Mrs Chibuzor Ikwunze a native of Umuagu Umuohu Ohuhu in Umuahia North Local Government Area, and the family of Mr & Mrs Sunday Ogba of Apanu Item in Bende LGA, who both lost seven family members on the same night after a meal of barbecued meat popularly known as Suya.
Recall that Mr & Mrs Chibuzor Ikwunze lost four children while the family of Mr & Mrs Sunday Ogba lost their father and two children to the unfortunate incident.
The Speaker who was very emotional during the visit told the Ikwunzes that the incident was a very sad and unfortunate one but which is a burden no one deserves to bear.
He said he heard about the tragic incident while away on the annual recess of the Abia State House of Assembly but vowed to come on the visit to commiserate with the family once he resumed.
With teary eyes, the Speaker told the bereaved couple to hold steadfastly to God who alone can adequately console them at this most difficult times.
“Don’t be too hard on yourselves by asking too many questions of what might have been or not because God knows the best; don’t lose hope. I know it is not going to be easy but resolve to rebuild your family again, don’t dwell too much in thoughts but let God be your Rock”, the Speaker admonished.
Rt Hon Chinedum Enyinnaya Orji promised to relocate the couple to a better apartment, set up a new workshop for the man who is a refrigerator technician, and get a new shop in town for the woman who is a hair dresser. All these would be paid for for four years in advance.
This is in addition to the gift of a car the Speaker promised Mr Ikwunze to assist him in making extra income.
“I am directed by my conscience to help you make a meaning out of life from another dimension. Just try and be happy again even though it’s not going to be easy, but I’m sure God will guide, protect, console and strengthen you and give you the fortitude to bear this painful loss”, the Speaker concluded.
While addressing residents of the area who thronged in their numbers to welcome the Abia Number One Lawmaker, the Speaker promised to drill a borehole for them to ease their water challenges. He also assured them that a Health Center would be constructed at Saint Michael’s Primary School, Ugwunachara, to serve the community.
From there, the Speaker headed to the residence of Mr & Mrs Sunday Ogba, the second family that partook in the ill-fated barbecue meal. The Ogbas lost the head of their home and two children.
While there, the Speaker said the incident might start causing tongues to wag but that they should not mind whatever people say but put their trust in God who knows everything and is a righteous judge of mankind.
He promised to assist the family to reestablish their business which had closed down due to the sale of the shop the wife was trading from saying the reestablished business will also help the family to train their living two children, one in the university and the other awaiting admission into the university. He therefore urged the mother of the home to look for a choice shop which he would pay for.
The Speaker said merely commiserating with the family was not enough without some form of empowerment, which was one of the main reasons he came on the visit.
He advised the children to live responsibly, focus on their studies and assist their mother in life.
He made a commitment to immediately pay off the school fees for the remaining three years of the first son who is in his second year at the Abia State University (ABSU), Uturu.
Responding on behalf of the family, Master Chinedu, in an emotion-laden voice expressed gratitude to the Speaker for the visit and his kind gestures to the family, promising that they will heed all his advice.