…….Pastor asked her to bring her Visa for prayer
………In Church for spiritual incubation (abe abo)
…..Church collapsed on her
……Was seven year-old when mother died
……Aged father on oxygen
………Church Pastor in hiding
On that Saturday morning she listened to the radio jingle of a Church called Right Hand of God Miracle Ministry which was on air announcing miracles. Having been out of College of Education , Ikere -Ekiti for years without a job, and was planning to travel out with her Visa and still a Spinster and also looking for a responsible husband at her age 31 , she then thought her solution was on sight . That was how Damilola Coker left Owo her home town on Sunday 15th of March and went to Akure , about 35 kilometers searching for the Miracle Church.
When she narrated to the Overseer , Pastor Alfred Shitu Awise of her problems , the pastor asked her to bring her Visa to church for prayer and aside this death has been lurking somewhere in her journey ready to strike her . He convinced Coker to come and spend seven days within the church premises under spiritual incubation ( abe abo) for her to avoid death.
Coker ran back home and took her personal effects on that Monday morning of 16th of March and quickly went back to the church as the Man of God instructed. Four days later , in the evening of Thursday , 19th March tragedy struck as there was a downpour and thunderstorm. All church members ran helter-skelter while Coker too ran out of the church for safety but before she knew what was happening the death she was trying to avoid met her as the wall of the church building collapsed on her . She was pronounced dead at the State Hospital, Akure while her remains were deposited at the State Hospital’s mortuary .That was the end of a lady who struggled to be somebody in life as she had the whole world in her hand.
Her remains were buried at the St.Andrew’s Cathedral Cemetery , Uselu , Owo-Ondo State amidst tears as family and friends attended the burial .
Funeral Service held at the Cemetery yesterday
.”What pained me most is that she struggled and did not marry and had no child as she said she did not want to be a liability on any man before going into marriage”, her sister ,Mrs. Fashola Muyibat lamented as she cried profusely during the interview.
Part of the collapsed Church building
After graduating from Ondo State College of Education some years ago the late Damilola searched for a job but nothing was forthcoming until she decided to go into business as she did not want to be a liability on any man. She struggled by doing petty business to eke a living . Recently she secured a Visa to the United Kingdom to better her life . She was to pay for her air ticket when tragedy struck.
From the dust we came and to dust we shall return
Her younger brother , Dele Coker said ” we were living together in Owo here when she told me she heard a Church’s jingle over the radio that was performing miracle and she decided to go there hoping to be spiritually strong and be closer to God.
Her sister ,Fashola in sober reflection yesterday
Interview with Dele and her sister
She went to the said church on Sunday the 15th of March . She came back and said the Pastor asked her to come back for spiritual incubation for seven days .She told me that the Pastor told her that the Visa she had with her needed to be prayed upon for death was pursuing her everywhere she went and this could affect her where she was going. That was the first time she would go to the church”. Coker continued ” my sister said the Pastor said she should come for spiritual incubation (abe Aabo) for seven days, so she left on Monday the 16th of this month , she packed few of her things and left for the church ,she had just spent four days. . On Thursday ( March 19) she called me in the morning to inform me that she needed airtime on her phone of which I sent to her. Surprisingly in the evening of that day I received a call that she had an accident . I called my sister and we both went to the Church . While there the members were acting funny until I received a call from same number that had been calling me and the caller introduced himself as a Police officer and told us that Sister Damy had died and her remains had been deposited at the State Hospital. The officer then invited us to the Police station. We went to Osi Police station and the police told us that there was rainstorm that destroyed the Church building and fell on Damilola.”
Part of the collapsed Church
THIS CALAMITY TOO MUCH
According to Damilola’s sister , Fashola said ”Damilola lost her mother when she was seven years old .Our mother died in 1997, she was seven years old then.We are from the same mother but different father . As I am talking to you now her father is in his 90s , he is on admission at Obafemi Awolowo University Teaching Hospital , Ife now unable to talk and using oxygen to breath.This calamity is just too much” .She continued ”whenever I asked why she has not married she would say she was praying to get a responsible husband. Now she just passed through this world without a child”.
So Damilola is gone forever?
PASTOR ALFRED SHITU AWISE
says …… I am afraid of the family of the deceased
…….It is natural disaster
When the said General Overseer , Alfred Shitu Awise was contacted on phone , he was sobbing and said ”The incident touched me to the extent that I was downcast .I am now down. It is a terrible thing that we never expected but it is a natural disaster .It hit many houses and poles here.The OSRC even came to cover it”.
The General Overseer of the Church,Awise
On how he heard the news, he said he was not around when the incident happened , ”it was after I had left the Church on that fateful Thursday that it happened.They said the rain was heavy and it affected all the poles and houses. I was told the deceased was rushed to the hospital to save her life .When they broke the news that the doctor confirmed and certified her dead we were down .They also rushed some affected members of other churches there. I am pleading whatever they asked me to do I will do it” .
Awise however added that he has been responsible for the burial expenses , he said ”I was asked to buy the casket and we bought it , we were also asked to pay for the Ambulance and we did that too.We paid for the vault. We paid for the report at the Police station , we paid for the clothes she would wear.We did all we were asked to do .Let us leave everything to God .I am not in good form , it has never happened in our church before . The rainstorm affected over 70 buildings even in Shagari estate which led to many deaths”.
Pastor Awise said he was afraid to turn up to see the family and also at the burial for the fact that the family might be aggressive to him, he said ” I didn’t turn up because they could be aggressive and I don’t know how they will be feeling. When it happened I ran to my brother’s place to stay .This is human being we are talking about .The family could be angry and deal with me .Such thing happened in some other churches”.
WE REJECTED THE CLOTHES
However , the head of the deceased’s family Mr. Adedeji Rotimi said the church had not been fair to them at all , the old man said ” the Church spent little money , infact the coffin they bought was a cheap one and we accepted it like that but we rejected the cheap clothes they brought along to bury her .Why should they send such cheap white clothe for her burial?. It is sad, even though the deceased was struggling , she was not that poor. The Church should have done their best .I am not happy at all. We bought a good lace material , under wears and also stockings to bury her .Who knows the dead could be looking at us, watching . To me the Pastor has not done enough. What stopped him from turning up?. Who will beat him?. We are not saying he killed our daughter but at the same time he is liable for if he claims natural disaster then let us look at the structure of the said Church. The church’s building was not befitting and not strong at all. Go and look at the ruins, too odd , very funny .Look at the woods they used as pillars. What type of country is this ? The Commissioner for environment should step in and stop all these hungry Pastors who called themselves men of God and are killing innocent church members”.
Pastor Awise said he is very sorry for what happened and had never for once had a bad record in his life , he said ”when something happened people would say all kinds of things . I am on my knees begging the family to please forgive me ,It was a natural disaster. I know what it means to lose a soul. I am pleading ”.
He however said the Church sent some members to attend the burial , his words ”We have the Church Committee I want the members to go later I would go to the family , I am not a trouble maker. I know it is painful”.
WE ARE GOING TO SUE THE PASTOR
However , the head of the deceased’s family, Adedeji said the church had not been fair to them at all , the man said ” I can bet you that we are going to sue the Pastor and we are contacting our lawyer . Imagine the Church spent little money , the coffin they bought was a cheap one and we accepted it like that but we rejected the cheap clothes they brought along to bury her ” Why should they send such cheap white clothe?. The Commissioner for environment should step in and stop all these hungry Pastors who called themselves men of God and are killing innocent church members”. He continued ”Look at what happened to a church some years ago where over hundred of people died.
Dust to dust
These Pastors would erect tent and called them Church. Here was Damy who could not hurt a fly.What a calamity.I am going to Court and I am ready to drag the case to a logical conclusion God help me.Let both Federal and State Governments look into these structures. I am pained.”