A bride, Mercy Igube, lost her mother and two sisters to an auto crash while they were travelling from Kaduna State to attend her wedding in Nasarawa State on December 15, 2021. The groom, Michael, speaks to VICTORIA ADENEKAN about the tragic incident

Tell us about yourself and your wife.

I’m a staff of Pavilion Technology Limited working at Honeywell Flour Mills Plc, Sagamu factory. I live in the Sagamu Local Government Area of Ogun State. I am from Alawagana village, Lafia East, Nasarawa State. My wife’s name is Mercy Igube. She’s from Duduguru village in the Obi Local Government Area of Nasarawa State.

How did you meet your wife?

I met my wife on Facebook. Her name popped up as a suggested friend; so, I sent her a friend request and she accepted the request immediately. We exchanged numbers and began the process of courtship immediately on January 3, 2021. It was in the process of communication that we found out that we were living far away from each other.

We scheduled to see each other by April ending, which we did. I was introduced to her parents and after answering a series of questions from her parents, we defined the relationship straightaway. It was easy because we are from the same tribe and state and we even have common family names.

It was easy to discover our backgrounds so we went ahead and fixed a date for introduction. Our nature of introduction is different from other tribes’. We are from Migili/Koro, Nasarrawa State. We do our introduction on the day the groom will pay the dowry and perform all the marital rites and that was how we did the introduction according to our culture.

The family agreed that my wife and I should get married on December 18, 2021. We promised to make that day a fun-filled day but our plans were shattered by the tragic loss of our dear mother and two sisters.

How did they die?

The incident happened on December 15, 2021. There were seven members of my wife’s family in a Space Wagon – my wife’s mother, Bebiana Igube, her brother, Maurice Igube; her sisters, Rosaline Igube, Maryanne Igube and Jessica Adams, with her two children. They were travelling down from Kaduna state for the wedding in Nasarawa State.

I called my mother-in-law and her family around 9.30am that day. She said their vehicle was stopped by security men in Kaduna State immediately after leaving Zaria. She said their driver had been arrested because the vehicle didn’t have all the necessary documents. Later, the issue was resolved and they continued their journey to Nasarawa. About 28 kilometres from Zaria, the front tyre of the vehicle got burst while the vehicle was on top speed. It appeared that in a bid to control the vehicle, the driver, out of panic, suddenly stepped on the brakes and the car somersaulted many times.

Rosaline was trying to open the door but she could not open it. In the process, the window glass bashed her head, while Jessica and their mother, Bebiana, died in the hospital due to internal injuries.

Jessica’s children and Maryanne made it alive with no scratch but Maurice fractured his leg. Rosaline was a 200 Level student of Forestry and Wildlife Management at the Federal University of Katsina. Jessica Adams, my wife’s elder sister, was seven months pregnant with a set of twins. The news got to my wife and her family on Wednesday night. I didn’t hear about it until I called her on Thursday morning. I heard cries in the background. Another person picked the call to tell me about the tragedy that had happened.

You went ahead with the wedding after the bad incident. What gave you and your wife the courage?

Before her death, my mother-in-law told the doctors that they should tell her daughter, Mercy, that in case she did not survive we should go ahead with the wedding to shame the devil. By the grace of God and with the word of encouragement from her mom, she pulled herself up and went ahead with the wedding.

Have they been buried?

The mother and Rosaline were buried together in their village, while Jessica was buried in her husband’s village in Plateau State.

How is your wife and the family dealing with the tragedy?

On Thursday, when I saw my wife, she was traumatised; she could not cry. She was so shocked, nothing like that had ever happened to her in her entire life. We counselled her, we read the Bible to her, consoled her, and with my little experience, I was able to help her. Before the wedding, she got a little bit better, and now she’s doing well.

Everyone is sad about what happened and they are trying to be strong so they can be there for my wife, Mercy, and her siblings, so they don’t go into depression. My wife’s siblings and Jessica’s children are with their grandma’s elder sister in Zaria.

What was the first night of your marriage like?

I didn’t even see my wife after the wedding. After the wedding, she went back to her village. We saw each other the following day. The major concern was to console her in order to help her get better.

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