Saturday, 20 February 2016

Mystery: India-based Nigerian dies on eve of elder brother’s burial

Francis Okika Diei was one of Nigeria’s brilliant and determined youth that moved out of the country in the 70s in search of greener pastures.  He chose India. India became his second home for the next three decades, until last Saturday. 

He worked hard.  He became a merchant of textiles, dealing in all things clothing and textiles. Okika visited Nigeria occasionally. As the years rolled by, he would visit home to see his immediate family on special holidays, his annual vacation or when he felt he wanted to be with “my family”. The family comprises his late parents and siblings.


Jebose, our country has been marginalised by our rogue leaders through the years, that’s why most of us ran away. But it’s still our nation and we must always return to invest in it, create opportunities for others with our investments. Nigeria is investors’ haven,” he once said during a facebook chat few years ago. Hence he frequented Nigeria within the past decades to invest in an unstable economy.

About nine years ago and during one of his regular visits to Nigeria, Okika met a charming girl next door. Her name is Adaeze. Few months after they met, they got married. 

The marriage to a beautiful home girl sparked reasons to spend more time on each visit to Nigeria. The new couple was blessed with amazing two daughters. Life was happening so fast and fascinating for the young family. Okika would sneak into the country and stayed several months, spending time with his family in Abuja.

“He was such a quite loving father and husband. You could see how much he cherished and loved his young family”. Friends and family sources said he was also considering a permanent return to Nigeria as life had blessed him with an awesome family.

Last December, he returned to Nigeria and took his family to India to spend the holidays with him. Meanwhile, his eldest brother, the first sibling in his family had died in Lagos. The body of his eldest brother was moved to a mortuary close to their hometown of Onicha Ugbo. The family had planned funeral in January.

His wife, Adaeze, and the daughters were flabbergasted in India. They had stunning moments with their father and husband. Okika shared these proud, profound and enriching moments with his family vacationing in India on his daily facebook posts. He was a happy man, surrounded by the most beautiful treasure on earth, his gift from God: his wife and children, in his second country, India, a country he adopted many years ago.

The wife and daughters returned after the vacation in January to attend the funeral of Okika’s eldest brother in Onicha Ugbo mid last month. But he stayed behind in India to attend to urgent business and planned to join them later. The morning of the burial, Ogbuefi Donatus Diei, Okika’s immediate elder brother got a phone call from India.

“Jebose, I was on my way to the mortuary to bring home the body of my elder brother when I received a phone call from Okika’s friend in India. He told me he had been trying to call me the previous night. He said Okika called him and asked him to urgently come to his home because he was having a severe chest pain. The friend lived about one hour from Okika. He drove to his apartment after the distress call. When he got there, he banged at the door several times. There was no answer. He then looked around the building, found the landlord and a forced entry to Okika’s apartment was initiated. He was found dead by the door.

“The landlord called New Delhi police. The police came and his body was moved to the hospital where an autopsy confirmed he died of cardiac arrest. I am still stunned. I didn’t know what and how to tell my family that I lost my younger brother the day we were preparing to bury our elder brother. I composed my pains and allowed the burial of our elder brother to be completed before I finally broke the news to his young wife. Life, my brother. This Life…”

Last Saturday, Francis Okika Diei’s body was returned from India. His family prepares to bury a younger brother that died the night of the wake keep of their eldest brother. His young distraught wife is still in shock and traumatised. She summed up her pains in her facebook picture caption of their last picture together, thus:” So this is our last outing together?”

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