Rivers graduate buried as father insists on justice

Tears flowed freely on Saturday when the remains of Rebekah Sekidika, a first-class graduate of Microbiology from the Benson Idahosa University, Benin City in Edo State, was committed to mother earth at the Port Harcourt cemetery in Rivers State.

The father of the late 24-year-old girl, Sampson Sekidika, had told PUNCH Metro that his daughter died at the Paragon Clinics and Image Diagnosis in Port Harcourt during a procedure by a team of medical workers on her on February 2, 2024.

As early as 6:30 a.m., family members, relatives, friends and mourners dressed in black trooped to the Military Hospital in Port Harcourt where her body was deposited to be retrieved for burial.

Her body arrived at the ‘Vaults and Gardens’ a private section of the Port Harcourt Cemetery where a brief funeral service presided over by Bishop Chris Ebata was conducted as the deceased’s younger sibling, Josephine, said the first reading from the book of Thessalonians chapter 4: 13 to 15.

In his exhortation, the cleric made a veiled reference to the circumstances that might have culminated in Rebekah’s demise, saying, “We are praying also that those human errors should be corrected in Nigeria.”

He rounded off with prayers for God to give the family the fortitude to bear the irreparable loss, describing death as a necessary end everyone would bow to at some point in their lives.

Speaking, the deceased’s father restated his demand for justice, insisting that his daughter died out of the ‘negligence and incompetence’ of the medical team that performed the procedure on her.

He said, “This is a loss we will mourn for the rest of our lives. Instead of a marriage certificate, it is a death certificate I got.

“On that fateful day, she went to the hospital hale and hearty just to go for something she too said was a simple procedure. But due to the negligence of people, she died from a procedure that didn’t require surgery.”

While noting that no parent would be happy to bury their child, Sekidika said his 24-year-old departed daughter had always made distinctions in her studies.

In an emotion laden voice, he expressed dismay that his daughter’s dream of achieving higher academic feat was cut short, saying she was to travel to the United Kingdom having secured her visa, with tuition fees fully paid and every arrangement made for her departure for her postgraduate  programmes before death struck.

PUNCH Metro correspondent who covered the event exclusively reports that family members, relatives, friends and many others at the drawing of the curtain event sobbed uncontrollably especially during the viewing of the corpse and at the graveside as the remains of the lady was lowered into the grave.

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