I warned my husband not to watch football – Victim’s wife


When 14-year old Blessing Okon Udo stepped into the viewing centre in Nyaghasang Community in Calabar to see Manchester United host Anderlecht in the second leg of the UEFA Europa League on Thursday, she had no idea, it would be the last thing she would do on earth.

A football lover and an ardent Manchester United fan, who also loved playing the game, she lost her life to her passion for the game that was so close to her heart.

Father of the deceased girl, Mr. Okon Udo, tearfully narrated what happened on that fateful day.

He said, “I was away for work. When I came back that fateful night, I understood there was a problem. From the information I heard, I heard 30 persons had died. I was rushing to see what had happened. All of a sudden I saw my daughter among the victims so I had to rush her to the hospital, teaching hospital, and she was certified dead. Her death is a big loss. I urged Manchester United, the government and all relevant agencies to help families of those affected by the incident.

“She was a football lover. She even played football and I did not know she used to go there and watch football. This incident was the first time I knew she came here to watch football. She was a student at Holy Family Secondary School. She was in SS3 and was going to write her WAEC.”

Another woman, Mrs. Elizabeth Alex Samuel, a mother of a one year old, who lost her husband in the incident also said, “Everyday I warned him not to watch football in that viewing centre. That night, he went to watch football. The next thing I heard shouting and they said people have died. I was waiting I did not see him. I hear they had rushed him to the hospital. I was crying throughout. It was on Friday they came and told me that my husband was dead.

“He was a dispatch rider. He was in his 30s. I am 28 years old and our baby is one year and one month. I call on whoever can help to come and help. My husband was my helper in all aspects of my life. Now that he has died I don’t know what to do anymore. I don’t have anything doing. I am begging for help from everyone who can help us now.”

Mrs. Felicia Edet a mother of two children, 19 and 29 years old, whose husband also died in the incident, was still too stunned to speak.

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Godwin Okafor is a Financial Journalist, Internet Social Entrepreneur and Founder of Naija247news Media Limited. He has over 16 years experience in financial journalism. His experience cuts across traditional and digital media. He started his journalism career at Business Day, Nigeria and founded Naija247news Media in 2010. Godwin holds a Bachelors degree in Industrial Relations and Personnel Management from the Lagos State University, Ojo, Lagos. He is an alumni of Lagos Business School and a Fellow of the University of Pennsylvania (Wharton Seminar for Business Journalists). Over the years, he has won a number of journalism awards. Godwin is the chairman of Emmerich Resources Limited, the publisher of Naija247news.

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