The tragedy that befell him is a reminder of the ugly fate of the biblical Job. Abdul Alkali, a retired Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP), woke up on April 26 the proud father of two grown up children, but by sunset he had become childless.
His only two children, Patience (13) and Destiny (19), allegedly burnt to death after an accident impelled by some men of the Nasarawa State Youth Empowerment Scheme (NAYES), leaving the 64-year-old man to reel in the shock of an irreparable loss.
“God has inflicted a permanent wound on my entire life,” he said as he fought back tears in an interview with our correspondent at his Tundun Gwandara residence in Lafia, the state capital, threatening to take his own life.
“There is absolutely no point keeping me alive. I think I should just commit suicide and die too.
“God is not fair to me, and I don’t know my offence.
“Why my children? Why not me? Why now?
“How can God take away my only two children at once in their youthful age?”
He was particularly irked that more than one month after the tragic incident occurred on Doma Road in Lafia, no one was being held accountable.
In an emotion laden voice, the distraught father recalled the accident that culminated in the tragic end of his teenage children.
Quoting the last words that Destiny told him before he gave up the ghost at Dalhatu Arab Specialist Hospital (DASH) in Lafia, Alkali said the two children were riding on a motorcycle when they ran into some officials of NAYES.
He said: “When I got to the hospital, I asked Destiny, who was still alive, what actually happened, because his body was burnt.
“He said he was riding with his sister on a bike when two NAYES officers on the road side tried to hit them with a stick.
“He said that out of fear, he tried to dodge the stick but fell down on the highway.
“The motorcycle immediately caught fire and burnt the two of them while the NAYES officers took to their heels.
“They were admitted at DASH the same day where they both gave up after explaining in details what happened to them.
“I am appealing to the authorities concerned to ensure that all the people involved in the death of my children are prosecuted to serve as a deterrent to others
As a retired police DSP, I will pursue this case to its logical end.
“God! What have I done to deserve this type of punishment?
“How can I forget my two children? It is just not possible because they were amazing to me.
“I will forever miss them with everything within me.”
Also speaking, Alkali’s younger brother, Promise, expressed sadness over the incident that claimed the lives of the two “adorable” teenagers, calling for justice as no efforts was made to save their lives.
He said: “Cutting them short at the prime of their age is disheartening and disturbing.
“I feel that if justice is not done, correction will not be made.
“If they are left to go scot-free, it will still repeat itself. So it is not just for us but for others too.
“If justice is not done, the truth of the matter is it will still repeat itself, because they will feel that they can do it again and get away with it.
“I was in the hospital with them. The level of negligence from the medical personnel is alarming.
“For more than three hours around midnight, there was no single doctor, nurse or attendant in the hospital.
“The patients were just left to cater for themselves.
“Destiny started jerking up and gasping for breath at about 3:30 am. There was no one to attend to them.
“I had to move round the hospital. And when I got one nurse, he was there so helpless; not even knowing what to do. And that was where Destiny gave up.”
But speaking with our correspondent, an eyewitness, Mr Mohammed Abu, who runs a pharmacy within the area where the incident occurred, said the unfortunate development occurred around Doma Road, near Diamond/Access Bank.
He noted that the deceased were on a motorcycle while a state proclamation prohibits private or commercial motorcycles from moving round the town as part of the measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the state.
He said that the two siblings met their deaths when the personnel of NAYES chased them with the aim of arresting them for violating the state government’s order.
He said: “This was how the two children died: as they were conveying fuel on the bike, their crashing down ignited fire and they were burnt.”
The General Manager of NAYES in the state, Labaran Maina, denied the allegation that his men were responsible for the death of the two young siblings.
He said: “I was undertaking an assignment at Keana over the plans to evacuate Al-Majiris when the news got to me.
“In fact, I can lead you to the scene where the accident happened and also show you where my men were standing, which is about 40 meters away from where these young people crashed on the bike and got burnt.
“On my findings, I was reliably told that nobody chased them. The police and the Civil Defence operatives also confirmed this.
“And to add to it, since the lockdown order and we are listed among those to complement the efforts of the conventional securities, I instructed my men not to carry sticks or whips against any person, but to be strict in ensuring that enforcement was not compromised.”
The Nasarawa State Commissioner of Police, Bola Longe, said the command was already investigating the death of the two siblings