Our hearts break twice, Akunyili’s children mourn dad’s gruesome death
Children of murdered Dr. Chike Akunyili have penned an emotional message over the murder of their father in Anambra State on Wednesday. The children described the murder as ‘brutal and senseless’, revealing that “he was on his way from a memorial lecture in honour of his late wife, who he cherished and honoured even in death.”
The statement signed by Dr.Ijeoma Akunyili, Dr. Edozie Akunyili, Dr. Somto Asuzu, Njideka Akunyili Crosby, Chidiogo Akunyili-Parr, and Obumneme Akunyili, stated that: “He fought as a young man, he fought as a soldier in the Biafra war. A war that earned him a bullet that stayed lodged in his skull ever since. From this experience of violence and death, he went on to become a doctor saving thousands of lives, a powerful testament to his journey through life.
“Death in any situation is painful, but when it is as brutal and senseless as murder, our hearts break twice. As a nation mourns a man known to many as the husband of late Professor Dora Akunyili, we, as a family, remember the man we call Daddy.
“He was a loving husband. It is no surprise that, on the day of his untimely death, he was on his way from a memorial lecture in honour of his late wife, who he cherished and honoured even in death. At this event and always, he invited everyone to be like his wife, Dora.
“He was a father and grandfather. With joy, he would share that he was a grandfather to nine grandchildren. He welcomed his youngest grandchild just a little over a month ago and had yet to meet her. Ask any of the grandchildren about Grandpa, and they will tell you stories of love and support, be it his long text to his oldest granddaughter at the victory of Kamala Harris inviting her to note the inspiration for herself or speaking to his namesake and grandson Chike, reminding him of his own limitless potential.
“He was an older brother to all his siblings, many of whom call him Daddy in reverence and recognition of his love. He was a healer. A passionate surgeon, Dr. Chike was the medical director at St. Leo’s Hospital in Enugu. For decades he served countless people, many of whom he cared for and healed at no cost.
“He started his healing journey in the north where he built and ran a mobile clinic in Jaban Kogo. For many months, he lived and worked among the people, studying and becoming fluent in Hausa to better serve his patients. His commitment to providing healthcare to that community earned him the National Youth Service Merit Award.
“He was a philanthropist. For 45 years he treated priests in Bigard Memorial Seminary and beyond for free, trusting this to be his calling.
“He was a Papal Knight of Saint John, a title bestowed by the Vatican in recognition of his dedication and service to the church.
He was a man of the people, loved by many for his wisdom and for his courage to always speak the truth. His counsel was sought far and wide.
He is remembered for his ability to hold an audience captive with his words and stories. To hear him speak in Igbo was to be blessed by the wisdom of endless proverbs. He was an ordinary man who, every day, showed his extraordinary commitment to his community and his people by his ability to help people in need without question.”