Sa’adatu Muhammad Babangida and her husband Najib Ahmad, a newly wed couple were still in tiher honeymoon phase of their marriage, when tragedy struck in their home.
On January 12, 2020, exactly 27 days after their wedding, they were at home in Jos when Sa’adatu complained of toothache. At about 10:30pm she went to the kitchen to brew some java pepper (a blend of coffee) that would help alleviate her pains.
Najib waited in the bedroom but soon heard an explosion from within the house. Most of the ceiling caved in, as did most of their newly-minted lives in what the husband, Najib, would describe as “a terrible moment.” A gas explosion in the kitchen had left Sa’adatu badly burnt, crying for help.
“I started hearing Sa’adatu from the room crying “Inna liLlahi wa inna ilaihi raji’un,” (to God we belong and to God we shall return.) I then concluded that something dreadful had happened to my lovely wife,” Najib told Daily Trust.
He found his wife on the kitchen floor, writhing in pain, half of her body covered in burns. He rushed her to the Jos University Teaching Hospital where he hoped she could be treated.
What he did not know at the time was that his wife had began her journey to death, which would eventually end on February 3rd when she died from the injuries she sustained in the explosion.
Sa’adatu was 30 at the time of her death. A graduate of Micro Biology from the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, she was enlisted into the N-Power programme and was attached to a Jos North Local Government Primary Healthcare as lab assistant.
From her stipend, her mother said, her daughter was generous and supported her family.
“Sa’adat lived a life worthy of emulation,” he mother said, speaking softly. “She was a genius, a God-sent person and heroine of Babangida’s family, who often understood your problems before you shared them with her. She was relentless towards giving out her best to the family from the little she earned as an N-power beneficiary. To my knowledge, nobody has ever said anything bad about her. Her deeds would continue to be remembered.”
Her generosity of spirit was testified to by her husband, who said that despite her obvious pain during her time in the hospital, his wife expressed joy that he was safe from the disaster.
For him, the 26 days of bliss he spent with his wife before the accident would remain something he would treasure as he recalled how they met and fell in love.
“Within just one year of courtship, we fell in love and became engaged because of the understanding we had, not knowing that our marriage was going to be intercepted by such an unfortunate incident,” he said.
He would remember those 26 days for the love and care his wife showed him and the mutual respect and appreciation they had for each other. He described her as a God-fearing woman who would often commit to prayers and spent time reciting the Holy Qur’an.
If there was any regret, it was that he was not there the moment she breathed her last.
“I left her on the sickbed with the doctors for Asr prayers without knowing I would not return to meet her alive,” the grief-stricken husband said.
She died a few minutes after he left the room, with doctors trying and failing to save her life.
One of the advice she gave her husband Najib on her deathbed would stay with him forever.
In one of their last moments together, Najib said his wife left a verbal will to him asking him to maintain good relations with her family, saying, “I should not allow anything to break my relationship with members of her family and live peacefully with whoever I relate with.”