On January 12, 2020, exactly 27 days after their wedding, newlyweds, Sa’adatu Muhammad Babangida and her husband Najib Ahmad were at home in Jos when she 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 said.
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.
Most of her life after that explosion was spent in the hospital, her body, apart from her face, wrapped in a gauze. In those days, her relatives were optimistic she was going to recover because she seemed to be responding to treatment. She was even smiling at visitors.
Her mother Hadiza Muhammad Babangida was so confident of her daughter’s recovery that the last time she saw her, she assured her daughter of that.
“My last moment with Sa’adatu was on Saturday, February 1, when I visited her in the hospital. We looked at each other smiling. I prayed and blessed her. I rubbed her head, encouraging and condoling her that she would, by the grace of Allah, survive to recount the story of her tragedy of suffering and celebrate her good health,” she said.
Sa’adat asked her mother if she was sure.
“Yes, of course, you will survive the injuries because myself and other well-wishers have been praying for your recovery and are never worried,” she said.
Two days later, she received calls that her daughter was gone for good.
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.