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#Chinelo: Doctor Dies Days Before Planned Nigeria Exit

Dr Chinelo was travelling alongside others on the Abuja-Kaduna train when they were attacked by terrorists. Shot and in pain, she had asked Nigerians to pray for her. She eventually breathed her last.

“I’m in the train. I have been shot please pray for me.” Those are the last recorded words of Dr Chinelo Nwando Megafu. Trapped on the Abuja-Kaduna train that was attacked by terrorists on Monday, March 28, 2022, Dr Chinelo’s death is a barefoot walk through a barbed-wired garden of thorns. 

Barely 24 hours before she made her appeal, she was consoling an acquaintance over the loss of their partner. Aside from retweeting posts from others, being empathetic to people, Chinelo barely shared her opinions on the platform.

Chinelo’s Twitter bio, “I come here to retweet stuff mostly,” reflects her careful use of the social media platform, a position echoed by her friend, Dr Ibe Chiemezie, after Dr Chinelo asked for prayers on the train.

When HumAngle reached out to Dr Ibe, he expressed heartbreak at Dr Chinelo’s death and said he was unable to properly express himself at the time. However, his tweets indicate that Dr Chinelo did not only find joy in medicine, she found expression in music.

Almost out

While Dr Chinelo’s friends and acquaintances who HumAngle contacted are yet to confirm it, a tweet by another user indicated that Dr Chinelo was due to leave Nigeria on Friday, April 1, 2022.

Dr Chinelo, a “27-year old” dental surgeon who worked at St. Gerard Catholic Hospital in Kaduna, had visited Abuja towards finalising her exit from Nigeria. She could not have known danger lurked ahead in the Abuja to Kaduna train ride, which had been relatively safe compared to road trips along the same route.

She was part of the University of Port Harcourt Dentistry Faculty’s 2015/16 graduating set and got inducted into the profession the following year. 

Photo: Mags Loaded/Facebook

Her parting words are reminiscent of another Twitter user’s final words at the peak of the #EndSARS protests in Oct. 2020 as the Nigerian gov’t continued to watch young people die in real-time:

Bodies missing, several unaccounted for

The train transporting Dr Chinelo is estimated to have carried over 900 passengers. While some of the passengers were aided by Nigerian soldiers to safety, many people are still missing. 

Reports indicate that the train was attacked with explosives, before the terrorists opened fire on the coaches and their occupants, leading to deaths before some of them were taken away. 

On Saturday, March 26, the Runway 05 axis of the airport in Kaduna, Northwest Nigeria, was attacked by terrorists. One person was killed in the attack.

In Oct. 2021, train services were suspended after twin security incidents occurred involving trains on the same Kaduna-Abuja route. 

One of the trains came to an abrupt halt between Rijana and Dutse, after an explosion disabled the locomotive carrying the passenger coaches. 

Since its official launch in 2016, the train service provided passengers with an opportunity to avoid the risk associated with travelling by road due to violent attacks and abduction of commuters.

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Muhammed Akinyemi

Muhammed Akinyemi is a journalist, creative writer and editor with international bylines. He explores storytelling using innovative tools like satellite imagery, interactive data, and multimedia to tell stories that are accessible to all people. He is a 2019 African Liberty Writing Fellow, and an APLP graduate from NTA, Egypt. He works as HumAngle's Interactive Editor. He tweets personal opinions via @theprincelyx.

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