Eight nursery and primary school pupils crushed to death in an auto crash in Awgu, Enugu, on October 28 were buried on Monday with Gov. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State in attendance.
The pupils were on their way home after school hours when they met their untimely death.
The governor joined Catholic faithful and families of the deceased to celebrate a Requiem Mass for them at the school premises in Awgu town.
Gov. Ugwuanyi described the eight pupils as angels, bade farewell to them, their late teacher, Emmanuella Chukwugbo and the school bus driver, Chukwu Basil as well as other victims.
The governor said that his administration was saddened, devastated and overwhelmed with grief by the realisation of the loss of eight young innocent school children, one teacher and the school bus driver in the tragic accident.
“We are laden with grief as our children, our angels, have gone too soon and too sudden for no fault of their own.
“These children were too innocent to have offended anyone; too young to have known sin.
“They only attended the day’s school to acquire knowledge and high moral values and on their way home to unite with their beloved parents and siblings when they were crushed to death; a journey home that was never completed; what a tragedy, ‘’ he lamented.
He said that as Christians, humans must submit to the will of God who alone knew why the accident happened.
“We accept our faith and find consolation in the conviction that our deceased angels are early arrivals in heaven already seated in the midst of the heavenly Host, praising God and glorifying His name,’’ he added.
The governor recalled that government officials had visited recuperating survivors of the accident in hospitals.
He extended his condolences to the families of the deceased and solidarity to the Catholic Diocese of Awgu.
He prayed for divine healing and quick recovery of the injured ones as well as the fortitude for the families of the departed souls to bear the painful losses.
While sympathising with the management of the school, Ugwuanyi donated a brand new 18-seater bus to the school and promised to erect a monument at the scene of the accident to immortalise the school children.
He equally expressed gratitude to all who had worked to save some of the accident victims.
Earlier in his sermon, the Catholic Bishop of Awgu Diocese, Most Rev. John Okoye, consoled the families of the victims and urged them to take solace in the scriptures and in the Lord Jesus Christ.
He appreciated Gov. Ugwuanyi for his administration’s empathy, support and solidarity since the tragedy.
“The governor did not only call to console us on that fateful day, he sent his deputy to us the next day.
“As soon as he concluded his meeting with other South- East leaders, he physically made his way to the University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital in Enugu to sympathise with the survivors and paid their medical bills.
“Your gesture touched us very deeply and we can’t forget it easily,’’ he said.
The burial was attended by the Catholic Bishop of Enugu Diocese, Most Rev. Callistus Onaga, and other clerics of the Catholic Church.
Among those in attendance were Mrs Jane Eneh, the Chief Whip of Enugu State House of Assembly, the Commissioner for Education, Prof. Uche Eze and the Commissioner for Science and Technology, Sir. Obi Karma.
Others were the Commissioner for Culture and Tourism Mr Ugonna Ibe, and the Chairman of Awgu Local Government Council, Mr Pedro Nwankwo.