By Izunna Okafor, Awka
The Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Anambra State Council was thrown into mourning mood in the early hours of Tuesday, following the demise of one of their own, Mrs. Nneka Ibe-Anoliefo.
Mrs. Anoliefo, a staff of the Anambra Broadcasting Service (ABS), was attached to the State’s Ministry of Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, where he worked as the Public Relations Officer of the Ministry as well as the Spokesperson of the Anambra State Council of Traditional Rulers, and the Anambra State Association of Town Unions (ASATU) before her demise.
A hard-working and jolly good fellow who stood out for her quietness and humility, was said to have passed on in the early hours of Tuesday after a brief illness.
The mother of two, who hailed from Umuoji, Idemili North Local Government Area of Anambra State, was said to have died in a hospital in Awka where she was receiving treatments.
Reacting to Anoliefo’s death, the NUJ Anambra State Chairman, Dr. Odogwu Emeka Odogwu, described it as a great loss to the Union, noting that the Council received the news with great shock.
Odogwu, in an interview with this reporter, Izunna Okafor, recalled that the deceased had earlier called him few days ago, informing him of her health condition and her stay in the hospital where she was receiving treatments.
He, however, expressed shock that as he made plans to visit her in the hospital, the next he received was the shocking news of her demise.
Odogwu, while giving an overview of some unique qualities that made Anoliefo exceptional, also recalled that she was the bridge between the NUJ and the community leaders in the State, and had also served the Union as the Chairman of the NUJ Culture Committee and in other such capacities.
“Indeed, Nneka would be so dearly missed by the Union. Her death was a very sudden one, and with heavy hearts we mourn her. What can else can we say to God of not to pray Him to accept and grant her soul eternal rest, in his bossom?” he said.
While commiserating with the children and family of the deceased and reassuring them of the Union’s support, the NUJ Chairman, Odogwu, also called on the Anambra State government, the wife of the State Governor, Mrs. Nonye Soludo, and other good-spirited individuals in the society to, please, support and rally round the two children left behind by the late journalist.
While noting that the bereaved children are currently undergraduates, Odogwu also appealed for scholarship for them to enable them continue their studies and graduate with their colleagues, without allowing the demise of their mother weigh them down, retard their studies, or even make them drop out of school.
“This would mean a lot to the children and also make them believe that they are not left alone. It would also make Nneka feel happy wherever she is, seeing that her children lack nothing, even in her absence,” Odogwu appealed.
In his own reaction, the Anambra State Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Hon. Tonycollins Nwabunwanne, described the news of Anoliefo’s death as one of the most shocking to him in recent time, noting that the Ministry had been in a mourning mood since upon the reception of the ugly news.
Commissioner Nwabunwanne, who also spoke in a telephone interview with this reporter, described the deceased, Anoliefo, as a very hardworking personnel whose humility and dedication were second to none, adding that she would be so dearly missed by the Ministry.
Recounting and reminiscing his experience with the deceased, the Commissioner described his working relationship with her as a smooth and progressive one, while also praying God to accept the soul of the late journalist, whom, he said, was also the bridge between his Ministry and the journalists in the State.
“Nneka was a good, humble and dedicated staff, and she would be so dearly missed. In fact, we are already missing her,” he said.
Efforts to get the reactions of Mr. Chido Obidiegwu, the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of the Anambra Broadcasting Service (ABS) where Nneka was a staff, proved abortive, as he was yet to respond to his calls and messages as at the time of this publication.
Born December 5, 1973, Nneka, died just on the day of her golden jubilee.