Members of southeastern Nigeria’s Ibusa diaspora are in mourning after two tragic incidents over the span of three days claimed the life of a four-year-old girl and a 22-year-old man with ties to the tight-knit community.
Chibueze (Eze) Momah, a 22-year-old man from Mississauga, was working as a security guard at Vaughan’s ATL Lounge when he was fatally shot on July 23. Momah’s friend and co-worker, 25-year-old Tosin Amos-Arowoshegbe, of Toronto, also died after being gunned down at the lounge that night.
Just three days later, on July 26, four-year-old Mitchell (Mimi) Chukwudumebi Nwabuoku, of Hamilton, was fatally struck by a GO Train in Mississauga, near Dundas Street and Cawthra Road.
This tragedy occurred when the girl and her family were staying with relatives in Mississauga. The families had gathered to mourn the recent passing of Mitchell’s grandmother and discuss arrangements for her funeral back in Nigeria.
The Mississauga-based Ibusa Community Development Union (ICDU), Canada Branch, a global organization that supports the progress and development of Nigeria’s Ibusa community, has been helping support both families following the incidents.
In a show of respect, ICDU decided to cancel its popular Cultural Day on July 30. The event, which was to include performances, displays, dancing, and food, has been rescheduled until September.
“There was no way we could go on. The kids were planning to do little presentations,” said Chiazor Agokei, the organization’s president, told CP24.com.
“After this tragedy, it was impossible to move forward with this event.”
Agokei, who attended Mitchell’s funeral service Tuesday afternoon, said there are no words to describe the level of sadness people from the Ibusa and greater Nigerian community, especially those in the GTHA, are feeling.
“Sometimes you don’t know what to say. It’s a loss of words,” he said.
“In a four-day span, we lost two of our young people. … It’s a tough one for us, for this community. We’ve not had anything like this (before).”
Agokei said in Nigerian culture people support one another following the loss of a loved one by going to the family’s home, bringing food, and spending time with them “to make sure they’re not alone.” In recent days, several community members have been taking turns visiting Eze and Mitchell’s relatives.
“Our goal is to just show love, be present, be there to support them,” he said.
Sadly, the day before Mitchell was killed Agokei was visiting the Nwabuoku family, who had just lost their mum a few days earlier.
“We’d all converged at their home to sympathize with them on the loss of their mother,” he shared.
“Then, the most terrible thing happened the next day. … One family suffered a double tragedy: the loss of their mother, then their cute little girl.”
Agokei said Eze’s death is equally devastating as he’d been sent to Canada by his parents to attend school in the hopes of having a better future.
“He came here for a better environment and to get his education, only to be shot dead,” Agokei said, adding the plan is to bury Momah here in Canada once his parents arrive from Nigeria.
“That will be another sad experience later this month.”
Agokei said the families of both Eze and Mitchell have close ties to ICDU.
The young man’s aunt Maureen Mrabure serves as the organization’s treasurer, while Mitchell’s uncle, was involved in helping organize and support several of their events and initiatives over the years.
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