The family of Dr. Chike Akunyili has revealed that the deceased lived with a bullet embedded in his skull from the Nigerian Civil war until his death.
The revelation came in a statement released by the family on Thursday, September 30, 2021.
1st News had reported that Akunyili, widower of former Information Minister and NAFDAC DG, Dora Akunyili, was shot dead by yet-to-be identified gunmen on Tuesday, September 28, 2021 in Anambra while returning from a posthumous lecture organized for his late wife by the University of Nigeria, Nsukka.
In a statement released and signed by the Akunyilis including, Ijeoma, Edozie, Somto Asuzu, Njideka, Chidiogo Akunyili-Parr and Obumneme; the family lamented the gruesome murder of their late patriarch. They reminisced on his life, adding that the deceased rendered free medical service for 45 years to Catholic priests in his alma materl Bigard Memorial Seminary in Enugu when he was alive.
Further, the statement revealed that Akunyili was yet to meet his latest grandchild born a month ago before he was cut down by the assassins’ bullets.
“As a nation mourns a man known to many as the husband of the late Prof. Dora Akunyili; we as a family remember the man we call Daddy.
“He was a son — as a young man, he fought as a soldier in the Biafra war. A war that earned him a bullet that stayed lodged in his skull ever since. From this experience of violence and death; he went on to become a doctor saving thousands of lives — a powerful testament to his journey through life.
“He was a loving husband. It is no surprise that, on the day of his untimely death; he was on his way from a memorial lecture in honour of his late wife; whom he cherished and honoured even in death. At this event and always, he invited everyone to be like his wife, Dora.
“He was a father and grandfather. With joy, he would share that he was a grandfather to nine.. He welcomed his youngest grandchild just a little over a month ago and had yet to meet her.
“He was an older brother to all his siblings; many of whom call him Daddy in reverence and recognition of his love.
“He was a healer and a passionate surgeon. Dr. Chike was the Medical Director at St. Leo’s Hospital in Enugu. For decades, he served countless people, many of whom he cared for and healed at no cost. His one request was always that they paid it forward.
“He started his healing journey in the North where he built and ran a mobile clinic in Jaban Kogo. For many months, he lived and worked among the people, studying and becoming fluent in Hausa to better serve his patients. His commitment to providing healthcare to that community earned him the National Youth Service Merit Award.
“He was a philanthropist. For 45 years, he treated priests in Bigard Memorial Seminary and beyond for free; trusting this to be his calling.
“He was a man of the people, loved by many for his wisdom and for his courage to always speak the truth. His counsel was sought far and wide.
“He was an ordinary man who, every day, showed his extraordinary commitment to his community and his people by his ability to help people in need without question.
“In his final days, his heart was heavy about the state of things in Nigeria. He lamented about the struggles of people unable to pay for treatment anymore and about the unfortunate state of unrest where human life had lost its value.
“His hope echoed that of his beloved wife and our mother; that Nigeria might lean on the forces of unity and shun disunity.”
1st News reports that a storm of nationwide condemnation had trailed the brutal murder of the deceased Akunyili; with the Presidency and the Police vowing to nail his killers.