Adibe Emenyonu in Benin City and Benjamin Nworie in Abakaliki
The Sports Writers Association of Nigeria (SWAN) has declared three days of national mourning among sports journalists in honour of the South South Vice President of the association, Mr Eddie Bekom, whose painful death occurred on Sunday, July 16, 2017 following the injuries he sustained from a fire incident occasioned by gas explosion.
Bekom, wife and four children were admitted at the Plastic Surgery Department of the Federal Teaching Hospital in Abakaliki, Ebonyi State for more than two weeks receiving treatment for the second degree burns they all sustained from the cooking gas explosion from a neighbourâ€™s apartment in Ikom, Cross River State.
Before the journalistâ€™s death on Sunday, Bekom had earlier lost his wife and last child while his remaining two other children are still on danger list at the hospital.
In a media statement signed by SWAN National Secretary, Olawale Alabi and made available to newsmen in Benin City, noted that consequent upon this, the mourning period which begins today, July 18 requires members and sympathisers to wear black cloth or piece of black material pinned on their shirt pockets as mark of respect for the late sports journalist.
â€œMr Bekomâ€™s death is a national tragedy, and given what has befallen his entire family, we can only pray the Almighty God to take control of the situation we have at hand,â€ observed the SWAN scribe in a statement.
According to Alabi, “The Bekom familyâ€™s case is an unfortunate situation that calls for all hands to be on deck for all kinds of support.
“However, while we thank those that responded as quickly as possible and joined us in the challenge of rescuing the family, it is now a greater challenge to us all that those still receiving treatment at the hospital in Abakaliki should not lack anything in the area of material and financial support for treatment and rehabilitation.
SWAN however, sees as regrettable the lackadaisical attitude of the Cross River State Government in the handling of the Bekom family tragedy.
â€œInspite of being informed immediately the incident happened and the fact that Eddie Bekom works for the stateâ€™s Broadcasting Corporation, there was no response from the state until he died last Sunday.â€
SWAN thanked stakeholders in Nigerian sports that rallied to raise funds for the treatment of the Bekom family.