For the Okobi family, nothing can be more agonising than seeing their son die at the hands of police officers in a country where they had gone to seek greener pastures.
Chinedu Okobi, like his parents, was also looking forward to providing a better life for his young daughter, until life was snuff out of him by policemen in Millbrae, California, on Wednesday, October 3.
Chinedu’s father, a pastor who lives in California but is from Asaba, Delta State, said he only received a call from the deceased’s mother, now his ex-wife, that his son had been killed.
“I received a phone call from my ex-wife, Maureen Amaka Okobi that our last born is dead! I am at a loss and unsure of what to do at this point,” he had said on his Twitter at the time.
Almost a week after his son’s untimely passing, the incident appears to have jolted Okobi into a harsh reality – that all human beings are going to die eventually.
“When you’re young you feel bulletproof – life is long and death is a distant non-reality,” he said Tuesday, in a series of Facebook posts expressing his anguish.
“And then you stand by the casket of your youngest child whose life was extinguished suddenly or you start feeling old and can see your mortality quickly approaching on the horizon. You are going to die. What a sobering, desperate thought,” he added.
Chinedu’s sister, Ebele, described the 36-year-old in an eulogy on her Facebook as “smart, funny, hard-working, and incredibly kind”.
She revealed that he started battling mental health problems while studying for a GMAT exam.
“We struggled for years to get him the right diagnosis and medications, and we were so proud of him for creating a good and kind life despite his struggles with mental health,” she said.
In reference to continued police brutality against people of colour in the United States, Ebele said Chinedu was now one of too many victims.
“He was my little brother, he was a father, he was loved. Now he is gone, and our hearts are broken,” she added.
Chinedu, who was not armed at the time he was killed, has been buried.