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Nigeria/Africa Masterweb News Report



    Nigerian student dead in the US


    Chief Charles O. Okereke, Nigeria/Africa Masterweb

    (Wednesday, June 9, 2004)

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    "They fully intend to claim her and bring her back to Nigeria for a traditional 'going home to heaven' ceremony," said Shirley Hoogstra, Vice President for student life at Calvin. "She was just a delightful, delightful girl," she summed up.


    Late Nyela Turaki Calvin College, Grand Rapids, Michigan, U.S. is mourning the sudden death of a 22-year-old Nigerian student. Nyela Turaki was with fellow students Saturday, June 5, at a TGI Friday's restaurant earlier during the day dining out. They later went to a movie theater where Miss Turaki suddenly collapsed. She was taken to Saint Mary's Mercy Medical Center, where it was diagnosed she had a brain hemorrhage. On June 6 she died after several medical revolutionary treatments to save her life by the doctors. Turaki was an architecture student at Calvin, she was the oldest of four children. Her parents both live in Nigeria where she was born. Calvin College has about 200 international students of which 30 are from Nigeria. Friends and fellow foreign students from Calvin gathered at her bedside in the intensive care unit, where she died to keep vigil with their friend. Rev. David Beelen of Madison Square Church joined them moments later for prayers. Mami Hutchful of Ghana, Turaki's roommate who was with her when she collapsed said; "She was so lovable. Everything about her was quiet and humble. She didn't say much, but when she talked, it was wisdom." Hutchful said there were no signs her friend, Turaki was sick on the fateful day they went out for fun. Shel said at first it looked as if Turaki simply passed out, but then her body went into spasms. Catherine Okai, a Calvin student also from Ghana and with Turaki same day, said she will miss the late-night talks with her friend, who loved jazz music and the Los Angeles Lakers. "She was so soft-spoken and she never held a grudge against anyone," Okai added.

    The college is getting help from US Rep. Vern Ehlers' staff for US visas for Turaki's parents who are expected in Grand Rapids for the memorial service on Friday. Turaki's parents will thereafter accompany her body to Nigeria for her final burial rites. "They fully intend to claim her and bring her back to Nigeria for a traditional 'going home to heaven' ceremony," said Shirley Hoogstra, Vice President for student life at Calvin. "She was just a delightful, delightful girl," she summed up.




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