Eddie Bekom, national vice president of Sports Writers Association of Nigeria (SWAN), South-South zone, died on Sunday at the Federal Teaching Hospital, Abakaliki, where he was receiving medical attention following injuries he sustained in a domestic gas explosion.
Bekom had earlier lost his wife and last child while his remaining two other children are still on danger list at the hospital.
Mr. Bekom was a staff of the Cross River Broadcasting Service CBS), Ikom.
The gas explosion occurred at the home of his neighbour in Ikom some weeks ago and affected his entire household and a neighbour.
In a statement signed by Chukwuemeka Opara, Ebonyi chairman, SWAN expressed regret that all efforts made to save Mr. Bekom’s life, after the death of two of his family members, failed.
“In this moment of utmost grief, we commiserate with the entire SWAN family and pray that God gives us all and the entire Bekom family the fortitude to bear these irreparable losses.
“We use this opportunity to thank the Ebonyi state government for pledging to offset the entire bills of treating the Bekom family, the management and staff of FETHA, SWAN members, other journalists among others who through prayers and financial contribution.”
Also yesterday, Olawale Alabi, SWAN national secretary, said that association has begun a mourning period from today (July 18) and ask 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.
“Mr Bekom’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,” observed the SWAN scribe in a statement.
According to Alabi, “The Bekom family’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.
“Inspite of being informed immediately the incident happened and the fact that Eddie Bekom works for the state’s Broadcasting Corporation, there was no response from the state until he died last Sunday.”
SWAN thanked stakeholders in Nigerian sports that rallied to raise funds for the treatment of the Bekom family.