“I will never forget that day”
Nearly three months have passed since the tragic morning when Hannatu’s husband, Nigerian Senator Gyang Dantong, was killed. While still in mourning Hannatu shares, “I find the greatest comfort in Psalm 23. I am reminded that the Lord will always care for me, even during this trying time.”
Nigerian Senator Gyang Dantong was attending a funeral for more than 100 Christians who had been killed a day earlier by members of an extremist group that is located primarily in Northern Nigeria in the July 8th massacre in Plateau state. While the attendees were burying the victims, gunmen invaded the service and began shooting the mourners.
“One of the most difficult things to deal with is the fact that we still do not know exactly what happened that day,” Hannatu Dantong said during a visit with Open Doors News. “All we really know is that gunmen invaded the funeral and that my husband and others are dead.”
A well-known advocate for peace in the region, Gyang Dantong, a member of the Nigerian National Assembly, crossed many cultural, religious and tribal divides. After serving four years in the House of Representatives, he was elected to the Senate, where he had served for the past five years. A physician by trade, Dantong was as a renowned surgeon at Vom Christian Hospital in rural Plateau.
His election to the National Assembly required his presence in the capital, Abuja, about 80 miles away. Despite the distance, he returned from the national assembly to assist with surgeries on a weekly basis.
“I will never forget that day,” she said. “My husband attended the funeral early in the morning and planned on returning soon after to accompany me to church. When he did not arrive as planned, I was worried and called his cell phone multiple times, but he did not answer. I became so worried that I got in my car and started to drive myself to where the funeral was being held. As I began to drive, I received a call with the horrible news that my husband had been killed.”
Hannatu Dantong’s two children, Dan and Grace have returned home from university to be with their mother during this time. They comforted their mother as she shared about the tragic events of that day. “My husband did many things for Nigeria,” his widow said. “I know that his life blessed many and God will continue to use his legacy. My husband loved Nigeria and loved the people he served and it is very difficult to move forward without him.”
Father, thank You for the life of Gyang Dantong, attending faithfully to the medical needs of those in Plateau and working toward peace among the diverse population he represented in government. May his death not be in vain, but serve to strengthen the power of the gospel in Plateau state. We pray that You will comfort and sustain his widow Hannatu and their children. In the name of Jesus in whose presence Gyang now rejoices, Amen.