Friday 18 May 2012

In Loving Memory Of Nabil Hanga

I was only blessed to have known Nabil for just over 6 months. I met him through a mutual friend and like everyone who knew him, I immediately fell for his personality. He had the most beautiful and mischievous smile and an infectious laugh. He was warm, kind, gentle and very charming. He was also very handsome but somehow did not seem to realise it.
The best thing about Nabil was that he was unbelievably smart. He and his best friend had just moved to Lagos to start up and I.T company and he had the whole world at his feet.
Just like me, he loved to argue. But unlike me, he had a complete and unshakeable faith in Nigeria. He believed that Nigeria was the best country in the world and despite having options, never wanted to live anywhere else in the world. My first argument with him was about the publication declaring Nigeria “a failed state”. It was after the bombing of the U.N building in Abuja. I agreed with the article which I had read in detail, based on the index of poverty, infrastructure, healthcare, religious and intertribal violence, insecurity and the potential growth of the economy.
It was about 9pm on a Friday evening and we were outside Cafe 24 having cocktails and pizza with two other friends. His first statement was if Nigeria is a failed state, would you be here so late at night in a bar having this argument with me? I had no reply. He was that kind of person. We debated at the top of our voices till the Cafe Closed.
Our second major argument was at Salamanda, our favourite spot in Abuja, where we went so often they knew us by name. He always ordered the freshly squeezed lemonade. We argued about weather Northern men expected their women to be submissive to them. From this we switched to weather Boko Haram was a political or religious group, why women had so many shoes and why such a handsome guy chose to remain single. We could talk endlessly.
The last time I saw Nabil was on Sunday the 6th of May 2012. Exactly a week before he died. I went over to his apartment which he just moved into with his best friend and business partner. The three of us had been meaning to go for sushi as they had convinced me that sushi in Lagos was as good as anywhere else in the world, but because of our hectic schedules we had kept postponing. I was so close to cancelling on that day as well, I’m so glad I didn’t.
He gave me a tour of his bachelor pad, showed me his beautiful bike and he promised to take me riding as soon he got a spare helmet. He described vividly how amazing the movie Avengers was, and promised to take me the following week. I convinced him that he needed me to throw them a house warming party and he agreed, we were considering the following Sunday. He excitedly explained all the projects they were working on, and promised to talk to my friend about helping her advertise. I told him about an issue I was having with my Ipad and he promised to help me fix it. None of these were to happen.
As I stepped out the door with his best friend to have sushi, Nabil was already falling asleep on the sofa. I told him I was leaving and he gave me a sleepy hug and kiss on the cheek. Never in a million years would I have imagined that this would be the last time I would ever see Nabil.
When I got the call that Nabil had died of a Cerebral Haemorrhage, I was inconsolable. Partly because I had just seen him and he was perfectly fine, partly because I had gotten impatient that he kept postponing seeing Avengers, and partly because I could not comprehend such a loss.
When you lose someone you start to question everything, asking ‘Why do bad things happen to good people?’ Nabil embodied everything good. He did not drink, smoke or take drugs. He was honest, generous and had integrity. There are few of my friends I can say the same of.
He was let down by the health system of the country he believed so much in. There was no surgeon to attend to him once he fell into a coma, even at the supposed best hospitals in Lagos. He was let down by the infrastructure, the staff, the government, and ultimately Nigeria. He died as he was being flown to the U.K for treatment.
I am still coming to terms with the loss. All I can do is pray that he rests in perfect peace. I can’t help but wonder if I made as much an impact on his life as he made on mine.
Miss B.


  1. The girl you share African Queen with xFriday, 18 May, 2012

    He had a way with people, he was evrything you said and more, he was also loving & caring when he wasn't so single. I miss him so much, I value the time we shared together as US and respect the time we spent apart as friends. I've read the bella nigeria peice and your blog and it doesn't shock me that he made this impact on people after meeting them once, knowing them for 6moths or for us what would have been 10years this autumn.

  2. Wow. Miss B your words are so moving. He was, indeed, a very nice guy. I tell people that he is the son every mother dreams of, or if you have no sons, any mother's ideal son-in-law. Don''t mind me, I still refer to Nabil in the present tense. He will always be with us in our hearts, memories and prayers. He touched so many lives and all we have been hearing of him is good news. Rest in Peace beloved Nabil

  3. I still can't deal with his death. It really seems unreal.

    I wrote a post about it too. It's such a tragedy.

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  5. OH Nabil! I'm so glad to read such a lovely post about him.. He was a great friend, always seemed to call at the right time. I'm still looking at my phone the last he called, trying to remember every single conversation. He was on my mind the whole time last week, wanted to call but knew he'd call on my birthday but never happened, if I have any regrets its that- not calling to hear his voice... RIP Nabil may Allah grant you AlJannah Firdous Ameen.. J

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  7. Miss B, my story is so similar to yours and it's as if your story was taken out of my mouth...I only met Nabil September 2011, last year, through a mutual friend, so I only knew him under a year! We clicked the minute we met! Words alone can't describe the sort of person Nabil really was...
    Last time I saw Nabil was when i was visiting Lagos. May 2nd 2012 he insisted on paying me a visit, even though I tried to put him off because I thought it too hectic (Island to Mainland after working hours, traffic etc) But he made it and I was extra happy to see him especially because he came on His Bike of which I am a huge fan!!! We chilled out, caught up, and I forced him to have dinner because food was one of the things we both loved, even though he claimed not hungry then! Eventually he had to head home and he promised me a ride during my next visit to Lagos...which i was so excited about and was looking forward to. The house warming was all part of the plan...when I got the news on Sunday 13th May, the first thing I did was call his phone, then I pinged him and obviously got no reply! I felt like I had just missed one of those irregular Sunday trains... but a million times worse! I couldn't come to terms with it and kept saying to myself perhaps he’s still in a coma, and the doctors just haven’t checked properly....Nabil and I spoke on Thursday before the Sunday, he called to console me as I had just lost my aunt and was preparing for the funeral. Little did I know that it would be the last time that I’d hear his soft and gentle voice, O Nabil...*sigh* Sunday 13th May 2012 was one of the saddest days in my life thus far... and up until this moment I keep hoping to myself that someone will say to me...”we just had to hide Nabil and see how the world would react to his absence” ... no one around me could understand why I was sooo distraught about someone I only knew in such a short time...but someone said to me it’s not about how long but about how well... i guess only I knew the impact Nabil had in my life in the brief time we knew each other, and truly like you Miss B, I wondered if I had the same impact in his life? I couldn't come to terms with Nabil's departure, but as you said...we can now only pray for Nabil now. May God forgive his sins and may He find eternal peace and happiness with God! Insha Allah! God Bless Nabil and his loved ones, may God grant us the grace to accept his departure in good faith and may we be comforted by God's love! Amen...I miss you soo much Nabil!

  8. he was more like a brother to me words cant express how much pain i felt and i still feel every time i remember that hes gone for good i let tears flow but the best we can do now for him is pray for eternal peace...RIP dear nabil you left an impact on everyone...amma

  9. Miss B, thanks for this piece.Its amazing that I just knew Nabil was all of this and more when I met him. I met him just once and we talked and debated for a few hours and yes, I was struck by his personality. He was smart and calm and he knew so much about everything. He said so many things that evening that got me thinking. He'l never know how many things I changed in my life for the better just by talking to him that day. Nabil was like an angel. That smile of his,.....what a loss.*deep sigh* Almighty Allah is the perfect planner so all we can do is pray for his soul to rest in peace and for Almighty Allah to grant him Al-Jannah.Ameen

  10. Thank you for writing this article about my brother. Reading all these stories about him makes me feel better .. Because I didnt really get a chance to interact with him being that he lived in London and Nigeria with his father and I live in America with our mother and my Dad. But we did have each other on Facebook and he called from time to time. He had promised to come and see Mean our mom and our 3 brothers and my dad this summer. But unfortunately it didn't happen. He's in a better place , and he left a great legacy behind which was his loving character.

  11. You all can add me on Facebook : myob andnot Nabilas

    Our mother named me after him