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Memorial service held for sisters killed in Nigeria plane crash

Saturday, June 09, 2012
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Two sisters were remembered Saturday, nearly a week after their lives were lost in Nigeria's worst air crash in nearly two decades.

Family and friends gathered for a memorial service for Jennifer and Josephine "Anita" Onita, who were traveling from Nigeria when their plane went down Sunday.

The memorial service at Redeemed Christian Church of God in southwest Houston was filled with stories about the two young women.

Together, hundreds sang, danced, mourned and celebrated.

They stood before framed photos of Jennifer and Anita -- the sisters' smiling faces immortalized.

"When I think of them all I think of is them smiling at us," family friend Margaret Oni said. "That's what we're going to remember."

Anita was just 23. She was a businesswoman who took over her father's accounting practice.

Jennifer was 28, working on her PhD in biomedical engineering.

"The legacy they leave behind is two young individuals that loved God with all their heart and pursued everything with excellence," cousin Ayo Akindona said.

The sisters were in Nigeria attending a friend's wedding when tragedy struck. Their plane crashed in Lagos, killing all 153 people on board and more on the ground.

The group in Houston paid respects to every one of the crash victims Saturday night, lighting candles and releasing balloons in their honor.

"The first three or four days, we were just always looking and waiting for someone to call us on the phone and let us know they were okay, but that call never came," Akindona said.

Family and friends now turn to their faith in God.

"Obviously you're sad to lose a person," family friend Diahna Jones said. "But at the same time, you rejoice because you know that their faith is sure."

The family is accepting donations in memory of the sisters through PayPal.

Jennifer and Anita's older sister, Christiana, is an assignment editor here at ABC13. She did not travel with her sisters because she recently gave birth to her second child.

(Copyright ©2014 KTRK-TV/DT. All Rights Reserved.)

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