Ekwueme’s funeral rites begin today

The final funeral rites for former Vice-President Alex Ekwueme will begin in Lagos on Friday (today).

The Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr. Boss Mustapha, who chairs the National Burial Committee, said this during a press conference in Abuja on Thursday.

Mustapha, who was represented by the Minister of Labour and Employment, Chief Chris Ngige, spoke with journalists at the end of the last meeting of the committee.

He said the about one month-long burial programme would start on Friday with a memorial service at the Cathedral Church of Christ, Marina, Lagos at 2pm and an evening of tribute and music slated for 5pm.

Activities will also hold in London, Abuja, Enugu and Awka. The high point will be the funeral service at the St. John the Divine Church, Oko, Anambra State on February 2.

He said the outing service, which would be the last item in the programme, would hold in the same church on February 11.

Ngige said, “The death of Alex Ekwueme is indeed a painful loss, not only to his family but to our great nation, Nigeria.

“His life was dedicated to the service of our beloved country, Nigeria. And as the military tribunal panel stated after he and other leaders were detained as a result of the Nigerian military coup d’etat that sacked the civilian government of December 31, 1983, ‘Dr Ekwueme had left politics much poorer than he was when he entered it.”

He said the Federal Government and the South-East states governments would be involved in the ceremony.

“As we mourn his painful demise with utmost sympathy to the bereaved family, let me also use this medium to assure you that the federal and South-East governments will be adequately represented at the final funeral rites.

We also urge all individuals and professional groups whose lives and interests were touched in one way or the other by our departed statesman, to be part of the burial ceremonies, as we pay the late Dr Alex Ekwueme our last respects,” he said.

Other programmes for the burial as released by the burial committee include a memorial service to be held at the St. Marylebone Parish Church, London, W1 on Saturday; another evening of tribute scheduled to hold on January 28 at the International Conference Centre, Abuja; and a parade of honour on January 29 at the Presidential Wing of the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja. Thereafter, his body will be taken to Enugu and received by the South-East governors at the Akanu Ibiam International Airport, Enugu.

According the the programme, on January 30, there will be a service of songs at the Cathedral Church of the Good Shepherd, Independence Layout, Enugu; while the South-East zone commendation ceremonies will hold at Okpara Square on January 31.


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