Controversy trails Alex Ekwueme’s funeral rites in London.
London, Jan. 19, 2018 (AltAfrika)-The burial rites of Nigeria’s former civilian Vice President, Dr Alex Ekwueme is causing serious problems between the family and the organisers of today’s event at the St John’s Hyde Park Crescent, London.
Alternativeafrika can authoritatively reveal that members of Ekwueme’s family and some very senior members of Nigeria and the Igbo Community in London will not be attending today’s event already branded a sham. Instead, they will be attending a Memorial Service at St Marylebone Parish Church, London on January 27th before the body departs London two days later.
Our correspondent has intercepted a series of text messages being sent to people in London to disregard today’s event.
“This is just to tell everyone that the family is not involved in the sponsored burial rites. It’s a sham. Prominent Nigerians in Europe will be attending the authentic one on the 27th of this month in London” Our source said
Meanwhile, Nigerian Government says the final funeral rites for former Vice-President begins on Friday in Lagos.
The Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr. Boss Mustapha, who chairs the National Burial Committee, said this at 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 almost a month-long burial programme would start on Friday with a memorial service to be held at the Cathedral Church of Christ Marina, Lagos at 2pm and an Evening of Tributes and Music slated for 5pm.
The highlight of the activities that will hold in London, Abuja, Enugu and Awka, according to him, will be the funeral service that will hold at St. John the Divine Church, Oko, Anambra State on February 2.
He said the outing service which will be the last programme for the final rites would hold in the same church on February 11.
Ngige said it was the desire of the Federal Government to ensure that the late elder statesman gets a befitting burial.
He 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, that ‘Dr. Ekwueme had left politics much poorer than he was when he entered it,’ and has also stated that to ask for more from him was to set a standard in Public life which even saints could not meet.”
He assured all stakeholders that the Federal Government and governments of the South East states would be fully 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 Late Dr. Alex Ekwueme our last respects,” he said