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Just in: Finally, late former Vice President, Ekwueme burial rites begin today

After two months in a London hospital morgue following his death on November 19, 2017, the Federal Government has commenced the final burial rites of the late former vice president, Dr. Alex Ekwueme.

The government had promised to give the late elder statesman a befitting burial in accordance with his status as a foremost statesman and nationalist.

It would be recalled that late Ekwueme was a founding member of G34 during the military era which later metamorphosed into the present day Peoples Democratic party (PDP).

According to plans released by the government, though the plan is in partnership with the Anambra State Government, Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, is chairing the burial committee on behalf of the Federal Government.

Briefing the press on Thursday in Abuja, Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr. Chris Ngige, on behalf of the SGF, noted that Ekwueme’s death was a painful loss not only to the family but also to the country.

“The death of Alex Ekwueme is indeed a painful loss, not only to his family but also 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’état that sacked the civilian government on December 31, 1983, ‘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.”

“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 another by our departed statesman, to be part of the burial ceremonies, as we pay the late Dr. Alex Ekwueme our last respects.”

Details of the final funeral programme, as released by the SGF’s office, show that in Lagos on Friday (today), January 19, there will be memorial service by 2p.m at Cathedral Church of Christ, Marina, Lagos.

Evening of Tributes and Music would also come up same day at 5p.m at the Landmark, Oniru.

On Saturday, at 5p.m, memorial service would hold at St Marylebone Parish Church, London, W1.

On Sunday, January 28, 6p.m, there would be another Evening of Tributes at the International Conference Centre, Abuja.

On January 29, there would be Parade of Honour at the Presidential Wing of the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja.

The body would then depart for Enugu and would be received by the South East governors at the Akanu Ibiam International Airport, Enugu.

On January 30, at 4p.m, there would be Service of Songs at Cathedral Church of the Good Shepherd, Independence Layout, Enugu.

On January 31, at Enugu, there would be South East Zone Commendation Ceremonies by 10a.m, at Okpara Square.

On February 1, the body would depart for Awka on motorcade for Anambra State Commendation Service at Ekwueme Square, Awka.

Same day at 4p.m, the body would depart for Oko by motorcade and by 5p.m, there would be Service of Songs.

On February 2, there would be Lying in State at 8a.m and funeral service at St. John the Divine Church, Oko, and final funeral rites at 11a.m.

On Sunday, February 11, at 9a.m, there would be Outing Service at St. John the Divine Church, Oko.

SFG averred that the Federal Government is expected to foot the bill for the burial rites which would include transporting the corpse from London to Nigeria.

Business Hilights gathered that other members of the committee include Ministers of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Raji Fashola; Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed; Finance, Kemi Adeosun; Labour and Productivity, Chris Ngige; Ibrahim Idris and Lawal Musa Daura.

Others are Goodheart Obi Ekwueme and the SSG, Anambra State, Osita Chukwulobelu.

The Permanent Secretary, General Services Office, Roy Ugo, will serve as the secretary of the committee, according to a statement signed by Mohammed Nakorji, Deputy Director (Press), Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation.