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Thursday, June 13, 2024

Burial: We’re working with families of Mr Ibu, Jnr Pope -Enugu Gov

The Enugu State Government says it is working with the families of the late Nollywood actors, John Okafor, aka Mr Ibu, and Obumneme Odonwodo, a.k.a Junior Pope, to give them a befitting burial.

The Enugu State Commissioner for Information and Communication, Mr Aka Eze Aka, disclosed this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Friday in Enugu.

Aka who said the death of the duo were a terrible blow to the government of Enugu State and Nigeria, said the state government was interested in giving them a befitting burial.

On Junior Pope, the commissioner who said that no date had been fixed for the burial, stressed that the government were in contact with the family and were working together to see how they want their son to be buried.

“Being a part of his burial committee on individual capacity, I will relate to the government what the family want,” Aka said.

He added that the state government would be represented during Mr Ibu’s burial, scheduled to hold on June 28.

Aka also explained that the state government did not respond on time when the news about Jnr Pope death broke out due to some circumstances surrounding his death, adding that many people did not know that he came from Enugu State.

“A lot of people expected the state to jump the gun to begin to say one or two things about his death but it is only in Nigeria that people rush to break the news about somebody’s death without immediately knowing the sensibilities and feelings of the family.

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“This young man died on Wednesday and Enugu State Government got the news and was waiting for a confirmation as there were some stories that he was not dead, he is still alive, he has left mortuary and was to be buried beside the river.

“Some of these stories did not go down well with us as we try to know what was happening. So on Thursday when Actors Guild issued a statement confirming the death, we still wanted to get across to the family.

“When we did, we did not get the contact of the family as many of us did not know he came from Enugu,” he explained.

He further explained after that the government began to engage the family in discussion, adding that, “for now, Enugu State government is interested in giving him a befitting burial.

“We opened a state register because his death was a national calamity and a tragic event that shocked the whole nation.

“We felt that there are so many fans who would like to express themselves by saying one or two things about him and we opened a condolence register to allow them do that.

“The government does not celebrate death but when it happened, we do the needful,” he said.

He also reiterated Gov. Peter Mbah’s commitment in building up entertainment industry in the state, especially as most of the talents were moving out of the state by building an entertainment villages.

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“This is why many people didn’t know that Jnr Pope was from Enugu State,” he stressed.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Pope who hailed from Ukehe in Igbo-Etiti Council Area of Enugu State, alongside three of his colleagues, lost their lives in the tragic boat accident on River Niger while returning from a movie location on April 10.

Mr Ibu, who hailed from Amuri in Nkanu West Council Areas of Enugu State, died on March 2 after battling with stroke, diabetics and kidney failure. (NAN)

Alex Enebeli
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