Nigeria: Enugu Govt to Give Mr Ibu, Jnr Pope Befitting Burial

The Enugu State Government says it is working with the families of the late Nollywood actors.

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

The Enugu State Commissioner for Information and Communication, Aka Eze Aka, disclosed this in an interview with NAN on Friday in Enugu.

Mr Aka, who said the death of the duo was 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 was in contact with the family and was working together to determine how they wanted their son buried.

"Being a part of his burial committee in an 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 for 28 June.

He also explained that the state government did not respond on time when the news about Jnr Pope's death broke out due to some circumstances surrounding his death, adding that many people did not know that he hailed 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.

"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 tried to understand what was happening. So on Thursday, when the Actors Guild issued a statement confirming the death, we still wanted to get the message 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 explained that the government began to engage the family in discussion, adding, "For now, the 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 many fans would like to express themselves by saying one or two things about him, so we opened a condolence register to allow them to do that. The government does not celebrate death, but when it happens, we do what is necessary," he said.

He also reiterated Governor Peter Mbah's commitment to building up the entertainment industry in the state, especially as most talents were moving out of the state by building an entertainment village.

He stressed, "This is why many people didn't know that Jnr Pope was from Enugu State."

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 10 April.

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


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