The family of the late Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Idris Kutigi, has announced his burial ceremony for today and tomorrow. Also, the family of the former head of the Interim National Government, Chief Ernest Shonekan, has debunked his rumoured death. A statement issued yesterday by Mrs Binta Aliyu, the family’s first child, said the body of the late jurist is scheduled to arrive in Abuja from London this morning, October 24, with the burial slated for 2pm at the Gudu Cemetery, Abuja, after the Janazah prayers at the National Mosque, Abuja. According to her, Fidau prayers will take place on Thursday at 10am at the residence of the late jurist in Asokoro, Abuja. “The Fidau prayers will also take place simultaneously at the Etsu Nupe’s Palace in Bida and in Kutigi, Niger State,” she added.
Meanwhile, Chief Ernest Shonekan’s family yesterday refuted the rumour of his purported death. Mrs. Basirat Umar-Shonekan, one of his daughters, denied the rumoured death of her father yesterday.
In a WhatsApp chat with friends from Canada, Umar-Shonekan declared that her father was hale and hearty at the time of speaking with her Nigerian friends. The Nigerian-born Canadian naval accountant further explained that she had the rumour of her father’s death through a Facebook report which compelled her to make phone calls across to Nigeria to authenticate the incident. Basirat, who later made a phone call to one of her male friends and a close family friend in Nigeria, Idir Abu, further explained that the entire Shonekan family was highly embarrassed by the internet news. “To be frank with you, all of us, too, were very embarrassed by the Facebook report and I had to hurriedly call Nigeria. Although Baba is suffering from sickness usually associated with old age, I can tell you that my dad is fine”, Basirat told Abu. Mrs. Umar-Shonekan further said that Shonekan’s first born was still with their father in the family’s Lagos house.
Also, a cleric of the African Church in Surulere, Venerable Folari Shobo, who also spoke with Abu in the presence of our correspondent yesterday in Abeokuta on phone, confirmed that Shonekan is alive. In a WhatsApp communication with Abu, Venerable Shobo said: “I am telling you for a fact that Chief Ernest Shonekan is alive. He just came into the country yesterday. It is very sad that junk journalism is thriving in the media these days.” Meanwhile, Chief Shonekan’s rumoured death yesterday caused serious confusion within the Egba town of Abeokuta owing to his status as one of the High Chiefs in Egbaland. An inquiry made by our correspondent at the palace of the Alake and Paramount Ruler of Egbaland indicated that the palace chiefs were saddened at the report. In a telephone interview, one of the palace chiefs, the Baroyin of Egbaland, Layi Labode, said the palace would issue a statement on the matter today.
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