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Enugu govt plans befitting burial for Mr Ibu, Junior Pope


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

According to the News Agency of Nigeria, the Enugu State Commissioner for Information and Communication, Aka Eze Aka, in an interview on Friday in Enugu, said the death of the duo was a terrible blow to the government of Enugu State and Nigeria.

The commissioner further stated that the state government wanted to give them a befitting burial.

On Junior Pope, the commissioner who said that no date had been fixed for the burial, stressed that the government contacted the family and worked together to see how they wanted their son to be buried.

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

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

Aka 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 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 the 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 the mortuary and was to be buried beside the river.

“Some of these stories did not go down well with us as we tried 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.

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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 so many fans would like to express themselves by saying one or two things about him, and we opened a condolence register to allow them to do that.

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

He also reiterated Gov. 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.