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Maryam's Body Arrives of Nigeria

Published on Tuesday 29th December 2009 Maryam's Body Arrives of Nigeria

The remains of the former First Lady, Mrs. Maryam Babangida, who died on Sunday, will be buried tomorrow, just as the Niger State Government has declared a three-day mourning for the people of the state, in her honour.

The former First Lady, who died at Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Centre of the University of California, Los Angeles, was earlier billed for burial today, but family sources told Vanguard that the body will arrive Minna late today while Janisa prayers will be said at El'Amin International School, Minna.

It was further gathered that the body will be buried at a grave already prepared beside the family mosque at the Uphill residence of the Babangidas.

"We are in touch with them in the States. We are now expecting them to bring back Mama's body tomorrow (Tuesday), but our fear now is that they may be arriving late, hence we are planning her burial for Wednesday. This is to enable many sympathisers who want to pay their last respect to her do so," a family member who asked that his identity be concealed, said.

Late Mrs. Maryam Babangidaa

In Minna, while on a condolence visit to the Babangida family, former Head of State and Chairman of the Interim National Government, Chief Ernest Shonekan, on Monday, described the late Maryam as a woman with great vision, whose legacy should not be allowed to die.

According to Shonekan, the late First Lady was a great daughter of Africa. "We should not allow the good work she did to die with her. She left a great legacy, worthy of emulation and should not be allowed to die."

Niger declares 3-day mourning

Meanwhile, the Niger State Government has declared a three-day mourning for the 61-year-old former First Lady. In a statement issued in Minna on Monday and signed by the Commissioner for Information and Communications, Alhaji Aliyu Baba Barau, the Governor, Dr. Mu'azu Babangida Aliyu, said the mourning period was to enable citizens of the state acknowledge the immense contributions of the deceased.

The statement stressed that the contributions of the deceased in the emancipation of the Nigerian women and the development of the country are yet to be equalled, lamenting that her death was a big loss to the country and Africa.

Delta declares 2-day mourning

Relatedly, the Delta State Government, yesterday, declared a two-day mourning in honour of the late Maryam, saying that "during the period, we should all be in a spiritual mood to reflect and remember her and think of what she has done in impacting the lives of every Nigerian."

Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan stated this when he paid a condolence visit to Maryam's Okogwu's family house at Ogbe-Ogo in Asaba.

Also, the member representing Oshimili South Constituency in the State House of Assembly, Mr. Emeka Okonji, who accompanied the governor during the condolence visit, said: "The pain we have is not that our sister, Maryam Babangida, died, she died twice. An enigma who brought elegance to first ladyship and shared love."

From left, Niger State Governor, Alhaji Babangida Aliyu; wife of Zamfara State Governor, Hajiya Aishat Shinkafi and daughter of the late Mrs. Maryam Babangida, Miss Halima Babangida, when the governor paid a condolence visit to the Babangida family in Minna, Niger State, yesterday. Photo: Abayomi Adeshida.

According to Uduaghan: "We (state government) are going to be actively involved in all the activities. We are here to pay our official condolence and because details of the arrangements are not here now, obviously, we will liaise with you to know what is going to be done. But, as a state government, we have to start by declaring a two- day mourning...

"As everybody knows, the glamour that was brought to the office of the First Lady of this country was brought by her. It was not just lonely glamour, but as first lady, that it was possible for the wife of an office holder to also be involved in developmental activities and she did her best with her non-governmental organisation in touching the lives of women across the country. She impacted on the lives of many Nigerians and they will remember her," the governor added.

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