Justice Christopher Balogun of the Lagos High Court, Ikeja, on Monday ordered the Nigerian Navy to convey the body of the late former military governor of the state, Rear Adm. Ndubuisi Kanu (retd), to Imo and hand it over to the state government prior to the burial.
Kanu, who was a former military governor of Imo, died of COVID-19 complications on January 13 in Lagos.
Gladys, one of the two wives of the deceased, had dragged other members of the Kanu family and the Nigerian Navy to court over how his funeral rites should be conducted.
The plaintiff had sought an order of the court to direct the respondents, their agents, or privies, not to threaten her and to allow her properly prepare for the burial slated for October 15.
The respondents to the suit are; Kelly Kanu, the Nigerian Navy, Simone Abiona, Andrey Joe- Ezigbo, Paul Ndidiamaka Kanu, and Karen Johnson.
Others are Jeffery Kanu, Laura Kanu, Stephen Kanu, and Josephine Ndubuisi-Kanu (wife).
In his ruling, Justice Balogun said that to guarantee the safety of the corpse, the body should be transported to the South-East by the Nigerian Navy where it would be handed over to the state government officials.
He pushed forward the interment originally slated for October 16 by 24 hours.
This, according to Balogun, is due to security concerns emanating from the All Peoples Congress (APC) convention slated to take place in the South-East.
He said: “After listening to all the parties- the wives and the children who personally attended court today and hearing from the elders of Ovim Community, this court in the interest of all the parties and the security and safety of the corpse of late Rear Adm. Ndubuisi Kanu, hereby directs as follows:
“That the officials of the Nigerian Navy are to ensure a befitting burial for the late Rear Adm. Ndubuisi Kanu together with his wives and all his children to take place on 15th October 2021.
“The Nigerian Navy is to ensure that the corpse of the late Rear Admiral is secured and protected prior to the burial and during the burial.
“The Nigerian Navy shall prepare the corpse in full regalia of a Rear Admiral and shall fly and carry his remains from the Military Mortuary in Ojo, Lagos, on Wednesday, 13th October and proceed to the Muritala Mohammed International Airport.
“The remains shall be flown to the Sam Mbakwe International Airport, Owerri, Imo State, where the body will be identified by the ‘Ada’ of the family.
“It shall then proceed to the Government House to be received by the Imo State Governor and the wives and family of the late Rear Admiral and people of Imo State.”
The judge ordered that the body would be thereafter taken for the lying-in-state at the Government House chapel and kept “intact” at the Government House Hospital Morgue in Owerri for safety and in the custody of the Imo State government.
Balogun said the body would then be moved to Abia for a full state burial.
The judge added: “It is noted that the respective parties- the wives, the first son, the ‘Ada’ and all the other children shall be entitled to participate jointly in the burial rites of their late husband and father.
“All traditional rites shall be performed accordingly. It is now also ordered that all the parties are bound to keep the peace.”
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