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After 3 years, remains of former Senate President Joseph Wayas arrive in Nigeria

From Okwe Obi, Abuja

The body of Nigeria’s former Senate President, the late Joseph Wayas, on Wednesday, arrived at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport Abuja, at about 4:40 a.m., three years after his death in London.

The remains of Wayas were on board from Heathrow Airport London in the United Kingdom through British Airways 083 and were received by the Senator representing Cross River North Senatorial District, Jarigbe Agom, a member of the House of Representatives, Peter Akpanke, family members and other stakeholders.

The remains of the former Nigerian Senate President (1979-1983) were on board from Heathrow Airport London in the United Kingdom via British Airways 083 and arrived at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport Abuja, Wednesday, at 4:40 am (Local time).

Late Wayas was born on 21 May 1941, and died on 30th November 2021 in a London hospital, following a protracted illness.

While addressing journalists on receiving the body, Senator Jarigbe, expressed appreciation and thanked the Governor of Cross River State, Prince Bassey Otu for facilitating the return of the body of Wayas from London, adding that he is confident that the governor will give the former elder statesman a befitting burial.

Jarigbe said: “We have come to receive the body of late Senate President, Joseph Wayas, who died two and half years ago, and we just succeeded in bringing the body back to the country through the efforts of the Governor of Cross River State, His Excellency, Prince Bassey Otu.

“We are going to prepare for the funeral, report back to the Governor, and the Governor is going to take it up from there because the late statesman is the responsibility of the government and he will be accorded a state burial.”

Read also: Udumeze Ohafia, Prof. Imaga for burial July 6

However, he said the issues that caused the delay in flying in the body of the late Senate President for all this while “have been sorted out finally.”

Meanwhile, the lawmaker also thanked the stakeholders in Cross River North led by the Convener, Dr Doncklaimz Enamhe, for their collaborative effort and support as he proceeded to sign the condolence register at the Wayas’ Asokoro residence in Abuja.

Also speaking, the member representing Obanliku/Bekwarra/Obudu Federal Constituency, Hon. Peter Akpanke, also said, “We are here to deposit the corpse of our political father, mentor, and former Senate President, Dr Joseph Wayas, his body was flown today into Abuja from the United Kingdom, UK, and was received by the Distinguished Senator and all of us. So we came to the mortuary and the corpse has been deposited.”

On the contributions of the Late Senate President to his people and national development, Hon Akpanke noted that “He was a two-term Senate President without impeachment, impacted the lives of most of the people today, and he brought them up. Like FC Obudu, he brought that school and built a lot of leaders today, and he was our political leader.”

Meanwhile, the Convener, Who is Who Forum of Northern Cross River, Dr Doncklaimz Enamhe, expressed gratitude to God for resolving everything that caused the delay, and immensely appreciated the Governor of Cross River State, Senator Bassey Otu for his intervention that made everything to go well in ensuring that the body of the former leader and statesman is flown back to Nigeria, and for befitting burial soon.

“The people of Northern Cross River under the aegis of Who is Who Forum of Northern Cross River realised that our father and our leader who had passed on two years and nine months back was still in a London morgue.

“So the first thing we did was to allay the fears of Nigerians by going to view the corpse, which we did in London, then now we have brought back our father.

“We want to thank our Governor, Prince Bassey Otu, for all that he has done to make this possible. Governor Otu has been very visible in making sure that the corpse of our leader is brought back home and making sure that it is given a befitting burial, he even promised a State burial when we paid him a courtesy call.

“Everything has been resolved because the family is back, our leader is here, now we will bury him, and every family has issues once in a while, the good is that God has a way of resolving issues.

“When all of us met the corpse of our father we all became sober, weeping and crying, and to God be the glory our Senator, House of Rep Member, and Governor, they are all together with the Federal Government, the Senate President, and everybody is going to give Rt Hon Joseph Wayas, two-term Senate President and acting President a befitting burial.”

He also acknowledged the enormous contributions made by the former Nigeria’s Senate President, “The greatest impact he made was more in education and building people; the Federal College in Obudu is the greatest employer of labour in northern Cross River, and this is one of his greatest achievements as a leader from our extraction, we owe him that; people have graduated, working, families have seen their living through there, and there are so many things he did.

“Most of all, he was a wonderful man, a giver, a kind-hearted person, he loved people, and he did not want controversy, and that is why we are going to bury him in peace.”

Family members, followers, friends, and associates could not control their emotions as the body of the late lawmaker was being deposited at the Morgue.

Other stakeholders and leaders in attendance include; Senator Eteng Jonah Williams, Rt. Hon. Mike Etaba, Ntufam Fidelis Ugbo, Jonny Agim, SAN, Hon Cletus Obun, among others.

Read also: House of Representatives adjourns in honour of Late Olaide Akinremi

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