Lagos’ll give Ndubuisi Kanu befitting burial, says Sanwo-Olu

Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, on Friday said the State Government would participate fully in all the programmes leading to the final burial of the former Military Governor of the State, Rear Admiral Ndubuisi Kanu (rtd).

He said the State has set up a four-man committee led by the Commissioner of Information and Strategy, Mr. Gbenga Omotoso, to work with the deceased family and other stakeholders to immortalise and give late Ndubuisi Kanu a befitting passage of exit.

Ndubuisi Kanu, an elder statesman and leader of the National Democratic Coalition (NADECO) died on Wednesday at 77.

Speaking during a condolence visit to the family of Ndubuisi Kanu at the deceased residence in Victoria Island, Lagos, Governor Sanwo-Olu who was accompanied by his deputy, Dr. Obafemi Hamzat; the Secretary to the Lagos State Government (SSG), Mrs. Folasade Jaji; Chief of Staff, Mr. Tayo Ayinde and some members of the State Executive Council, described the late elder statesman as a detribalized Nigerian.   

He said: “He (Ndubusi Kanu) was a man that I personally had come to respect. He was a man that had supported our government from day one. He was a man that I personally respect, not because he is no more with us but he had been to my office on two occasions and had attended all of our events as a pillar of support.

“He was completely detribalised. He was a builder and a brother from across the Niger. He was a true Nigerian that we all need to celebrate. So, that is why we are here humbly for and on behalf of the government and people of Lagos State to reassure you that the State is solidly beside you in this time of grief.

“We and other stakeholders are right beside you because he was not just a man for one part, he was a national figure. We will work with other stakeholders to ensure that we immortalise and we give him a befitting passage of exit out of this world.”

Delivering the Lagos State Government condolence message to the deceased family, Dr. Hamzat hailed late Ndubuisi Kanu’s contribution to the State and Nigeria, noting that the former Military Governor was irreplaceable.

He said: “Rear Admiral Ndubuisi Kanu was one of those that laid the pillar of what we benefit today as the military governor in 1976. And most importantly, his contribution to what we are now benefitting in the country, which is democracy; because if people like him were in short supply, this country will not be like this.

“People like him, even though they are not many, stood firm. They went through all sorts of terrible things but they were good men. So for us in Lagos, we celebrate his life because we know that only God will live forever and that, we as human beings will come and exit the world at some point. But what is important is, what do you do with your life? I think we can say it boldly that our father lived a good life.”

Speaking on behalf of the deceased family, the widow of the late elder statesman, Mrs. Gladys Ndubuisi Kanu, appreciated the Lagos State Government for offering to finance the burial of his husband.

She praised the Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu’s administration for bringing a new face to governance in Lagos State.

She said: “Since this current government came into power, we have seen a lot of changes between the previous government and this one. This current government has achieved a lot. I admire the young governor. He is full of ideas and very hard working, and also his deputy. Thanks for the visit and for offering to finance the burial of our husband, father, grandfather, cousin and uncle.

“On a few occasions I have been with him (late husband) when he makes a call to his Excellency (Governor Sanwo-Olu) and he answered and they discussed. That is the way he has been participating with young, very hardworking governor of Lagos State.”

Also speaking at the event, the Secretary and spokesman of NADECO, Mr. Ayo Opadokun, hailed the deceased’s positive contribution to Lagos State and Nigeria, especially the role he played as a formidable force after the annulment of the June 12, 1993 presidential election and return of Nigeria to democratic path in May 29, 1999.

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A press statement by the Embassy on Friday, said: “During the visit, Townsend met with the Nigerian President’s Chief of Staff, Ibrahim Gambari, and National Security Adviser, Babagan Monguno, to discuss regional security issues and to express the command’s gratitude for the assistance provided during a hostage rescue operation last year.

“When we asked for their help, the Nigerian government answered the call. Our hostage recovery mission in October would have been impossible without their support.

“They quickly provided assistance that helped the U.S. military to save an American life. That is a strong example of our partnership with Nigeria.”

Townsend also met with senior military officials, including the Minister of Defence, Bashir Salihi Magash, and the Chief of Defence Staff, General Leo Irabor, to talk about on-going cooperation in the region and greater maritime security and threat mitigation.

Nigeria is a key partner in countering violent extremist organizations throughout the Lake Chad Basin.

Townsend said furthermore: “The bilateral relationship between Nigeria and the U.S. is built on several pillars including security cooperation.

“U.S. Africa Command will do our part to advance the security cooperation pillar, so that Nigerians can enjoy the more secure future they all deserve.”

As close partners, the U.S. and Nigeria have worked at ensuring the collaborative relationship continues to grow to include a commitment to interoperability. Nigeria purchased 12 A-29 Super Tucano light attack aircraft, which will be delivered later this year.

“Nigeria’s purchase of A-29 Super Tucano aircraft is another example of their commitment to interoperability and security in the region,” he added. “Our economic relationship with Nigeria is already strong, and we look forward to the continued strengthening of security relationships. Nigeria’s leaders understand the importance of a collaborative approach to ensuring stability in West Africa and partnering on areas of mutual interest.”

The Commander also met with the U.S. Ambassador to Nigeria, Mary Beth Leonard.

Leonard said: “General Townsend’s visit to Nigeria demonstrates the strategic importance the United States places on our bilateral relationship with Nigeria.

“Our security cooperation partnership with Nigeria’s military will strengthen the country’s capabilities to secure land and sea borders, enhance overall security, and combat terrorism in the North East.”

As part of the visit, Townsend participated in a wreath-laying ceremony at the Nigeria Military National Cemetery to honour those who have given their lives in the service of their nation.

During the visit, the delegation expressed their condolences for the seven service men killed in the crash of a Nigerian Air Force aircraft in Abuja.