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3 years after, ex-Senate President Wayas’ corpse arrives Nigeria

The corpse of former Senate President Joseph Wayas has finally arrived in Nigeria from the United Kingdom, three years after he died.

Converseer learned that Wayas’ remains arrived at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport in Abuja from Heathrow Airport London, United Kingdom, onboard British Airways BA O83, on Wednesday morning.

According to The Beagle News, Wayas’ corpse was received at about 4 am by the Who’s Who Forum of Northern Cross River, an elite body facilitating the funeral arrangement.

In a statement signed by Doncklaimz Enamhe, Convener of the Who’s Who Forum of Northern Cross River, the elite body could not sit back and watch the world make a mockery of the abandoned corpse of the late sage abroad for whatever reason(s), hence the involvement of the group.

“All that this group has done was borne out of a patriotic zeal to intervene and assist in the burial processes.

“The same goodwill that saw us intervene in the Belegete crisis and the recent one in Yala is what has spurred us on.

“We had no intention whatsoever to usurp any role that should be played by the family.

“Therefore, our intervention should not be misconstrued as interlopers whose intention is to hijack the burial of the Second Republic’s number three citizen, the late Joseph Wayas.

“However, if in the process of our intervention, any untoward action or statement was made that is injurious to the family, we sincerely apologise.

“At this point, we are calling on all of us including the family to close ranks let us collaborate with the federal, state, and local governments including the traditional council to commence and bring the final burial rites to a closure.

“It is a win-win situation for everyone. Our Hero will be laid to rest befittingly beside his ancestors and we will have a place to point to and say here lies our Hero.

“We wish to say a big thank you to President Bola Tinubu GCFR, Senate President Godswil Akpabio CON, Governor Bassey Otu of Cross River State, Senator Jarigbe Agom, and Rt. Hon. Abike Dabri, Chairman/CEO of Nigerians in Diaspora Commission, for their immense contribution to this course.

“Our gratitude goes to the office of the Nigeria High Commission, especially to Ambassador Sarafat Tunji Isola the High Commissioner, the London team led by Aunty Echiko Odey, Capt. Afen Idagu, Chief Okom John Okom, and co-Convener, Johnny Agim SAN, who have demonstrated the highest level of commitment to service.

“May I use this medium to thank the chairman of the burial committee former Acting Chief Judge of Cross River State, His Lordship Justice Maurice Eneji, who had been relentless in his commitment to this course.

“We also thank our father, the legal icon and former attorney general of Nigeria, Mr philanthropist, Senator Kanu Agabi CON, and the people of Northern Cross River State for going all out to believe in community service and being our brother’s keepers,” the statement sighed by Enamhe read.

3 years after, ex-Senate President Wayas' corpse arrives Nigeria
Former Senate President Joseph Wayas

Speaking to journalists on the arrival of the body of the elder statesman, Senator Jarigbe Agom Jarigbe, Senator representing Cross River North, expressed appreciation and thanked the Governor of Cross River State, Senator (Prince) Bassey Otu, for facilitating the return of the body of the late former Senate President from London, adding that he was confident that the governor will give the elder statesman a befitting burial.

“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,” Jarigbe said.

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 leadership of the Who is Who 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.”

On his part, Governor Bassey Otu said his administration has settled several issues before the remains of former Senate President Wayas could be repatriated to the country.

This was disclosed in a statement by Nsa Gill, Chief Press Secretary to the Governor on Wednesday.

“It is also on record that all issues around the burial have been resolved by the Governor who sponsored a team to the United Kingdom to bring the corpse back to Nigeria.

“The contributions of the Governor are the reason why we successfully repatriated the body.

“The Governor directed the two committees, that is the Who is Who Forum of Northern Cross River and the government committee, to come together to ensure the smooth repatriation of the body,” the statement said.

The statement disclosed that the governor had sent the duo of Johnny Agim, SAN, and Echiko Odey to the United Kingdom to liaise with Miss Donna Wayas, first daughter of late Dr Wayas, based in the UK, and finalise all issues.

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

Converseer reports that following Wayas’ illness which got him admitted to the London hospital, and public outcry, the then Commissioner for Health, Dr Betta Edu, under the directives of former Governor Ben Ayade, visited the hospital and took photos with him in November 2020, and later abandoned him even at his death.

3 years after, ex-Senate President Wayas' corpse arrives Nigeria
Dr Betta Edu (Left), with ailing former Senate President Joseph Wayas

Wayas later died on 30th November 2021, in a London hospital following a protracted illness at age 80 which he has been battling since 2013.

Before his death, Wayas was Nigeria’s Senate President during the Nigerian Second Republic from 1st October 1979 to 31st December 1983.

Wayas was born on 21st May 1941, in Basang, Obudu Local Government Area of Cross River State.

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Frank Ulom
Frank Ulom
Frank Ulom is an experienced Journalist, Blogger and Writer with several years of experience. His stories are based on community development and have brought positive change across board.

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