Tears and tributes poured in torrent in Benin City, the Edo State capital, on Friday as the remains of Grace Onaiwu Omoigui were interred.
Mrs Omogui, more popularly called ‘Mama G’ by her family, friends and beneficiaries of her humanitarian work, embarked on her home journey after family, friends and sympathisers lavishly celebrated the life of sacrifice, example and service to humanity she lived.
There were farewell songs, tributes and prayers in abundance as dignitaries from all parts of the country – diplomats, politicians, clergy, traditional rulers, civil society activists, anti-corruption promoters and ordinary citizens converged to eulogise and bid her goodbye.
Led by the Governor of Edo State, Godwin Obaseki and the Deputy Governor Philip Shaibu; the funeral ceremonies also brought other very important personalities such as the former Governor of Edo State, Adams Oshiomhole; the National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress, John Odigie-Oyegun; a former Chairman of Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Nuhu Ribadu; Executive Chairman of Federal Inland Revenue Service, Babatunde Fowler; and the Bishop of the Church of God Mission International, Margaret Idahosa amongst others.
The public lying-in-state as well as music and tributes programmes held in the morning and afternoon at the SIO Events Centre on Red Cross Road in Benin City while the funeral mass held in the evening at Saint Paul’s Catholic Church on Airport Road, also in Benin.
In his brief homily at the funeral mass, the Parish Priest of the church, Paul Enow, said that there was life after death and therefore, offered prayer for the repose of the soul of the deceased and her acceptance for eternal life.
The church programme particularly witnessed the filing and paying of last respect to the deceased by all those in attendance.
Earlier, during a bouquet of tributes and songs, Charles Ajuya, a former aide of the deceased, read a letter that emotionally touched the audience, which he said she personally wrote to her at a time, to show her kind-heartedness.
In another tribute, Andy Okosun, on behalf of the management and staff of Dagomo Foundation, established by Mrs. Omoigui, declared December 28 of every year, the date of Mrs Omoigui’s post-humous birthday, as a day for free elderly care in honour of the deceased.
He further declared the non-governmental organization’s commitment to staying true to the deceased’s resolve to always uphold justice, which was synonymous with her work in Lagos as a magistrate and also behind her challenge of the armed robbers who attacked and shot her in Benin.
Mrs Omoigui, teacher, lawyer, magistrate and a lover of music, died in a Lagos hospital on November 19, 2016 from gunshot wounds she suffered during an attack by dare devil armed robbers in Benin City, Edo State, on October 24, 2016.