President Muhammadu Buhari has sent his condolences to the government and people of Katsina State over the death of Ismaila Isa Funtua.
In a statement released by presidential spokesperson, Garba Shehu, on Monday, the president described the deceased as “greatly admired and respected’’.
Premium Times reported that the close associate of Mr Buhari died on Monday night while keeping a doctor’s appointment, according to family sources.
The Katsina-born newspaper publisher and industrialist was a minister under the civilian administration of Shehu Shagari.
A member of the 1994-1995 Constitutional Conference, he was also the founder of Bulet International Nigeria Limited, which built some of the iconic public buildings in Abuja.
According to the statement, Mr Buhari received with deep sadness information on the passing of his longtime friend and associate, who was Life Patron of International Press Institute and Newspapers Proprietors Association of Nigeria (NPAN).
President Buhari said his demise has created a huge gap as Malam Funtua consistently stood by the president in his political journey.
The president prayed to Allah for the repose of Mr Funtua’s soul, and to grant the family strength and fortitude to bear the loss.
Condolence messages pour in
Also, a former Vice President and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) 2019 Presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, has commiserated with the family of Mr Funtua.
In a statement released on Twitter on Tuesday morning, he said, “Inna lillahi wa inna Ilaihi Rajiun! On behalf of my family, I convey my deepest condolences to the Funtua family over the loss of its patriarch, Ismaila lsa Funtua.
“May Allah forgive his sins and grant him Aljannah Firdaus. I pray for the needed comfort and strength for his family, friends and associates to bear the loss. Ameen,” he added.
In his message, a former Senate President, Bukola Saraki, also commiserated with the family of Mr Funtua.
In a statement released on Monday night, Mr Saraki said, “Inalilahi Wa Ina Ilaehi Rajihun. I condole with His Excellency, President @MBuhari GCFR, on the death of Alhaji Ismaila Isa Funtua. As a valued associate of my late father, Alhaji Funtua always made himself available as a fountain of wisdom.
“He was always ready to offer his advice and give a fresh perspective to issues. I will miss him and the country will miss a detribalised Nigerian and symbol of national unity that he was.
“My condolences go to his family, his associates, the people and government of Katsina State and the entire country. May Almighty Allah (SWT) forgive his sins and grant him a place in Aljannah Firdaus”, he added.
Former senator representing Bayelsa East constituency, Ben Murray-Bruce, in a post on Twitter on Monday said, “I am saddened by the death of my brother and senior colleague, Mallam Isa Funtua. I spoke to him just three hours before his reported death, and he promised to further call me tomorrow. I pray that God comforts his family and loved ones, and may his soul rest in peace.”
Also, a former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, in a statement on Twitter on Monday said,”Malam Ismaila Isa Funtua was a Distinguished elder statesman, media icon, construction magnate, industrialist & a patriot whose legacies are too numerous to list. My condolences to his family, friends, associates, the people & Govt of Katsina state. May his soul rest in peace.”