Nigeria: 1 000s gather for Ojukwu burial

2012-03-02 14:53
Dakar/Abuja - Thousands of Nigerians travelled to south-eastern Nigeria on Friday for the burial of Biafran independence leader Chukwuemeka Ojukwu, Nigerian television reported.

Ojukwu declared independence for the region of Biafra in 1967. The resulting civil war killed more than a million people, but many Nigerians still see Ojukwu as a legendary freedom fighter.

After losing his independence bid and being officially pardoned by the Nigerian government following a 13-year exile, Ojukwu returned to the political stage and ran twice for president.

Ojukwu, who was 78, died in England last year, but his multi-day funeral was only taking place now.

Television reported that a military band would be playing at the event. President Goodluck Jonathan was also expected to attend.

On Friday, the Nigerian newspaper The Vanguard said Ojukwu would be remembered for his "fearlessness, courage, outspokenness and stoic belief in justice, equity and fairness".

The newspaper applied a William Shakespeare quote to Ojukwu's death. "When beggars die, there are no comets seen, but the heavens themselves blaze forth the death of princes."

Last year, Jonathan praised Ojukwu as a man whose "love for his people forced him into the leading role he played in the Nigerian civil war."

Read more on:    goodluck jonathan  |  nigeria  |  west africa

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