Thursday, February 3, 2011

Akindele, Nigeria's envoy in Cotonou is dead

Akindele, Nigeria’s Ambassador to Benin Rep is dead

Nigeria’s Ambassador to Benin Republic, Lawrence Akindele, is dead. The passage was confirmed to members of the Cotonou chapter of Nigerians in Diaspora Organisation (NIDO), when the body visited the local Nigerian Embassy Thursday morning. 

Pa Abdul-Lateef Olujobi, NIDO General Secretary in Cotonou, who was at the Nigerian mission said a condolence register had been opened there for people to record their tributes. For many Nigerians, thrown into anxiety since news that Ambassador Akindele had taken seriously ill filtered out; the non-opening of Nigeria International School (NIS) for classes on Thursday was first sign that something was amiss, and when news of the top-flight diplomat’s transition was confirmed; many broke down and wept uncontrollably.

Akindele died at the age of 52 years, and his body has been deposited at the local university teaching hospital, Centre National d’Hopital Universite, (CENHU) opposite the State House in Cotonou. Ambassador Akindele succumbed to ailment suspected to be stress-related and died in Cotonou about 1am on Thursday, 03 February 2011; when plans had been concluded to fly him to Germany for treatment, after he took seriously ill a few days ago.

In a telephone conversation with NIDO, Cotonou President, Chief Emmanuel Uko Elendu, who said the community had already paid a condolence visit to the Nigerian embassy, added that he would relay further information to us after further contacts with the embassy.

When contacted, Chief Ebuka Onunkwo, Leader of Igbo Union in Benin Republic; described Ambassador Akindele’s passage as a terrible blow to the Nigerian community. Speaking further on what he also described as “a disaster to Nigerians in Benin Republic”; Chief Onunkwo lamented: “His death has created a gaping vacuum because Ambassador was a very good man. Apart from being an outstanding diplomat, he also stood out as a humane and very humble personality”.

Concluding, the Igbo leader remarked: “He ran an open-door policy and all Nigerians came to see in Ambassador Akindele; a friend, a brother and a father. In fact, words cannot describe the way I feel”.


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