Thursday, June 9, 2011

Ekpo Eyo's Transition update

Body arrives 15 June, burial in Lagos, 1 July

The body of Prof Ekpo Eyo, who passed on at his home in Maryland, USA; on Sunday, 29 May, 2011; will arrive in Nigeria on 15 June. Ekpo Eyo was, until 2006, a Professor of Archaeology at University of Maryland in the US. He had earlier, from 1967 to 1986, served as Nigeria’s museum chief for a record 18 uninterrupted years.

Although official announcement is still being awaited from his family, it has been gathered that burial will take place in Lagos on 1 July. The interment will be preceded, the previous day (30 June), by other activities, including a Service of Songs at Presbyterian Church Tinubu.

The late Prof Eyo, the first Nigerian-born head of the National Commission for Museums and Monuments (NCMM); hailed from Adak-uko in Creek Town, Western Calabar; but, he lived and worked for decades in Lagos. Before relocating to Ikoyi, his home used to be at a perpendicular, where Ibidun Street makes a junction with Cole Street, off Western Avenue, in Surulere. He is survived by his Yoruba-born widow, Augusta; and, their children.

Prof Ekpo Eyo had his primary education at a Presbyterian elementary school in Creek Town, before enrolling for secondary education at Duke Town Secondary School both in Calabar. He later proceeded to Cambridge University for further studies, and after returning home worked at the then Department of Antiquities, later renamed National Commission for Museums and Monuments; until his retirement in 1986.

Reacting to Prof Eyo’s passage, Mrs. Anthonia Kehinde Fatunsin, Nigeria’s first female archaeologist, rued: “Nigeria has lost a highly dedicated and foremost archaeologist and museologist; and, the vacuum would be hard to fill”. Mrs. Fatunsin, who retired from the NCMM in 2006, added: “He lived a much fulfilled life; but, it is sad that he is no more”. All the same, she declared; “thank God for Prof Ekpo Eyo’s life. May his soul rest in peace”.


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