Ndubuisi Kanu’s wife battles older children, co-wife, Navy over late husband’s burial arrangements

Ndubuisi Kanu’s wife battles older children, co-wife, Navy over late husband’s burial arrangements

All is not well in the household of the late Rear Admiral Ndudusi Kanu as his wives, children and the Nigerian Navy where he retired from, are in batt

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All is not well in the household of the late Rear Admiral Ndudusi Kanu as his wives, children and the Nigerian Navy where he retired from, are in battle over his burial arrangements.

One of his wives, Gladys Kanu, with whom he strode the social circuit with while he was still alive, filed a law suit against her late husband’s children, the Nigerian Navy and her co-wife.

The plaintiff is seeking an order of the court to direct the respondents, their agents or privies, not to threaten her and to allow her properly prepare for the burial slated for Friday, Oct. 15.

The respondents to the suit include; Kelly Kanu, the Nigerian Navy, Simone Abiona (Nee Kanu), Andrey Joe- Ezigbo (nee Kanu), Paul Ndidiamaka Kanu and Karen Johnson (Nee Kanu).

Others are Jeffery Kanu, Laura Kanu, Stephen Kanu and Josephine Ndubuisi-Kanu (wife).

The plaintiff who described herself as the only legal wife of the deceased said her and her late spouse were still co-habiting until his passing.

“We wedded legally in the church, I was married to him for 27-years but I was with him for 31-years,” she said.

She said that the first son of her late husband, Mr Kelly Kanu had taken over their property in their village at Ovim, Abia.

“My matrimonial home at Ovim was taken over by Kelly, he broke into my room and changed the locks. I no longer have the keys of my home at Ovim that I stayed with my husband for Christmas, Kelly has the keys.

“He changed the locks and I do not have anywhere to stay at Ovim, he sent away the caretaker of our Ovim home who had lived there for 40-years,” she said.

Gladys informed the court that one Jeffrey who she described as Kelly’s 38-year-old younger sibling who lived with her and her late spouse also broke doors in their Lagos home.

Following the suit, Christopher Balogun, judge of an Ikeja high court, then ordered  the Nigerian Navy not to release the corpse of Kanu, in order to prevent the corpse from being tampered with.

The judge had, on October 7, given an order that the navy should not release Kanu’s corpse until otherwise directed, following a suit filed by Gladys Kanu, one of the wives of the deceased, against Kanu’s children, the Nigerian Navy and her co-wife.

“It is for the protection of the body itself so that no one goes to tamper with that body which is to be buried this Saturday,” the judge said.

“There is not going to be any change of date of that burial, but we are protecting the body. That is the only order I gave so that there will be no intermeddlers and interlopers and going to the Nigerian Navy and saying they were told to come and collect the body, and we do not see the body of our dear ex-governor any longer.

“It is a protective order. I also said that if this controversy lingers and there is no proper cohesion among the lawyers to the parties, it will cause some confusion in Abia state on the date of the burial.

“I gave a direction and all counsel present said that it was a good advice. I am concerned that the body of our ex-governor is given a befitting burial, so no one should tamper with the body.”

However, in a fresh ruling on Monday, the court ordered the Nigerian Navy to convey Kanu’s body from Lagos to Imo and hand the corpse over to the state government prior to the burial.

The judge also said the interment originally slated for October 16 will now take place on October 15 due to security concerns.

“The Nigerian Navy shall prepare the corpse in full regalia of a rear admiral and shall fly and carry his remains from the military mortuary in Ojo, Lagos on Wednesday, 13th October, and proceed to the Muritala Mohammed International Airport,” he said.

“The remains shall be flown to the Sam Mbakwe International Airport, Owerri, Imo state, where the body will be identified by the ‘Ada’ of the family. It shall then proceed to the government house to be received by the Imo state governor and the wives and family of the late rear admiral and people of Imo state.”

The judge also said the corpse would thereafter be taken for the lying-in-state at the government house chapel and must be kept “intact” at the government house hospital morgue in Owerri, Imo, in the custody of the Imo state government, before it is moved to Abia for a state burial.

“It is noted that the respective parties — the wives, the first son, the ‘Ada’ and all the other children — shall be entitled to participate jointly in the burial rites of their late husband and father. All traditional rites shall be performed accordingly. It is now also ordered that all the parties are bound to keep the peace,” he added.

Kanu, who was a former military administrator of Lagos and a pro-activist, died on January 13, 2021, at the age of 77.

Meanwhile, Mrs Nnenna Abiona, the first daughter of the late ex-Military Governor of Lagos and Imo, Rear Admiral Ndubuisi Kanu (rtd) said her father would be upset about the legal dispute in the family over his burial arrangements.

She explained that her mother was the first lady during the deceased reign as the military Governor of Lagos and that her parents were divorced under native law and custom and that the union produced seven offspring.

“All we are trying to do is that we bury our father from day one. We were brought to court, it was a shock to us. It is a great dishonour,” she said.

Abiona said that she wanted to partake in the funeral rites of the late ex-Lagos Military Administrator as the ‘Ada’ of the family in accordance with Igbo laws and customs.

Audrey Joe-Ezigbo, the second daughter of the deceased described the suit as a gross misrepresentation and that the family had no issue with the plaintiff partaking in the funeral rites of the deceased.

“Our father was a very traditional man and he would have wanted the rites of his children to be accorded to them,” she said.

Addressing the court, Mrs Gladys Ndubuisi-Kanu, the plaintiff and one of the wives of the deceased described herself as the only legal wife.

She said her and her late spouse were still co-habiting until his passing.

“We wedded legally in the church, I was married to him for 27-years but I was with him for 31-years,” she said.

She said that the first son of her late husband, Mr Kelly Kanu had taken over their property in their village at Ovim, Abia.

“My matrimonial home at Ovim was taken over by Kelly, he broke into my room and changed the locks. I no longer have the keys of my home at Ovim that I stayed with my husband for Christmas, Kelly has the keys.

“He changed the locks and I do not have anywhere to stay at Ovim, he sent away the caretaker of our Ovim home who had lived there for 40-years,” she said.

Gladys informed the court that one Jeffrey who she described as Kelly’s 38-year-old younger sibling who lived with her and her late spouse also broke doors in their Lagos home.