Governor Rochas Okorocha has expressed reservations at the manner the family of the late quintessential jurist, Hon. Justice Chukwudifu Oputa, has turned the man’s burial into a family affair, even after government had advanced them N20 million.
Okorocha, who made his feelings known through a press statement signed by his Senior Special Assistant, SSA, on Media, Mr. Sam Onwuemeodo, also said he was reacting to the obituary notice signed by Justice Oputa’s son, Charly Boy.
“Already the state government has given N20 million to the family for preliminary arrangements, waiting to meet with the family to come up with a comprehensive burial programme that would demonstrate what the hero of the bench had stood for, but surprisingly, the family drew a programme of events for the burial and to us, that was not what Nigerians expected from us,” Okorocha fumed.
The governor said he expected that the family would liaise with him to come up with a burial arrangement or programme that would suit what the late Justice represented in Nigeria and Imo State in particular.
“Reducing the burial arrangement of the late statesman totally to Oputa family affair is unacceptable to Imo State government,” Okorocha said.
“Imo State government had had at the back of its mind that a man of Justice Chukwudifu Oputa’s standard should be accorded a heroic burial because he conquered his world in all spheres, but it is regrettable that the Oputa family does not seem to appreciate what their son or father represented in the Nigeria context,” Okorocha said.
He recalled that he was at the Oguta country home of the late Oputa barely 24 hours after the death became public and promised that he would meet with the family to plan a befitting burial for the great jurist.
He advised the family not to politicise the burial of the exemplary jurist as he was not a politician or reduce the burial of a man as Justice Oputa to Oputa family affair. According to him, that will be most uncharitable to such a great man.