Gani to be Buried with Coffin, Says Family
•Ajibola decries lying-in-state
From Tunde Saani in Ibadan and Charles Ajunwa in Lagos, 09.14.2009
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Saheed, the second son of the late legal icon, Chief Gani Fawehinmi (SAN), yesterday disclosed that his father had instructed family members that his remains should be buried with a coffin when he dies.
Gani had lost the spirited battle with lung cancer on Saturday September 5. His remains will be buried tomorrow in Ondo, his hometown, after the lying-in-state ceremonies in Lagos and Benin, Edo State.
Saheed told THISDAY that his late father had said his corpse should not be buried immediately and that his burial should be done in “a modern Islamic way”, which will allow his body to lie in state.
He also said his dad instructed them to continue with the good works he did while alive.
But former Attorney-General of the Federation and Justice Minister, Prince Bola Ajibola, has said the lying-in-state ceremonies held for the late Gani were anti-Islam.
Ajibola’s position tallied with that of the Executive Secretary of the Muslim Ummah of South-west Nigeria (MUSWEN), Prof. Dawud Noibi. The duo spoke at the body’s First Annual Lecture held in Ibadan.
Saheed said: “He asked not to be buried immediately as they did in the olden days. He instructed us to bury him in a modern Islamic way and he asked for that to be done when he was no more. Also, he said that his body should be buried with a coffin and as you can see we are merely carrying out his instructions. Again, he specially said that everything he did must continue.”
He said the late legal luminary asked the family to continue to give assistance to the disabled in society.
Such assistance, according to him, should include monthly feeding, monetary gifts and legal help to the less-priviledged.
Members of the Arewa United Association, Cripple Anti-beggars Association and the Emir of Lagos for the blind, Seriki Markifi Abdulhamidu Haruna, were at the Ikeja residence of the legal luminary for the muslim Fidau prayers held in his honour.
Leader of the anti-beggars association, Alhaji Abubakar Mohammed, who was accompanied by other cripples, said the late Gani used to give them monetary assistance which had helped some of then to become self-employed or independent.
He said: “We are here because our father is dead. For Nigeria, we will not get a person like Baba again because any time we have problem we run to him. I think we will never have anybody like Baba again. Our only prayer is for God to help his family.”
In Ibadan, prayers were, however, offered for Gani at the Ramadan lecture with a declaration that his death at the holy month of Ramadan was a ticket to Paradise for him.
According to Ajibola, the good deeds of the deceased social crusader and the post humus encomiums on him even by the less-privileged were enough evidence that he had a blessed life and should be allowed to go back to His Creator without delay.
“In Islam, we are enjoined to bury our dead without any form of delay. I am surprised at this funfare over the burial of Chief Gani Fawehinmi and I think he ought to be accorded speedy burial rites so that he can start to benefit from the favours of Allah in the grave,” he said.
Noibi congratulated Gani’s children and family for the life of their breadwinner, urging them to emulate his virtues.
Like Ajibola, the don, however, picked hole in the funfare trailing his death, saying it was totally against Islam.
“We are happy as muslims that Chief Gani Fawehinmi lived a worthy life. We are however unhappy that at a time he should be given speedy burial to reunite with his Lord, his lifeless corpse is being taken everywhere for the fun of it. This is clearly unIslamic. It is hoped that other persons would draw a lesson and order that their corpse should be buried in record time when they die,” he said.
Clerics at the occasion like the Chief Imam of Owo in Ondo State, Alhaji Ahmed Olagoke Aladesawe, and Prof. Kamaldeen Balogun, in their sermons, called on muslims to allow their ways of life to be guided by the tenets of the religion regardless of their respective status in the society.
"For us to be part of those who will enter Paradise at the end of our sojourn in this world, all we need to do is to see other muslims as our brethrens, give our religious leaders their due respect and shun any act of indiscipline," he said.