The burial of a former Plateau State governor and pioneer National Chairman of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Chief Solomon Lar, which was tentatively fixed for tomorrow has been postponed with a burial committee set up by the federal government to determine a new date for his interment.
Although details of the membership of the committee were not disclosed, a former Minister of Information, Professor Jerry Gana, was said to be actively involved in the burial arrangements.
THISDAY exclusively learnt from sources close to the family and embassy officials in Washington DC that Lar’s remains, tentatively slated for burial this week, would not be flown into the country now until the burial committee was satisfied with all arrangements to give him a befitting burial.
The body is, however, expected to arrive in Nigeria on Monday preparatory to the burial.
Earlier, THISDAY was told the late former governor’s daughter, Hon. Beni Lar, was co-ordinating activities for the burial at home.
Another daughter of the late Lar, simply identified as Dr. Lar, would accompany her father’s remains from Virginia State to Plateau State along with other dignitaries, including the widow, Mary Lar and daughter, Deborah, as soon as the committee was ready for the funeral.
Last Sunday, a service of songs was held at the premises of the Nigerian Embassy with Nigeria’s Ambassador to the United States, Ade Adefuye and his Canadian counterpart, Ambassador Ojo Maduekwe, in attendance.
In a telephone discussion with THISDAY, Adefuye reiterated what he said at the service of songs that the embassy would be actively involved in the burial arrangements.
He said two embassy officials had already been positioned to liaise with all those involved in the burial arrangements in the US and at home.
Adefuye said it was the responsibility of the federal government to sponsor the return of Lar’s corpse back home because of the robust role he played in forming the United Middle-Belt Congress, adding that “taking care of the cost of the body's transfer to Nigeria is the right thing for the government to do.”
The widow had told the congregation that her husband had always desired the unity of Plateau State and the country as a whole.
Maduekwe, who described the late Lar as a great emancipator and peacemaker, made allusions to the civil war, which he said, could have been prevented if the late Lar’s advice had been heeded.
The remains of Lar, which were expected to arrive Nigeria last weekend, will now be flown in on Monday.
Executive Secretary to Lar Foundation and media adviser to the late governor, Major Adeyi, told journalists in Jos yesterday, that the shift in date was necessitated by the two-day Sallah break, which slowed down the preparations to receive the body.
He said: “Government officials said the Sallah holiday affected logistics and they would need some more time to prepare a reception; so Monday has now been slated for the body to arrive.”
Adeyi added that the family of the deceased, the Plateau State Government, the federal government and the PDP were making plans not only to receive the body but also to conduct subsequent funeral rites for the late statesman.