By Soni Daniel & Samuel Oyadongha
Yenagoa – Governor Seriake Dickson of Bayelsa State, Wednesday, said the former National Security Adviser, late Gen. Andrew Azazi, would be given a befitting state burial.
He will be buried on Saturday, December 29 in Yenagoa.
The decision of the Bayesa State government to accord Azazi a state burial was in recognition of his enviable record of service to the state and country.
Dickson, in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr Daniel Iworiso-Markson, stated this while approving the burial programme of the late General in Yenagoa.
The governor said: “In view of the late General Azazi‘s illustrious military career and his remarkable contributions to Bayelsa State and Nigeria as a whole, his remains would be laid to rest at the Ijaw National Heroes Park in Yenagoa, the state capital. This is to demonstrate our respect and high regard for General Azazi as a true hero of Ijaw nation.”
The burial arrangement would kick off tomorrow, with service of songs at the Peace Park in Yenagoa, commendation service the next day, Saturday and interment at noon followed by reception for guests/dignitaries.
Family wants him buried in his village
Meanwhile, it was learnt that the family had wanted the body of Azazi buried in his home village of Peretorugbene in Ekeremor Local Government Area of Bayelsa State in line with the tradition of the area.
They argued that since their son died in a helicopter crash, the body should be given to the family to bury in line with their tradition not minding the top ranks he occupied in the army and the polity.
However, it was leant that the Nigerian Army, which regards late Gen. Azazi as one of its heroes, pleaded that the burial be done in the state capital to enable its officers and men to accord their departed hero full military honours in line with their tradition.
At one of the meetings in Yenagoa, yesterday, the army pointed out the huge logistic challenges that would be involved in taking the body of the late General and hordes of military personnel and equipment to Peretorugbene for the burial.
They argued that if the burial was done in Peretorugbene, it would not be possible to ferry in the number of personnel and personalities expected to perform and grace the occasion because of the rough tide at this time of the year.
The officers were said to have pointed out that the burial of an outstanding officer like Azazi should be done in a place where the top brass of all arms of the Defence Ministry, where he served as Chief of Army Staff, Chief of Defence Staff and lately, National Security Adviser, should be able to attend in large number to accord him the last respect.
Vanguard learnt that the governor’s timely intervention prevented another round of meeting that was slated for the night between the military top brass and some family members on the matter.
The burial arrangement would kick off December 28, with service of songs at the Peace Park in Yenagoa, commendation service holds the next day , December 29, with internment and state reception for guest/dignitaries.
The approved official burial arrangements are as follows:
Friday 28, December 2012
1. Service of Songs
Venue: Peace Park, Yenagoa
Time: 5pm Prompt
2. Entertainment of Invited Guests/Dignitaries
Venue: Government House, Banquet Hall
Saturday 29th December 2012
1. Commendation Service
Venue: Peace Park, Yenagoa
In view of the Late General Azazi ‘s illustrious Military career and his remarkable contributions to Bayelsa State and Nigeria as a whole, his remains will be laid to rest at the Ijaw National Heroes Park in Yenagoa, the State capital. This is to clearly demonstrate our respect and high regard for General Andrew Owoye Azazi as a true hero of the Ijaw Nation.
3. State Reception for Guests/Dignitaries
Time: 2pm prompt