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Nigerian government suspends plans to honour late Stephen Keshi

The Nigeria government says it is suspending a move to honour late Stephen Keshi until after the Rio 2016 Olympics.

The former Super Eagles coach died on June 8 in Benin City of a suspected heart ailment.

The AFCON 2013 winning coach will be laid to rest on Friday in his hometown in Delta state, beginning with a lying in state on Benin City on Thursday.

The Federal Government has now said it will play its own part for the late soccer icon after the Rio 2016 Olympic Games because of a combination of factors.

“We don’t want a haphazard burial for such a great patriot, that is why the Minister of Sports, Solomon Dalung, has said the FG will play its own part after the Olympics”, declared Ministerial Special Adviser, Nneka Ikem Anibeze.

“We will unveil details after the games,” she added.

The Keshi family is however going ahead with the burial plans beginning with a Church Service on Thursday, July 28 at St’ Paul Catholic Church, Benin City by 9am. After that the late ‘Big Boss’ as Keshi was fondly called in his playing and coaching days will be moved to the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium,   where a novelty match will be held in his honour, followed by his body lying in state for his numerous admirers to pay their last respect. The match is being organized by his former teammates led by Austin Eguavoen, who has also captained and coach the national team.

After that the body moves to Asaba, the Delta State capital, where his body will again lie in state at the Stadium named after him by former Delta State Governor, Emmanuel Uduaghan on Nnebisi Road.

From Asaba, the body will leave for Illah, his homestead. On entering Illah, the body will be received by the Obi of Illah, HRH Obi Gbemudu along with his high chiefs. Keshi himself was a high chief of the Illah kingdom. After that the body moves to St’ John, The Evangelist Catholic Church for a requiem mass. Next port of call will be his home in Illah, where the body will again lie in state for an hour before internment at the same venue.

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