Condoles with sports minister over wife’s death

President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday called and spoke with the minister of youth and sports development, Solomon Dalung, from London, where he is currently on vacation.

The president called to commiserate with the minister over the death of his wife, Mrs Briskila Dalung, who died after a brief illness in the early hours of January 29, 2017 in Jos, Plateau State.

President Buhari, who spoke to Dalung through the telephone, prayed God to grant the soul of the departed eternal rest.

The special assistant, media, to the minister, Nneka Anibeze, in a statement on behalf of the minister, said the president expressed shock at the death of Mrs Dalung at an unripe age and prayed that God would forgive her sins.

He also prayed to God to give the family she left behind the fortitude to bear the loss and promised to support the Dalung family in their moment of grief.

Dalung had on Sunday, announced the death of his wife on his Facebook page, with a post which reads: “I AM BEREAVED:  For it is appointed for man to live thereafter comes death and judgement says the Holy Bible. While in the Quran, it states that it is appointed that every soul shall taste death.

“My heart is heavy, I cannot continue, I lost my first wife this morning. May her soul and the souls of the faithful departed rest in the bosom of the lord, amen. What a black Sunday.”

There have been speculations about the president’s health since he left the country for his annual leave, with a section of the population calling on him to address the nation from his holiday destination. This is in spite of several photographs of the president receiving guests including Ogun State governor, Ibikunle Amosun.

The president’s wife, Hajiya Aisha Buhari also visited him in London last weekend.

Special adviser to the president on media and publicity, Femi Adesina, had in a statement announcing the president’s leave, said that: “During the vacation, the President will also undergo routine medical check-ups.”

He is expected to resume work on February 6, 2017.

Sympathisers from all walks of life have continued to troop Dalung’s Abuja residence to condole with him over the  unfortunate occurrence.

Among the early callers were the Ministers of Science and Technology, Dr. Ogbonaya Onu; Minister of FCT Mohammed Musa Bello; Minister of State for Solid Minerals, Mohammed Abubakar Bawa Bwari; Senior Special Assistant to the President on Political Affairs, Hon Gideon Samani; and Ambassador Anthem Wuyep.

Others are President of the Nigeria Olympic Committee (NOC), Engr Habu Gumel; a former governorship aspirant in Plateau State, Architect John Alkali; immediate past permanent secretary of the Ministry of Youth & Sports Development, Christian Chinyeaka Oha; and Director-general of the National Sports Institute (NSI), Dr Chukwu Eke, amongst others.

Earlier in the day, Dalung was welcomed back home from London and condoled by the entire directors of the ministry, led by the acting permanent secretary, Mr Abdul Razak Salawu.

Although final arrangements for the burial of the late Mrs Dalung were still being worked out by the family, it is certain that her burial would take place at Sabongida, Langtang South local government area of Plateau State on Saturday, February 4, 2017.

She is survived by five children and her husband.

Meanwhile, the Nigeria Tennis Federation in a condolence message to the minister signed by its president, Engr Sani Ndanusa, said: “This is to express our heart-felt condolence with the Sports Minister, Solomon Dalung, following the passing away of his wife. We share in your grief, knowing how painful it is to lose a pillar in one’s life, as in the case of your beloved wife who must have helped in molding a man of substance. We pray that you bear the fortitude of this irreparable loss while we also pray for the repose of the soul of the deceased.”

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