Mrs Nnenna Abiona, the first daughter of the late ex-Military Governor of Lagos and Imo, Rear Admiral Ndubuisi Kanu (rtd) said her father would be upset about the legal dispute in the family over his burial arrangements.
Late Kanu died in Lagos on Jan. 13 at the age of 77 as a result of COVID-19 complications.
The Kanu family, had been involved in legal wranglings at an Ikeja High Court over his funeral arrangements which will take place in Lagos, Abia and Imo between Oct. 13 and 15.
One of the wives of the deceased, Mrs Gladys Kanu filed a lawsuit against the children of the deceased, the Nigerian Navy and her co-wife.
The plaintiff is seeking an order of the court to direct the respondents, their agents or privies, not to threaten her and to allow her properly prepare for the burial slated for Friday, Oct. 15.
The respondents to the suit include; Kelly Kanu, the Nigerian Navy, Simone Abiona (Nee Kanu), Andrey Joe- Ezigbo (nee Kanu), Paul Ndidiamaka Kanu and Karen Johnson (Nee Kanu).
Others are Jeffery Kanu, Laura Kanu, Stephen Kanu and Josephine Ndubuisi-Kanu (wife).
Introducing herself as the “Ada” (first daughter in Igbo Language) during Monday’s proceedings, Abiona said that the respondents were shocked by the lawsuit instituted by Gladys.
She explained that her mother was the first lady during the deceased reign as the military Governor of Lagos and that her parents were divorced under native law and custom and that the union produced seven offspring.
“All we are trying to do is that we bury our father from day one. We were brought to court, it was a shock to us. It is a great dishonour,”she said.
Abiona said that she wanted to partake in the funeral rites of the late ex-Lagos Military Administrator as the ‘Ada’ of the family in accordance with Igbo laws and customs.
Audrey Joe- Ezigbo, the second daughter of the deceased described the suit as a gross misrepresentation and that the family had no issue with the plaintiff partaking in the funeral rites of the deceased.
“Our father was a very traditional man and he would have wanted the rites of his children to be accorded to them,” she said.
Addressing the court, Mrs Gladys Ndubuisi-Kanu, the plaintiff and one of the wives of the deceased described herself as the only legal wife.
She said her and her late spouse were still co-habiting until his passing.
“We wedded legally in the church, I was married to him for 27-years but I was with him for 31-years,” she said.
She said that the first son of her late husband, Mr Kelly Kanu had taken over their property in their village at Ovim, Abia.
“My matrimonial home at Ovim was taken over by Kelly, he broke into my room and changed the locks. I no longer have the keys of my home at Ovim that I stayed with my husband for Christmas, Kelly has the keys.
“He changed the locks and I do not have anywhere to stay at Ovim, he sent away the caretaker of our Ovim home who had lived there for 40-years,” she said.
Gladys informed the court that one Jeffrey who she described as Kelly’s 38-year-old younger sibling who lived with her and her late spouse also broke doors in their Lagos home.
In order to settle the ongoing dispute, Justice Christopher Balogun asked two Igbo Community leaders from Ovim in Abia to give a “step by step” explanation of the roles of some members of the Kanu family in the traditional rites.
As at the time of filing this report (5.46pm) the family and their lawyers are in the courtroom trying to settle the dispute over the deceased’s burial arrangements.