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The minister of youth and sports development. Sunday Dare, has joined millions of Nigerians to paid glowing tributes to the mother of late Super Eagles player, Samuel Okwaraji, Mrs Janet Okwaraji who died at the age of 83.
The 83 –year old retired school teacher, who also a community leader and devout Christian, passed on to the great beyond after a brief illness on May 23 at her home in Enugu state.
Dare assured that the sports ministry will offer all necessary support to the family to give her a befitting burial.
“The death of Mrs Okwaraji came to me with rude shock coming at a time when we had concluded plans for her monthly allowance. It is so sad and painful that she died when we had just visited her and put in a place a monthly welfare package’’ he said.
‘’She was such a strong and courageous woman who took the death of her son in her strides. Considering the circumstance of her son’s death, she exhibited a great spirit. May her soul Rest In Peace.”
Recall, the minister had sent her cash gift, provision and food items. He also made a commitment to be paying her monthly allowance alongside the mothers of Rashidi Yekini, Alijeje Ibrahim and mother of late quarter miler Sunday Bada.
Dare’s gesture to Okwaraji’s mother came almost 31 years after the demise of her son. The dreadlocked player collapsed and died in August 1989 during a 1990 World Cup Qualifier against Angola inside the main Bowl of the National Stadium, Surulere, Lagos.
In the same vein, general secretary of the NFF, Dr. Mohammed Sanusi, expressed the deep pain of the NFF and the Nigerian Football family on the death of Mrs Janet Okwaraji.
“We are deeply pained to receive this notice of the passing of Mrs Okwaraji. Only last month, we resolved to appreciate and support the noble gesture of the Hon. Minister by providing a further N30,000 monthly stipend to the mothers of Samuel (Okwaraji) and Rashidi (Yekini). It is sad that Mrs Okwaraji had to leave us at this time.
According to him “However, our joy is that she lived to a relatively ripe age, and left good memories of herself through her good works. We can never forget that she gave Nigeria a dedicated, diligent, excellent and patriotic football player who, unfortunately, died at a rather young age while serving the nation.
“We pray earnestly for God to grant her soul eternal rest and also give those she has left behind the fortitude to bear the loss.”
Patrick Okwaraji, brother to the former player, signed the letter which informed the NFF said that plans are afoot to organize a simple burial ceremony in accordance with the COVID-19 pandemic final rites protocols in Enugu State in about three weeks, with a bigger ceremony to hold after the pandemic experience.