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Ministers, top military brass pay last respect as former CNS laid to rest



 Some members of the Federal Executive Council,  top military brass and other distinguished Nigerians  on Thursday bid farewell to a former Chief of Naval Staff (CNS), Vice Adm. Patrick Koshoni.

They did it as the  late Koshoni was  laid to rest at the Ebony Vaults after a requiem Mass held at the Holy Cross Cathedral,Lagos.

Among the dignitaries are: Mr Festus Keyamo, the Minister of State, Labour and Employment, the First Lady of Lagos State, Mrs Ibironke Sanwoolu, and Sen. Olorunibe Mamora who represented the Minister of Health.

Others are former Chiefs of Naval Staff, the representatives of the Chief of Air Staff (CAS), Air Vice Marshall Alao Lawals, and the representative of the Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Maj.-Gen. Olubunmi Irefin.

The late Koshoni was born on April 17, 1943, and  died on Jan. 25, 2020.

NAN also reports that the  casket bearing the remains of the late CNS  was adorned with the national flag and his cap as a  naval officer flanked his casket in the tradition of the military.

The requiem mass at the Holy Cross Catholic Cathedral  started at 10a.m. with the entrance hymn ‘Help, Lord, The Souls’, after which the funeral rite, a scenario the priest goes in procession with other ministers carrying the cross, candles .

The officiating priests were Rev. Fr. Marcellinus Teko (Administrator) and Rev.Fr Raymond Emedo (Associate priest).

In the condolences register, Mr.  Boss Mustapha, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SSG) , said that the late CNS would be missed for his moral forthrightness, selfless service to his family and fatherland.

Mrs Nuratu Batagarawa, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Defence,said that the late Koshoni was a colossus in the Nigerian Navy which he loved with passion.

She said  that the late CNS lived a fulfilled life in which he served humanity with finest intellect.

The condolence message from the office of the Chief of Defence Staff read that the late CNS would be greatly missed by the Nigerian Armed Forces for his exemplary leadership and tremendous contributions to the Navy and the  nation.

Dr Chris Ngige, the Minister of Labour and Employment,  said that  the late Koshoni played a significant role in the development of maritime labour laws.

“He played a significant role in the development of maritime labour laws, an act buoyed by his earlier experience as the Chief of Naval personnel.”

The current CNS, Vice Adm. Ibok Ete-Ibas,said that the late Koshoni’s death was a great loss, not to his family  alone but the Nigerian Navy and the nation in general.

“He was a brave, professional, loyal and a patriotic citizen,” he said.

After  the mass, the remains  of the late Koshoni in a casket was then taking  to the Ebony Vaults in Ikoyi, where quarter guards also performed the final salutations with a slow march.

NAN reports that top military personnel carried  the remains of Koshoni to the Ebony Vaults  where it was buried.

NAN also reports that as a sign of final and last respect, officers and none officers removed their caps , all saluted  the body of the deceased.

The grand firing exercise was also conducted thrice after his casket had been lowered into the tomb.

The CNS and Cdr Robert Oparaji, the Director, Chaplain Service, Nigeria Navy  led others  including family members of the deceased and Course 28 to perform the dust-to-dust rites on Koshonis casket after it had been lowered into  the grave.

The late Koshoni  was the  Minister of Health from December 1983 to August 1985, he was also the Minister of Employment, Labour and Productivity from 1985 to 1986.

He also  served as the CNS from October 1986 to January 1990.

Edited By: Peter Dada

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