THE burial of Sir Richard Okeke, the father of Anambra State Deputy Governor, Dr. Nkem Okeke, on Friday, was like a carnival for pickpockets.
No fewer than 10 cell phones, several handbags and cash were stolen from guests at the funeral, which took place at Enugu Ukwu, Njikoka Local Government Area of the state.
The Master of Ceremony, Mr. Chido Obidiegwu, disturbed by the ugly trend, continually warned guests to guard their phones and other personal effects as complaints of missing phones had increased.
At the graveside, when the patriarch of the Okeke family was been lowered to his final rest place, a female voice shouted, “My money, my money”.
She pounced on a young man near her and N100,000 was found in the young man’s pocket.
Security agents went for the man; beat him thoroughly before whisking him away.
At the VIP tent, one of those who lost their phones and other valuables, Mrs Roseline Okoye, said she lost N50,000 and a phone.
She said, “I bought that phone just last week and it was a costly phone. I bought it N60,000. They took everything with my handbag. There was N50,000 in that bag. What is all this?
“How can this happened in this high class VIP tent. No poor person was allowed into this tent where I was sitting. How can this happen here? I’m confused”, she lamented.
Pa Richard Okeke died at the age of 88. He was a retired engineer and contractor. His funeral was attended by top class politicians in the country.
Former Vice President, Dr. Alex Ekwueme; Anambra State Governor, Chief Willie Obiano; his Enugu counterpart, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi; Deputy Senate President, Ike Enweremadu, were among the dignitaries that bade the deceased farewell.
Others at the church service held at Immanuel Anglican Church, Enugwu-Ukwu were former Governor of Anambra State, Mr. Peter Obi, and five deputy governors of Delta, Bayelsa, Enugu, Ebonyi, Cross River and Adamawa.
Former Governor of Cross River State, Liyel Imoke; National Assembly members, Anambra State speaker, Hon. Rita Maduagwu; industrialist, Chief Godwin Ezeemo; Senator Uche Ekwunife were also in attendance.
The Dean of Anglican Communion, Archbishop Christian Efobi, led over 100 other clerics, including 12 archbishops to the ceremony.
In his sermon, The Most Rev. Efobi, blamed Christians for the numerous problems bedeviling the country including Boko-Haram, Niger Delta Avengers, among others.
He said Christians were not strong in their prayers to avert some of the problems confronting the country, adding that all hands must be on deck to salvage Nigeria from its current situation.
He said, “Christians need to pray hard for President Buhari to take Nigeria to the Promised Land, all these problems confronting this nation were because we have not prayed hard and this is the time for that.”
Efobi described the late Richard Okeke as a unique person that served God with all his heart.
Anambra State Governor, Chief Willie Obiano, in his speech, described the deceased as a great man and implored the children to emulate their father’s legacy.
Deputy Governor, Dr. Nkem Okeke, thanked everybody that had given honour to his father.
He said his father’s death was a celebration of life, noting that his father lived a simple life that should be emulated by all.
He said, “There is nothing sad about this process and my father left a wonderful legacy for the family and for everybody to emulate. Therefore, this is real celebration”