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LAGOS. NIGERIA.     Sunday, July 28 2002






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Onyearugbulem: Shock, Disbelief Greet Death


RELATIONS of former governor of Ondo and Edo States, Navy Captain Anthony Onyearugbulam (rtd), at his country home were in mournful mood yesterday following the sudden demise of the retired naval officer. Many of them were still in a state of shock and disbelief yesterday when The Guardian went to his hometown.

Many members of the family members in Avuvu, Ikeduru local government area of Imo State shed tears over the loss of their breadwinner.

Onyearugbulam, according to some sources, slumped and died in his hotel room in Kaduna while preparing to attend a pre- convention meeting of the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP). But another account indicated that he was complaining of leg pains and was rushed to a private hospital where he died. His body has since been deposited at the morgue of the 44 Army Reference Hospital in Kaduna.

Many callers, mainly villagers and kinsmen of the deceased, came as early as 8 a.m. to confirm the news of Onyearugbulam's death.

His twin bother was not in the house when The Guardian called. But a source informed that a team from Avuvu led by a family member has been dispatched to Kaduna to ascertain the authenticity of the unfortunate incident. Yesterday, the authorities in Kaduna were expecting the brother to arrive and identify the body.

The state Police Commissioner, Alhaji Gazali Lawal, was not available for comment at the Police Command when The Guardian went there yesterday. But police sources confirmed that the death is being investigated whether there was foul play. It was gathered that two persons are being held for questioning in relation to the matter.

Late Onyearugbulam had early last month in Owerri declared his interest in becoming the next civilian governor of Imo State.

Onyearugbulem, 47, was born on July 9, 1955 to the family of Mr. I. U. Onyearugbulem in Owalla Avuvu in Ikeduru.

He had his secondary education at St. Columbia's Secondary School, Amaimo between 1970-1972 and finished at Enyiogugu High School, Mbaise from 1972-1974. He was commissioned on July 1, 1978.

Onyearugbulem was promoted Navy Captain in July 1998 and was posted to Edo State on August 7, 1998 as the military administrator. He also served as Military Administrator of Ondo State.

He was retired in 1999 along with others who held political appointments shortly after the advent of civilian rule.


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