The family of former Nigeria international player, Samuel Sochukwuma Okwaraji, has formally notified the Nigeria Football Federation of the passing of the matriarch of the family, Mrs Jane Okwaraji, who died on Saturday, 23rd May 2020.
Patrick Okwaraji, brother to the former player, signed the letter which informed the NFF and the Nigerian Football family of the death of the 83 –year old retired school teacher.
In the letter, the Okwaraji family disclosed that Mrs Jane Okwaraji, also a community leader and devout Christian, passed on to the great beyond after a brief illness.
“It is with total submission to God that, the family of David Okwaraji (late) wishes to convey the notice of the peaceful transition of our mother, Mrs Jane Okwaraji to you. Mrs Jane Okwaraji died at her home at Enugu after a brief illness.
“On behalf of the entire family, I convey our gratitude to you for your continuous support and concerns.”
In a telephone chat, Patrick explained that the family was not quick to announce Ma Okwaraji’s death as they needed to consult with a wide range of individuals before making it public. He also 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.
Samuel Sochukwuma Okwaraji, a doctoral student of law at the University of Rome, Italy collapsed and died on the field of play in a 1990 FIFA World Cup qualifying match between Nigeria and Angola at the National Stadium, Lagos on Saturday, 12th August 1989.
Only last month, the Nigeria Football Federation announced that in appreciation and support of the gesture of the Hon. Minister of Youth and Sports to be providing the mothers of deceased former internationals Okwaraji and Rashidi Yekini with a monthly stipend of N10,000 each, the Federation would be supporting the initiative with N30,000 monthly to each of the matriarchs.
On Tuesday, 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.
“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.”