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Nigeria - Expression of condolences on the death of Bola Ige

10 January 2002

Letter to H.E. Olusegun Obasanjo, President of Nigeria, 10 January 2002.

Your Excellency,

    It is with consternation and great sadness that we have received the news of the sudden passing away of Dr Bola Ige, Minister of Justice in the Federal Government of Nigeria, as a consequence of an attempt on his life shortly before Christmas.

    On behalf of the World Council of Churches, I write to offer our sincere condolences to you and the people of Nigeria at the loss of a highly respected political leader and tireless advocate of the rights of people. Dr Ige has been recognized internationally as one of the outstanding sons of Nigeria, and his untimely and brutal death will leave a void that cannot be filled easily. I want to assure Your Excellency of our sympathy and prayerful accompaniment as you respond to this emergency situation.

    The World Council of Churches has particular reason to keep a grateful memory of Dr Ige's involvement in the ecumenical movement, beginning with his active participation in the Student Christian Movement. At the time of the debates about development and liberation, and especially during the process leading up to the 1966 Geneva Conference on Church and Society, he was a prominent figure among a new generation of Christian political leaders from Africa. When, after the Uppsala Assembly of the WCC in 1968, the Programme to Combat Racism was launched, Dr Ige was the first Moderator of the Commission guiding this programme which became an ecumenical rallying point not only in Africa.

Dr Bola Ige will be remembered by many friends in the ecumenical family as a colleague with a sincere Christian commitment, a great and demanding vision and a profound dedication to the cause of justice, especially racial justice. We offer thanks to God for the life and witness of our brother Bola Ige. May he enjoy the light and peace in the eternal presence of our God.

With respectful regards,

Konrad Raiser
General Secretary