Ed Malik, A / September 7, 2022

Civil rights advocacy group, Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria, (HURIWA) on Tuesday, has appealed to the British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Her Excellency Catriona Laing, support efforts to give renowned film producer and novelist Biyi Bandele a befitting burial.

HURIWA’s national coordinator, Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko, in a statement, also urged the kind British commissioner to address concerns of members of the deceased playwright’s family who requested that the sudden death be investigated and an autopsy examination carried out.

This is against the backdrop of letter received by the advocacy group signed by Modupe Bandele, a representative of the biological siblings of the late author, wanting to ascertain what happened to their brother Biyi.

The concern of the representation to HURIWA is based on the shifty attitude of cousin to the demised, Mrs Idowu Ibironke Ayinde who lives in London and was alleged to be hiding the corpse from the biological siblings of Biyi, who also said that, they have not been allowed access to ascertain the true circumstances that led to the death of the actor who was British-Nigerian before his untimely demise during the course of a reported movie assignment.

The siblings said, “Even now that he’s dead, our cousin Mrs Idowu Ibironke Ayinde in London allegedly prevented the two children of Biyi, Korede Bandele Thomas and Temi Bandele Thomas from contacting and establishing any form of communication with us.

Part of the letter to HURIWA read, “So, please we (the biological siblings of Biyi) solicit your intervention concerning this matter so we could know the whereabouts of the corpse of our brother, (in order) to give him his last respect at the burial and to be united with the children.”

In a public statement directed at the British High Commissioner, the national coordinator of HURIWA, Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko said, “We urged the Her Excellency, Catriona Laing, to use her noble office to get to the root of the matter and the mystery surrounding the sudden and painful death of the renowned actor and producer who directed the ground-breaking iconic literature; ‘Half of a Yellow Sun’ and other award-winning creative works.

HURIWA appealed to the High Commissioner to intervene and give some closure to the biological siblings of the late film producer and Novelist, Biyi Bandele Thomas. Specifically, they requested for two reliefs; to order an autopsy or release the corpse to the biological family, in order to give a befitting burial to the dead.

“We believe that this will go a long way in respecting the memories of the deceased going by his contributions to arts and human society. We are asking the British government to step in and know how their citizen died in Nigeria and also allow the biological siblings of the late international literary figure and Novelist receive the most esteemed final rites in accordance with the decision of the family”, said the HURIWA boss.

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