Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
President Muhammadu Buhari has assured the family of the late former Vice President, Alex Ekwueme, of refund of £200,000 incurred as medical bill in London, a top government source told Daily Sun, yesterday.
The president gave the assurance when the Ekwueme family, led by Oko Kingdom’s traditional ruler, Igwe Laz Ekwueme, paid him a thank-you visit, for the Federal Government’s role in the successful burial of the late vice president.
The source said the President assured the family that the federal government will keep its promise to the family.
Others in the delegation were the late Ekwueme’s wife, Mrs Beatrice Alex Ekwueme, his daughter Mrs Chinwe Igwilo and Pastor Goodheart Obi Ekwueme, among others.
The Second Republic vice president died in a London hospital, on November 19, 2017, at 85. He was buried in his hometown, Oko, Anambra State, on February 2.
The family had, in May, raised the alarm that the Federal Government was yet to fulfill its pledge of a refund of hospital expenses on the late Ekwueme.
Reports indicated that although the federal government would pay the money directly to the London hospital, it was learnt that the money was returned to government coffers because the ex-VP’s family had already settled the bill before help came from Abuja.
Archbishop of Enugu Ecclesiastical Provence, Anglican Communion, Dr. Emmanuel Chukwuma, in an exclusive chat with Saturday Sun, in May, said six months after the transaction, the family was yet to get the refund.
Speaking with State House Correspondents after the meeting, Prof. Ekwueme said the meeting was a thank-you visit and to get the federal government to fulfill its promises to the family.
He said: We have come, as family, his spouse, children, members of the family and cabinet of Oko community and other chiefs and friends, to say ‘thank you’ to Mr. President, for the work he did through the committee he set up, under the chairmanship of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr. Boss Mustapha, and the presence of the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, at the burial itself.
“And, the immortalisation they gave in renaming the Federal University Ndufu Alike, in Ebonyi State, to Alex Ekwueme Federal University of Technology and all the other things they did towards making his burial a special one.
“And also, in recognising the little efforts that my brother made in building this country.
“We just came to say thank you to Mr. President and his cabinet.”
On what the president’s response was to their visit, the monarch said: “He thanked us for coming to thank him for appreciating what he did and we are grateful that he responded favourably and we look forward to some greater efforts.
“For instance, the federal government has promised to build a mausoleum; we pray that they quicken the pace of that.”