Professor Onwuliri Laid to Rest
THE remains of the Veritas University Council member, Professor Celestine Onwuliri was on Saturday, June 23, 2012 committed to earth at his country home in Umuokazi, Ahiazu, Mbaise Local Council of Imo State.
Professor Onwuliri died alongside 152 other victims of the Dana airplane crash that took place on Sunday, June 3, 2012 at Iju- Ishaga near Lagos.
The requiem Mass was held at the St. Jude Catholic Church, Amuzi, Ahiazu Mbaise, Imo State, with the Catholic Archbishop of Owerri Ecclessiastic Province, Most Rev. Dr. Anthony J. V. Obinna as the Chief Celebrant, while the President of the Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigerian, Most Rev Dr. Ignatius Kaigama gave the homily.
In his homily, Most Rev. Dr. Kaigama urged the church to thank the Lord in everything, and charged the bereaved family to sustain the legacy of the deceased, describing him as a man of faith, family and patriotic Nigerian who was uncompromising in the Catholic faith and identity, putting God first in all things, very humble and loyal to the church and carried his faith home.
The CBCN President, who is also the Archbishop of Jos cautioned against attributing all deaths to the will of God, stressing that many deaths were sequel to carelessness and corruption.
He charged political office holders to shun corrupt practices and do whatever good they have to do now because nobody knows when death will come.
At the funeral mass were Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Senator Anyim Pius Anyim, who represented the President of Nigeria, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, all governors of the South East geo-political zone — Rochas Okorocha (Imo), Sullivan Chime (Enugu), Theodore Orji (Abia), Elechi Amadi (Ebonyi), and Peter Obi (Anambra), as well as Honorable Emeka Ihedioha, the Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives as well as some serving Ministers of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Vice Chancellors of various Nigerian universities, Catholic Bishops, members of various Catholic Church Organisations notably, the Knights of St. John International (KSJI) in Nigeria and Ezuruezu Mbaise attended the requiem mass.
In a letter of commiseration presented to the family, the Vice Chancellor of Veritas University, Professor David I. Ker, OON described the deceased as an astute administrator, erudite scholar, a teacher of teachers and above all a great Nigerian.
He noted that his death had created a great vacuum in the Veritas family, the Catholic Church, academic world, Nigeria and the international community and prayed that God will grant his family the courage and grace to bear the irreparable loss.
The Deputy Supreme Commander of the Knight of Saint John International, Major General J. I. Okafor described the deceased as a leader that was worthy of emulation and as an apostle of peace in the church, embodiment of truth, sincerity and extolled his contributions to the peace of Nigeria, and commitment to the society.
Professor Onwuliri was a member of the Veritas University Council, former Vice Chancellor of the Federal University of Technology, Owerri (FUTO); Head of the Committee for the Monitoring of Private Universities (COMPU) of the National Universities Commission (NUC) as well as husband to the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Professor Viola Onwuliri. Until his death, he was Head of the Nigerian arm of the Knights of St. John International. He was the Nigerian Supreme Subordinate President and held the rank of a Noble Major General in the religious, military and social organisation.
The Vice Chancellor, Professor David I. Ker, OON had led management to pay condolence visit to the wife of the deceased, Professor Mrs. Viola Onwuliri, the Minister of State,1 for Foreign Affairs at her Abuja residence before the commencement of the burial ceremony.