First Women

FIRST WOMEN: First Nigerian Woman To Be Buried With National Honor



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Stella Obasanjo was the wife of former president Olusegun Obasanjo and was the First Lady of Nigeria from 1999 until her death.

Stella Obasanjo was from Iruekpen, Esan West, Edo State. Her father, Dr. Christopher Abebe, was chief of the United Africa Company (UAC) and would become the first indigenous (African) chairman of UAC Nigeria.

Stella Obasanjo died a few weeks before her 60th birthday from complications of cosmetic surgery at a private health clinic in Puerto Banús, Marbella, Spain, on 23 October 2005. The surgeon, identified only as “AM” in court, was sentenced to one year of imprisonment in September 2009 on a charge of “causing homicide through negligence”, disqualified from medicine for a period of three years and ordered to pay €120,000 (approximately US$176,000) in compensation to Stella Obasanjo’s son. Prosecutors had requested a two-year jail term and five-year disqualification. A request for compensation for the Nigerian government was also rejected. The physician had misplaced a tube designed for a liposuction procedure into Obasanjo’s abdominal cavity. She sustained a punctured colon and lacerated liver and died two days after the surgery. The doctor did not immediately answer his mobile phone when called after performing the operation and reportedly left Obasanjo for four hours. Had she been hospitalised in time, it is thought she might have survived her injuries.

Her burial has caused a lot of controversy as her Esan people in Edo state said it was against their culture and tradition for their daughter to be buried away from home, on the President’s insistence, she was buried in his hometown in Abeokuta.

She has been described as the first woman to be buried in honor in Nigeria.

Credits –

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