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UPDATED: Maryam Babangida is Dead

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San Francisco (THEWILL) - THEWILL has been informed that Mrs. Maryam Babangida has died from ovarian cancer at the age of 61. A statement from the Babangida family released by General Babangida's assistant, Ibrahim Ismail on Sunday said she died on Sunday morning after a long battle with cancer. “ She died beside her husband, General Babangida who has been at her bedside in the US hospital till her death,” the statement said.

The former first lady was receiving care for cancer at the UCLA Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Centre in Los Angeles California.

Maryam married General Ibrahim Babangida on September 6, 1969. She is survived by the General, and four children namely; Mohammed, Aminu, Aisha and Halima.

The family is conveying her body to Nigeria where she will be buried according to islamic rites.

Deltans have started reacting to the news of her death. Delta State Governor, Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan on Sunday described Mrs. Maryam Babangida's as an irreplaceable loss to Deltans and the entire nation.

The Governor said in a statement that, “It is with great shock and personal loss that I received the news of the death of Nigeria's former First Lady, Mrs. Maryam Babangida, we will miss her motherly advice and support.”

Maryam's elder brother, Ambassador Loenard Ezenweani Okogwu who lives in Asaba where Maryam is from said the family has received the sad news with rude shock adding that she will be missed by all. “She brought glamour and dynamism to the office of the First lady in the country,” he added.

In his reaction, The Asagba of Asaba, Professor Chike Edozien who spoke through his personal assistant, Mr. Felix Iyeh said the palace received the news with sadness, adding that the entire people of Asaba will surely miss the former first lady for her immeasurable contribution to the creation and development of the Delta state.

Reports from the Maryam Babangida Okogwu family compound where she was born and bred at Ogbe Ogo quarters, Asaba, Delta State say people have started gathering to commiserate with the family.

The Delta State Branch of the Nigerian Medical Association has also issued a statement saying, “On behalf of the entire members of the Nigerian Medical Association Delta State Branch, I Dr Akpufuoma Pemu commiserate with our former military president, Ibrahim Babangida on the demise of his amiable spouse.

We in Delta State feel particularly pained, as she was one of our daughters that makes the state the big heart of Nigeria. She will be remembered for her pioneering role of being the founder and mother of Better Life for Rural Women Programme in Nigeria. We wish the family the fortitude to bear the irreplaceable loss. May her soul rest in peace.”

See attachment on the right side of your screen in the column tagged 'attachments' for press statement from the Babangida family.

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