Elder statesman and a minister during the Second Republic, Malam Ismaila Isa Funtua, who died on Monday in Abuja at the age of 78 has been buried.
The remains of the late business mogul, politician and philanthropist was buried at the Gudu Cemetery, Abuja after the Janaza (funeral prayers) were held for the late veteran journalist at the Shehu Shagari Central Mosque Area 1, Garki Abuja after the mid-afternoon prayers.
His burial services both at the mosque and at the cemetery was attended by eminent personalities.
Tributes poured in as the life patron of International Press Institute (IPI) and Newspaper Proprietors Association of Nigeria (NPAN) was buried in Abuja on Tuesday.
Among the personalities at the burial are former FCT Minister, Aliyu Modibbo Umar; former Minister of State, Health, Aliyu Idi Hong; former Ogun State Governor, Senator Ibikunle Amosun; an elder Statesman, Alhaji Isyaku Ibrahim; Chairman Media Trust Limited, Malam Kabiru Yusuf; and the Publisher Blueprint Newspapers, Malam Mohammed Idris.
Former EFCC Chairman, Malam Nuhu Ribadu; Yobe State Governor, Mai Mala Buni, some federal and state past and serving lawmakers; and members of the diplomatic corps among others also witnessed the burial.
Paying tribute to the late publisher, Malam Kabiru Yusuf said that Malam Funtua was a big man who left a big vacuum in many areas of life.
“My association with him was mostly in media but I am aware of the roles he played in business, in which he was very successful; in politics as we all know he was a minister nearly 40 years ago.
“And in community relations because one area that a lot of common people would miss him is how he intervened in countless activities and stories and situation of people who needed it in order to bring succour into their lives. So, this is very huge. I think that Nigerians who know him and even those who don’t know him would see the impact of his loss,” Yusuf said.
On his part, Malam Mohammed Idris said, “Malam Funtua was a big player especially in the media industry in this country. He has contributed a lot in the area of press freedom and generally in the development of the media in Nigeria. We will miss him a lot”.
Also, the Northern Governors Forum said Isa Funtua distinguished himself in the journalism profession where he played critical roles.
The Chairman of the forum and governor of Plateau state, Simon Lalong, in a condolence message by his Director of Press and Public Affairs, Dr Makut Macham, said Funtua’s death was a loss to the nation.
“This is a great loss to his family, the Northern Region and the entire nation considering his immense contributions to national development. He is one person that has built bridges among people of different ethnic, religious and political persuasions and also encouraged unity, peace and tolerance,” he said.
Earlier, the International Press Institute (IPI) expressed shock and profound sadness, on the news of the death of Mallam Funtua.
The condolence message was jointly signed by Kabiru Yusuf, Chairman, IPI Nigeria; Wada Maida, Member, IPI Executive Board; and Raheem Adedoyin, Secretary, IPI Nigeria.
According to the statement, Mallam Isma’ila’s colossal influence and contributions to national development transverse the fields of public service, business, politics and the media.
“A man of immense international stature, Mallam Isma’ila was a life patron of IPI- the global network of editors, senior journalists and media executives- with a lifetime devotion to a free press. Severally, he led Nigerian delegation to IPI events outside Nigeria. He was an elected member of the IPI Executive Board and a major financier and sponsor of the Vienna- based global body.
“Mallam Isma’ila will be most remembered as the arrowhead of Nigeria’s successful hosting of the historic 2018 IPI World Congress & General Assembly in Abuja. IPI mourns the departure of this patriot and international media figure. We commiserate with his family, the Government and People of Nigeria and the media community. We beseech the Almighty Allah to grant Mallam Isma’ila Isa, Aljanah Firdaus,” they said.