Former Nigeria captain Keshi passed away in Benin on June 8 after an undisclosed illness at the age of 54.
Ever since the ex-Togo and Mali coach died, there have been allegations of disagreement and infighting between Keshi’s family and some of his in-laws (Aburime family) over his final resting place.
Reports claim the Aburimes are insistent on Keshi being buried beside his wife Kate, who died of cancer last year, in their Benin home.
But Keshi’s family want the Tunisia ’94 and South Africa 2013 Africa Cup of Nations winner to be buried in his ancestral home in Illah, Delta State.
According to reports, the alleged row between both families has affected planning for the deceased’s burial.
However, Keshi’s extended family Onyeogu Ukpologwu Illah in an open letter to their in-laws said on Tuesday there would be no going back on plans to bury the dead in Illah.
The letter read in part, “As you are well aware, Mr. Stephen Keshi, the Onwa Na Etili Ora of Illah, was our son, brother, husband and father. His parents lived and died in Illah and both were buried in Illah. “Stephen in his lifetime had very close ties with his community as he often sponsored youth football tournaments particularly the Illah Youth Cup every December and this endeared him to members of his community. In 2013 when he led the Super Eagles to win AFCON, the then Ogbelani of Illah Obi Nwabuenu Mebu conferred him with the chieftaincy title of Onwa Na Etili Ora of Illah. He was physically present to receive the title.
“As it is customary in Illah the death of a palace chief is heralded by several traditional ceremonies and this necessitated our dispatch of family representatives to Benin to confer with our son’s children who are currently in Nigeria and his extended family particularly the Aburime family, our in-laws.
“However, one issue that has caused us much anxiety since we received the reports of our delegates to the meeting is the proposal by the Aburime family that they wish their in-law, our son, to be buried in Benin.
“We wish to reiterate our demand as earlier stated by our representatives at the meeting of June 17 that our son be buried at his house in his hometown Ogbe Onyeogu Ukpologwu Illah in line with his last wish before his demise. And this we must state is in conformity with Illah tradition the Ewu tradition and the chieftaincy institution, which he willingly subscribed to during his lifetime.”