By Busayo Onijala
Some family members of late Rev. Sr. Angela Egbikuadje, a nun, and an American citizen of Nigerian descent, have appealed to the United States Consulate in Nigeria to grant them visas so that they can travel to the United States of America to bury their sister.
The appeal is contained in a statement released by Mrs Neta Nwosu, the sister of late Egbikuadje, a copy of which was e-mailed to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN).
Nwosu said in the statement that the U.S. Consolate had initially turned down the visa applications of Mr. Emmanuel Egbikuadje and hers.
She said that the Consulate had done that under the pretext “that you have been found ineligible for a nonimmigrant visa under Section 214(b) of the U.S. Immigration and Nationality Act.”
Nwosu said that the stance of the U.S. Consulate had thrown the burial arrangements for the late Rev. Sr.Egbikuadje into disarray with her family members inability to travel to the United States of Ameria due to visas’ denial.
She also said that the late nun’s religious congregation, the Institute of the Missionaries of the Kingship of Christ (SIM), was in no position to inter her remains.
Nwosu in the statement said that the late Sr. Egbikuadje had in her Will, expressly set out, under “Statement of Interment, Cremation and Wishes,” that, “it is my desire to be interred in a burial spot.”
She also willed that her “funeral mass will be at Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton Church and a Catholic funeral in a cemetery in Bakersfield, California.”
Nwosu in the statement also quoted Franca Niameh, a member of the Secular Institute of the Missionaries of the Kingship of Christ, to have said that they could only pray that the Consulate grants the family members the permission to “come and bury your sister.”
She was quoted to have said this in a letter dated Feb.10,2020,she addressed to the family of the late nun residing in Nigeria.
Niameh had said this is : “Because the religious congregation, the Secular Institute of the Missionaries of the Kingship of Christ, she belongs to, does not take care of funerals.”
The statement added that in Niameh’s letter to the family of late Egbikuadje, she stated that, “Her body has been deposited in the Doughty-Calhound-O Meara”, a mortuary in Bakersfield pending when any family member will be able to come to initiate plans for the funeral.”
The statement by Nwosu said that the late Egbikuadje’s family and her religious congregation had been “thrown into confusion” after visas were denied them.
Nwosu said that the family members of the late nun were appealing to the U.S. Consulate on a compassionate ground to grant them visas so travel to the United States to give a befitting burial to their deceased family member.
She said that her family was worried as the remains of the late nun, Egbikuadje, would continue to lie at the mortuary, until the decision to grant her family members entry visas to the U.S. is reviewed by the U.S. Consulate.
However, efforts by NAN to get the reactions of the US Consulate in Lagos through messages sent to its Communications Officer did not yield any results at the time of filing this report.(NAN)