“A sad one for us all” – Nigerian govt mourns late Nollywood actor, Mr Ibu

The Nigerian government has reacted to the death of Nollywood actor John Okafor, better known as Mr. Ibu, who died of cardiac arrest at the age of 62 on Saturday, March 2.

Reacting to his death, the Minister of Arts, Culture and Creative Economy, Hannatu Musawa, described Mr. Ibu as a household name who made families happy throughout his acting career.

“His death at this time is very unfortunate and a sad one for us all in the entertainment industry. We will sorely miss him. May his soul rest in peace,” the minister said.

Confirming Mr Ibu’s death on his Instagram page, the President of the Actors Guild of Nigeria, Emeka Rollas, wrote: “Sad Day for Actors Guild of Nigeria. Kate Henshaw lost her mother earlier today, and Mr Lbu suffered cardiac arrest, according to his manager for 24 years, Mr Don Single Nwuzor.

“I announce with a deep sense of grief that Mr. Ibu didn’t make it. May his soul rest in peace.”

Born John Okafor, Mr. Ibu became a household name in Nollywood in the 2000s, starring in the 2004 eponymous film ‘Mr. Ibu,’ which was followed by a sequel in 2005.

Before his foray into Nollywood, the actor and comedian, who hailed from Nkanu West LGA of Enugu State, worked as a hairstylist and, at one time, ventured into photography and worked in a company that produces crates.

He had moved to Sapele to live with his brother in 1974 after his father’s death.

Despite his fame, Mr. Ibu suffered a few health challenges. In 2020, he revealed in an interview that he had been poisoned by his staff, who his relatives allegedly paid. The poison, he said, resulted in his stomach swelling, and he was placed under medication for relief.

In October 2023, Nigerians learned about an ailment he suffered that would require his leg to be amputated. Donations were made on his behalf, including those from the foundation of the former Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, who took care of his medical expenses.

By November 2023, Mr. Ibu underwent a leg amputation. On his Instagram page, a post clarifying his health status confirmed that the leg was further amputated and that the deceased never suffered from diabetes but from recurring clotting of the blood vessels in his leg.

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