By Alusine Sesay & Kerifallah Janneh
The fallen former military strongman, Rtd. Col. Tom Nyuma, had – before his death – expressed his wish to be buried at the Military War Grave at Regent Road, Lumley in Freetown instead of his hometown of Buedu in the Kissi Tongi Chiefdom, Kailahun District; National Secretary General of the ruling All People’s Congress (APC) has quoted the late man’s family members as informing the party.
Osman Foday Yansaneh told Concord Times that Rtd. Col. Nyuma, known in military circles as ‘Ranger’, had made it known to his relatives that should he fail to recover from his ailment, he preferred to be buried at the Military War Grave in military outfit.
“All his wishes will be respected by the party,” said the ruling party scribe. “We have visited the family and made initial arrangements for his burial. We were responsible for his hospital bills and we had arranged for him to be flown to Ghana for further treatment when he finally gave up the ghost. The party will take full responsibility of his funeral.”
(Rtd.) Col. Nyuma served as Under Secretary of State Defence and Secretary of State, Eastern Region under the National Provisional Ruling Council (NPRC) that overthrew the APC government of President Joseph Saidu Momoh in April 1992. He also served as Chairman of the Kailahun District Council, representing the main opposition Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP) but later defected to the ruling APC after an apparent fallout with the SLPP.
“Tom Nyuma came to join us after he had realized that the APC is a progressive party. He had a progressive heart and the APC appreciated him very much,” said Yansaneh. “Though he was part of the coup that ousted our party from power, we had forgiven him and would give him a dignified funeral that befits his personality. We are taking full responsibility of his funeral and we are sending a signal to the public that you stand to benefit even in death if you join the APC party.”
Mr. Yansaneh further told Concord Times that Nyuma played a pivotal role in raising the support of the APC in Kailahun District, and that though the party could not win the Constituency 001 by-election, it pulled a respectable number of votes in a district considered to be the stronghold of the SLPP.
Tom Nyuma died at the Choithram Hospital on Sunday morning at the age of 42 years after a protracted ailment.
According to Yansaneh, President Ernest Bai Koroma last year provided assistance for the late man to be treated in India but that his health condition deteriorated after his return to the country.
Meanwhile, Administrative Director of the main opposition SLPP, Alhaji Brima Koroma, earlier told Concord Times on the phone that his party would participate in the funeral of the late man but would not take full charge of it.
“Tom Nyuma was already a member of the APC and we would not take full responsibility of his funeral,” he said.