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Archbishop Desmond Tutu, the Nobel Peace prize laureate who helped end apartheid in South Africa, has died aged 90.
President Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa, said the churchman’s death marked “another chapter of bereavement in our nation’s farewell to a generation of outstanding South Africans.”
A contemporary of anti-apartheid icon Nelson Mandela, Tutu was one of the driving forces behind the movement to end the policy of racial segregation and discrimination enforced by the white minority government against the black majority in South Africa from 1948 until 1991.
Meanwhile, President Muhammadu Buhari and former President Olusegun Obasanjo, have mourned the death of Tutu.
President Buhari in a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Chief Femi Adesina said he believes the death of the iconic teacher, human rights activist, leader of thought, scholar and philanthropist, further creates a void in a world in dire need of wisdom, integrity, courage and sound reasoning, which were qualities that the Nobel Peace Prize Winner, 1984, typified and exemplified in words and actions.
As a South African, global citizen and renowned world leader, the President affirmed that the historic role Archbishop Tutu played in the fight against apartheid, enduring physical assaults, jail terms and prolonged exile, took him beyond the pulpit to global, political relevance, and his position, under President Nelson Mandela, in heading the Truth and Reconciliation Commission provided healing and direction for his country and the world.
On his part, Chief Obasanjo recalled the role played by late Desmond Tutu in getting the country’s debt canceled, declaring that his death was a personal loss to him.
Obasanjo in a condolence letter to the President of South Africa, Cyril Ramaphosa, yesterday, said “Over the years, Reverend Tutu had shown focused, credible, bold, sensitive and purposeful leadership not just to members of the Anglican Church but to all Christians.”
The letter his Special Assistant on Media, Kehinde Akinyemi, added that Tutu had been part of building and strengthening the Anglican Church, and its eminent place in the Church system in South Africa today is not unrelated to his selfless service and leadership.”
On the country’s debt cancellation role, Obasanjo said that he acknowledged late Tutu’s “uncommon solidarity and the deep passion with which he had argued Nigeria’s case for full debt cancellation by the contents of his letter to Mr. Gordon Brown, the then United Kingdom’s Chancellor of the Exchequer, during my administration as the President of Nigeria.
“This his heroic advocacy effort with respect to Nigeria’s indebtedness to the Paris Club on behalf of Nigeria was very much in his character.”
UN CHEIF MOURNS DESMOND TUTU’S DEATH
UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, on Sunday mourned the death of Nobel Peace Prize laureate and retired Archbishop of Cape Town, Desmond Tutu, who died at the age of 90.
In a statement issued by his spokesman, Stéphane Dujarric, the secretary-general said that he was saddened by Tutu’s death.
He described the archbishop as an unwavering voice for the voiceless.
“Archbishop Tutu was a towering global figure for peace and an inspiration to generations across the world.
“During the darkest days of apartheid, he was a shining beacon for social justice, freedom and non-violent resistance.
“Archbishop Tutu’s relentless determination to build global solidarity for a free and democratic South Africa was fittingly recognised by the Nobel Committee in its decision to award him the Nobel Peace Prize in 1984.
“As Chairman of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, he made an immeasurable contribution to ensuring a peaceful, yet just transition to a democratic South Africa,” Guterres said.
He said that Tutu’s great wisdom and experience were always communicated with humanity, humour and heart.
The UN chief added that Tutu was a steadfast champion of multilateralism and had important roles.
Guterres said that Tutu had important roles as a distinguished member of the United Nations’ Advisory Committee on Genocide Prevention, and part of High Level Fact-Finding Mission to Gaza in 2008.
According to him, in recent decades, the archbishop continued to fight passionately for action on many critical issues – poverty, climate change, human rights and HIV/AIDS, among others.
“Although Archbishop Tutu’s passing leaves a huge void on the global stage and in our hearts, we will be forever inspired by his example to continue the fight for a better world for all,’’ Guterres said.
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