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HAVING known the late actress BukkyAjayi for over 30 years, it was a jolt for actor, producer and director Tunji Bamishigbin to learn of death in Lagos on Wednesday morning at age 82.

“We were on Village Headmaster,” said Bamishigbin at Atan cemetery, Yaba, Lagos immediately after the actress was buried according to Islamic rites.

“She was one of the actress there when I was the sound producer. So, she’s been like a mother to me. We were so close. They call her my wife, until the time when I had to do some other works, which she was part of. As a matter of fact, the last soap opera she did was with me, which is still running on TVC now and some other stations. She played Mama Tom Jones in it. It’s called The Valley Between.

“Aside, we were also members of NASFAT, a Muslim organisation in Nigeria. We’re both in the public relations committee and that’s why you see the prominence of NASFAT clerics here. All our members and even the National Missioner of NASFAT, Alhaji Gbade Akinbode , was the one that actually officiated the prayer in the house. She played a significant role, she was a committed Muslim, that I know about her. She observed her prayers diligently, even when she’s ill, she still managed to observe her prayers. We always shared good moments. I didn’t know it (her death) was going to come so fast.

“When this Ramadan started, usually, as it’s tradition, I sent something to her. She was even insisting, telling my boy that I should come. And it’s very painful to me that I didn’t go. She said I shouldn’t just send anything to her, that I should come.

“And I promised that I would come to visit her. That’s the only pain I felt that I wished I had gone to see her when I promised. She probably would have been able to express somethings. But for whatever it is, I’m happy for her that she returned home at the right time. I pray almighty Allah to guide her soul.”

The late actress starred in many movies and television programme and was given an ‘Industry Merit’ award at the 2016 Africa Magic Viewers’ Choice Award (AMVCA) in March.

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