Nehru Odeh & Bayo Adetu
Veteran Nollywood actor Justus Esiri is dead.
The legendary actor, who had acted in many blockbusters, passed away Tuesday night. He was aged 70.
Secretary-General of the Actors Guild of Nigeria, AGN, Abubakar Yakub, confirmed the death of Esiri to our reporter.
According to him, the popular actor died of complications from diabetes in a Lagos hospital.
“This is a very sad one. I don’t know why death seems to have focussed on our industry for some time now. We have lost four members already this year. Uncle Justus was like a father to all of us, and we will miss him greatly,” Abubakar added.
When P.M.NEWS called Ibinabo Fiberesima, the National President of AGN this morning, she was still in shock to make comments. “My brother, na so we see am o. Honestly, I’m not in the right mood to make any official statement right now. I will do that later. May his soul rest in peace.”
Two years ago, the late Esiri was one of the actors who ran to the General Overseer of the Redeemed Christian Church of God, RCCG, Pastor Enoch Adeboye for a special prayer session against consistent deaths and sicknesses in the industry. The event was held at the church’s headquarters in Ebute-Metta, Lagos.
Esiri, Member of the Order of the Niger, MON, is famous for his role as the village headmaster in the then popular television series of the same name.
Born on 20 November 1942 in Oria-Abraka, Delta State, Esiri attended Urhobo College, Effurun, Warri in the then Bendel State. Warri is now part of Delta state. He was at the Maximillan University, Munich, Germany, 1964, Prof. Weners Institute of Engineering, West Berlin, 1967 and the Ahrens School of Performing Arts, 1968.
Esiri started his acting career in Germany. He was the only Nigerian male performing on stage between 1968 and 1969.
He also worked for Voice of Nigeria, German Service as a translator. He was performing on stage when in Germany when a delegation from Nigeria invited him home to perform in a governmentt sponsored programme. He never returned to Germany.
The veteran actor had won several awards including THEMA Awards, NTA Honours Awards and AMAA Awards. He was also the star actor in acclaimed productions such as Wasted Years, Forever, The Prize, Six Demons, Corridors of Power, Last Knight, The Tyrant, The investigation, The Ghost . He was also reputed to have performed on more TV Network drama programmes than any Nigerian actor.
Esiri is the father of Nigerian fast-rising musician, Dr. Sid.
Asked in an interview how he felt about his son becoming a musician, he said; “I just called him and told him both the negative and positive aspects of the entertainment industry and he has to be focused. I scolded but gave him my blessing and he picked up.”
Assasin’s Practice, one of the most recent movies where he featured, was produced last year.