Oga Bello, Toyin Abraham, Bimbo Oshin, others pay tributes to Rachel Oniga

The Nigerian entertainment industry was thrown into another round of mourning when veteran actress, Rachel Oniga passed away on Friday, July 30, 2021.

Though it was reported on some blogs that she passed away due to complications from COVID-19, her family denied those claims. Another source hinted that her case was complicated by the fact that she was diabetic. But in an interview with PUNCH, her son, Olatunji had said, “She passed (on) last night (Friday) around 10pm. She had malaria and typhoid.”

A statement from her family said the veteran actress died of health-related issues, and not COVID-19, as being speculated on social media.

The family further revealed the true cause of her death in a statement signed by her sister, Toyin Odusote.

The statement read, “With a heavy heart and total submission to God, we write to announce the passing unto glory of our beloved sister, mother and grandmother; Chief Rachel Tabuno Oniga.

“She died in a Lagos hospital at the age of 64, on Friday, 30th of July 2021, at 10pm.

“Contrary to diverse reports informing that she died from COVID-19 complications, we write to inform the general public that she died from a heart-related issue; an ailment she battled with for a short period before her demise.

“We accept her sudden transition as God’s design and we see it as a function of a race of life well finished. Painful as it may be, we accept it in good faith and total submission to her maker.

“We therefore desire to be allowed to mourn her death privately for now, as we do this with deep sense of respect for her soul and the glorious life she lived.

“Burial arrangements will be announced in due cause. We appreciate the calls, messages and condolences expressed by everyone and we pray for a sweet repose of her beautiful soul.

“Please accept this release as the only authentic one on behalf of the family until we come up with another.”

Meanwhile, colleagues have continued to pay tributes to the iconic role interpreter.

Veteran actress, Joke Silva described Oniga as a committed colleague. She wrote on social media, “Sister and incredibly committed colleague. You have to come correct when playing (acting) opposite Rachel Oniga. Not much talk, but all work. Rest in peace, girl. 64 (years old) was a bit early. You have completely blindsided me.”

Another veteran actor, Adebayo Salami, aka Oga Bello, wrote on Instagram, “There is a time to live and a time to leave. There is never a perfect time to lose a loved one. Our beloved Rachel Oniga is gone. A great thespian with fascinating legacies. Rest in the Lord, my dear sister.”

In a similar vein, actress and filmmaker, Toyin Abraham, took to her Instagtam page to pay tributes to the late actress, who played the role of her mother in the movie, Alakada. She wrote, “Iya Yetunde Alakada, odigba (till we meet again) ma’am. Rest in peace. God, we will continue to praise your Holy name because we can’t question you but this one pained me.”

Actor and filmmaker, Femi Adebayo, also wrote, “This is so surreal! I posted a #throwback picture of my ‘Owo Blow’ on-screen mother on Thursday, only to lose her Friday. So sad! Rest in Peace. You will be missed Mama Rachel Oniga.”

On her part, actress, Bimbo Oshin, wrote, “Heaven has gained yet another beautiful soul, Aunty Rachel. I am speechless.  Rest in peace, aunty. This life sha.”

Oniga, who was from Delta State, was born on May 23, 1957 in Lagos. Some of the first movies she appeared in were Memorial Hospital (1993) and Onome. The actress also gained another level of popularity when she featured in the Yoruba movie, ‘Owo Blow’.

Over the years, she has appeared in numerous films including The Royal Hibiscus Hotel, Another Love, Chief Daddy, Out of Bounds, Sango, Power of Sin, 30 Days in Atlanta, Restless Mind, Doctor Bello and Passion of Mind.

Her last known movie appearance was in the movie, Village People, which was produced by comedian, Bovi Ugboma.

The actress is survived by children and grandchildren.

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