GNA – US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, is among 16 Heads of State and Government officials expected to attend the funeral of the late President John Evans Atta Mills in Accra from Wednesday, August 8 to Friday, August 10.
Others are the Vice President of South Africa, Ethiopia, Chairman of African Union and representatives from the Vatican and ECOWAS. Mr Kofi Totobi Quakyi, Chairman of the late President Mills Funeral Planning Committee, briefing the media on the final preparations and arrangements, said the Committee was still receiving confirmation from a number of countries and would be made public.
On the celebration, Mr Quakyi said the mortal remains of the late President Mills would be conveyed from 37 Military Hospital to the Banquet Hall in the morning of Wednesday, August 8 for lying in state.
President John Dramani Mahama, Vice President Kwesi Bekoe Amissah-Arthur, family members, the widow, Dr Mrs Ernestine Naadu Mills and son would view the body to be followed by the Chief Justice, Speaker and Members of Parliament as well as the Council of State.
Some institutions and corporate bodies would then file past and pay their last respects to the late President Mills after which the viewing would be opened to the public until 1900 hours. Mr Quakyi said after that there would be a vigil until midnight and the following day, Thursday, August 9, the viewing would continue until 1900 hours.
He said seven identifiable groups including chiefs and queenmothers; Ghana Bar Association, Judiciary, Parliament, Ghana Football Association, and the academia would pay tributes to the late President Mills. Mr Quakyi said the funeral would continue on Friday, August 10 at the Independence Square for the burial service and interment at the Geese Park.
He said the Independence Square would be opened at 0600 hours for the public and closed to them at 0700 hours.
“From 0730 hours to 0800 hours invited guests would be allowed in until 0900 when it would be closed,” he added.
Mr Quakyi said President Mahama would file past the mortal remains and pay his last respects and then proceed to light the perpetual flame after which the burial service would begin.
After the burial service, the cortege would be taken through some principal streets Accra, from the Independence Square to the National Lotteries Authority to the street in front of Movenpick Ambassador Hotel through the Liberation Circle to the State House along the stadium road to Geese Park for interment.
In the afternoon, there would be Muslim prayers at Abossey Okai Central Mosque. Mr Quakyi urged the public to discard their minds about rumours on the cost of the casket and funeral because they were just a figment of someone’s imagination.
“If we should use that huge amount on the late President Mills’funeral, we all know for sure that he would grieve in his grave. He will even resurrect and question us if we should make that mortal mistake to use that amount to import casket for his burial,” he said.
Mr Quakyi said the actual cost would be made public after the funeral and urged the public to do away with unnecessary controversies and agitations and endeavour to give the late President Mills a befitting burial.
“I can say with confidence that the donations that are coming in is even sufficient to conduct the funeral of the late President Mills”, he added.
On security measures, Greater Accra Regional Police Commander, Deputy Commissioner of Police Patrick Timbilla said there would be barricades and security tapes at activity areas to ensure that there was order during the funeral.
He said ceremonial routes would be cordoned off and arrangements are being made for alternative routes and urged the public to assist the police by obeying instructions.
“There would be police post at the Banquet Hall and the Independence Square to cater for all,” he said and warned that “these three days are not for untoward businesses so if you have nothing doing in town do not come”.
He said there would be giant screens mounted at vantage areas including the Ohene Djan Sports Stadium, Independence Square, Ghana Trade Fair Centre at La and all regional capitals to allow everyone to follow the proceedings.