Nollywood star, Yomi Fash Lanso, has
said that the demise of talented actress and friend, Moji Olaiya, has
added salt to an already bleeding wound.
The actor, who spoke to Saturday Beats
on Friday – a day after the 42-year-old woman and daughter of Highlife
music maestro, Sir Victor Olaiya, died in Canada shortly after giving
birth to a baby in March – two months before her actual delivery date.
According to reports, the actress’
health had not been too stable since that period, forcing her to remain
in the North American nation to recuperate before death eventually came
knocking on Thursday.
Lanso, who featured in the very first
movie Olaiya appeared in – Owo Ale, said that her demise had thrown them
into more misery especially with the industry yet to fully recover from
the deaths of Olumide Bakare and Adesina Adesanya fondly known as
He said, “We are still concluding
arrangements for the burial of Pastor Ajidara when the news of Moji’s
death hit us. It is like piercing hot iron into an open wound. It came
at a time when we have not even recovered from the loss of Olumide
Bakare, one of the veterans of our industry.
“I have worked with her for so many
years and she is so loving and professional. In fact, I acted with her
in the very first movie she appeared, Owo Ale. So, our friendship dates
back in time. She was a really nice and wonderful person. Her demise is a
big loss to the industry.”
Asked if he agrees with insinuations
that the number of deaths that had greeted the Yoruba movie industry in
recent times might not be unconnected to some spiritual elements, Lanso
refused, maintaining that the events were merely natural.
He said, “I do not agree that there is a
spiritual reason behind all these deaths in the industry because there
is nobody that would not die. People die every day, but when it happens
to prominent people, the society begins to read all sorts of meanings
into it. I don’t believe that there is any spiritual connection. Her
death is very painful to us; she was a very young woman.”
Following her death, reports had emerged
that family members were divided over whether to bury her in Canada or
fly her remains back home. Olaiya’s first child, Adun, a 20-year-old
student of Babcock University, Remo, Ogun State, had told anyone, who
cared to listen that she wanted to see her mother’s body in Nigeria.
“She must be brought back, I don’t care what anybody says, I just want my mother’s body,” she said after her mother’s death.
But reacting, Lanso told Saturday Beats
that as colleagues to the late thespian, they would not interfere with
the decision of the family but respect their wish on the matter.
He said, “The only voice that is opposed
to her being buried in Canada is her daughter. Only she knows her
reason for insisting on this. If the body must be flown to Nigeria, it
will cost nothing less than $17, 000. But then it all depends on what
the family wants.”
When contacted, Bisi Ibidapo-Obe, one of
Olaiya’s closest friends and colleagues, refused to comment on her
demise and controversy surrounding the burial arrangement.
A gifted interpreter of roles, the late
42-year-old actress appeared in dozens of movies and television dramas
over the years, winning a handful of notable awards along the line for