Saturday, July 31, 2021 7:00 pm
By Nehru Odeh
Nigerians are still coming to terms with the death of veteran Nollywood actress Rachel Oniga. Oniga died in a Lagos hospital on Friday, around 10pm after a brief illness. She was aged 64.
However, contrary to reports that the actress died of complications arising from Covid- 19, her elder sister, Toyin Odusote, confirming the news of death, has revealed the cause of her death. According to her, the Delta State- born legendary actress, who felt at home with both English and Yoruba movies, died of a heart related disease. Oniga had a facility for language as she had a good command of English, Yoruba and Pidgin.
In a statement Odusote said: “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.
‘‘Burial arrangements will be announced in due course. 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 meet to come up with another.’’
The Public Relations Officer of the Actors’ Guild, Lagos State chapter, Olamilekan Ojora, has also debunked reports that actress, Rachel Oniga, died from COVID-19 complications.
However, what makes Oniga’s death so shocking is that Goldmynetv, sharing the news on Instagram, revealed that the veteran actress had only a few days ago shot some scenes in a movie in Mowe, Ogun State, before her demise on Friday night.
Ojora also told Premium Times that they (himself and Oniga) were supposed to meet on The Sensation Movie set this (Saturday) morning.
Oniga, who hailed from Eku in Ethiope-East Local Government Area of Delta State, was born on 23 May, 1957, in Ebute-Metta, Lagos State. The actress, who featured in some of the best English and Yoruba movies, became a household name after starring in the Yoruba classic “Owo Blow.”
Oniga was a full-time housewife and later a computer programmer before she started her movie career, which was shortly after her divorce in 1993. After the separation, she went into trading.
She had worked briefly at Ascoline Nigeria Limited, a Dutch Consultant Company before she made her acting debut in the Nollywood classic (Memorial Hospital) in 1993 and her debut Yoruba movie was ‘Owo Blow’.
She once said in interview that she stopped working when she got married and started having children. Unfortunately, her marriage did not last. After the separation, she took up acting again. She also revealed in that interview that one of her regrets in life was that she did not fight for her marriage.
In a career spanning about 17 years, the multiple award-winning actress featured in notable movies such as: “Sango”, Wale Adenuga’s television series, ‘Super story”, “Doctor Bello”, “Out of Bound”, “30 Days in Atlanta”, “The Royal Hibiscus Hotel”, “The Wedding Party”, and most recently, “My Village People”.