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General News of Wednesday, 8 August 2012

Source: GNA

Chronology of late President Mills' funeral

The mortal remains of the late President John Evans Atta Mills was taken from the 37 Military Hospital to his private residence at the Regimanuel Estates on the Spintex Road for traditional rituals at 06:00 hours on Wednesday.

In accordance with Ghanaian traditional norms relating to funeral rites, the family of the late President performed some customary rites including the identification of the body after which it was conveyed to the Osu Castle.

At 08:49 hours the body entered the Castle led by Military bodyguards, followed by the late President's son, Samuel Atta Mills, the Chief of Staff, Mr. Henry Martey Newman, Mr. Kofi Totobi Kwakye, Chairman of the Funeral Planning Committee and other high profile dignitaries.

At 08:57 hours all the dignitaries gathered around the Motor Hearse at the Castle, where prayers were offered and the recital of the Lord's Prayer. At 09:00 hours the team including family members, the clergy, Ministers of State and other dignitaries jointly sang the hymn "Till we meet again" amidst sobs, wailing and shouting.

At 09:03 hours the late President's son, Samuel, in a ceremonious show of respect to the father, touched the casket, while sobbing.

From the Castle, the body was driven to the Banquet Hall of the State House at 09:04 hours in the Motor Hearse with a high military convoy including horse riders, motorcades and other military vehicles for the filing past by dignitaries before the general public would be allowed to file past the body.

At 09:17 hours, the Inspector General of Police (IGP) and other senior Police Officers arrived at the State House to also participate in the ceremony.

At 09:21 hours the police officers stopped people from moving around. The Mortal remains arrived at the State House at exactly 09:24 hours.

At 09:25 hours the cortege moved in slowly whilst a large crowd eagerly waited to catch a last glimpse of the casket carrying the mortal remains of the late President Mills.

At 09:35 hours the Hearse arrived at the main door to the Banquet Hall at the State House. Security officers opened the door of the hearse to bring out the body for the religious leaders who were ready to take it.

At 1600 hours the casket would be opened for President John Dramani Mahama, Vice President Kwesi Amissah-Arthur and other state officials, members of the Council of State and representatives of political parties to pay their last respects.

Afterwards, the public would be given the opportunity to file past the casket. On Wednesday evening, there would be musical and cultural displays at the forecourt of the State House.

Public viewing of the body would resume at 06:00 hours on Thursday, August 9 and the evening will be dedicated to reading of tributes and an all-night prayer service.

On Friday, August 10, the family of the late President will perform the final rites after which the military will convey the casket to the Independence Square for the burial service.

Before start of the service, President Mahama and visiting Heads of State will pay their final respects to the late President. President Mahama will also light the perpetual flame.

After the service, the casket will be taken through some principal streets of Accra to afford Ghanaians the opportunity to pay their final respects.**