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Nigeria’s foremost actor Baban Larai dies at 84

The first gazetted Nigerian actor‎, Abdullahi Abubakar Song alias Baban Larai has died in Yola.

Daily Trust learnt that the man died on Sunday after a brief illness.

Baban Larai died at the age of 84 years and is survived by four children including Jummai Bashir who is the permanent secretary, Adamawa State ‎Ministry of Youths and Sports.

‎Baban Larai who started acting during the colonial era had appeared in several shows broadcasted on publicity mobile cinema and on television.

He also served as the Chairman Adamawa State Local Government Service Commission ‎under the regime of former Governor Boni Haruna.

A veteran journalist, Abdullahi Isa No-Sweat described the death as a monumental loss to the nation, saying the deceased had contributed to theatre development and nation building.

According to him, the deceased started acting during the colonial era when ‎the British government needed cotton to feed its industries in Manchester and used the mobile cinema to mobilise farmers to grow the crop in commercial quantity.

“Abdullahi Song joined the Northern Nigeria Ministry of Information after his middle school studies and he was asked to intensify campaign for cotton growing because the British colonial masters wanted cotton for their industries in Manchester. He travelled in Land Rover vehicle to cotton growing areas including Kano and Funtua ‎for awareness campaign. Then he was asked to produce a film but he could not find actors. He approached many people but all of them declined. So, the white man directed him to become the actor. He played a cast ‘ Baban Larai’ and Maman Shata played the background music”, he said.

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