CROSS RIVER, Nigeria – Corpses of the husband and wife, late Mr and Mrs Okon Effiom Ekpe-Owo abandoned by the children over an argument on the burial ground has caused health hazard to the Ikot Uduak community in Calabar Municipal local government area of Cross River State.
The corpses were brought out for burial on Saturday, November 8th, 2019 but an argument ensued over the burial ground as the Village Head of the community, Efio-Awan Asuquo Asibong said that the deceased were not indigenes of the community, hence cannot be buried on land.
She stated that the children of the deceased have abandoned the corpses for seven days in her compound and was posing health hazard as the offensive odour has started coming out, exposing the inhabitants of her community to health hazard.
Her Highness, Efio-Awan Asibong said that the deceased and their children were her tenants, explaining that they don’t have any documents to the land. “One of the deceased sons came to me and said he was looking for a place to bury his parents.
“I showed him a place in their family compound across the road to bury his mother and father and he agreed, but other family members rejected the place and he didn’t come back to tell me. Instead, they came with the people and insisted they must bury their parents and started digging the graves.
“I had earlier brought people to help dig the graves for them where I originally showed them, but when they started digging the grave in the place I showed them, (Not my compound), one Clement Ene, went and drove the boys digging the graves away and said he wants to bury his parents in my land and I said no.
“Based on this, the family abandoned the corpses under the canopies in my compound for over seven days now, causing people to desert the compound given the offensive odour emanating from the corpses.” She told Daily Post.
A man who claimed to be next to the Clan Head of Uduak Edem Clan, Oyoyo Etim Oyo Ita said that officials of Calabar Urban Development Authority (CUDA) came and saw the corpses and have commenced legal action against the family members for abandoning the corpses of their parents in an open place.
He said judgement was entered against the children and one of the principal actors was sentenced to three months imprisonment or a fine of N40, 000 and since he did not have the money to pay, he was remanded in the prison at Afokang in Calabar.
He also said that the court ordered the remaining family members to evacuate the corpses within 24 hours and that the 24-hour has since expired.
He said, “Instead of them evacuating the corpses, the children brought in suspected cultists who inflicted mayhem in the community in which some people sustained injuries.”
Consequently, another man who claimed to be a family head and gave his name as Orok Bassey Okon Umo lamented the incident, noting that CUDA would come and evacuate the corpses to mortuary pending when the deceased family will come and take them for burial.
One of the deceaseds’ son, Bassey Okon Effiom told DAILY POST on phone on Thursday, “I wasn’t around, but I was told about the incident that took place and that Village Head took Police to arrest my brother and other family members including my aunt, about three of them and two came back.
“She did all that because of the land. Yesterday, when the paramount ruler said we should come and dig the ground and bury our parents and as we were digging the ground, the Village Head’s ‘boys’ came in with guns, shooting, and they drove people away.
“She asked the boys to cover the ground we dug. She needed the compound and the land, we can’t fight her, however, anyhow she wants to do with the corpses, let her go ahead and do it. She arranged with CUDA and we don’t have the muscle to fight her,” he stated.
At the time of filing this report, the corpses were still outside where they were kept since Saturday at Ikot Uduak community, along MCC Road by Timber Market in Calabar Municipal local government area of Cross River State.