- Bereaved families abandon corpses in morgues
The people of Eziowelle, in Idemili North Local council Area of Anambra state, South- East Nigeria, have protested against the high cost of funeral ceremony in the locality.
The development according to them is forcing bereaved families in the community to abandon the remains of their loved ones in various morgues in parts of the state.
Speaking to newsmen on the issue in Awka, the Anambra state capital, some indigenes of the area, who lamented the development, said that bereaved families were expected to pay the sum of N1 million to the leadership of the community’s town union before commencing burial rites. They lamented that most families find it extremely difficult to raise such amount of money
Chief Felix Okafor and Emeka Akukwe, who spoke on behalf of the community, said the leadership of the town had three years ago introduced what was known as burial levy of N1 million on every bereaved family in the area before they could commence the funeral arrangements of their loved ones.
He said: “As a result of this, many families have abandoned their loved ones in morgues for months because they are finding the costs too high.
“So, they have to leave them in the mortuary until they can work out how to pay the levy. If you fail to do so, the town union leadership would mobilize thugs to attack you. This is the type of yoke we are passing through in Eziowelle community’’.
Aside from burial ceremony, they stated that it was the same for anyone who intended to commence a building project in the community.
Akukwe added that the people of the area were already fed up with the leadership of the town union, stressing that; “it is because of some of these anomalies that I presented myself as a candidate in the just concluded town union election in the area”.
He equally alleged that he was rigged out of the election saying, “I’m a geologist by training and a consultant in the field. Ordinarily I won’t have anything to do with a community town union election.
“But I had to come in because of the bondage my people are subjected to. They are subjected to all manner of intimidation and dehumanization.
“So, some of us had to intervene to save our community because Eziowelle is a peace-loving and progressive community. In that election, they used all manner of intrigues, intimidation and manipulation of the constitution to subvert the people’s wish and and aspirations.”
The community elder, however appealed to the State Governor, Willie Obiano, to as a matter of urgency intervene on the issue, so as to save the people from bondage as well as crisis.