Tension hits Okagwe community in Ohafia Local Government Area of Abia State, over an alleged clandestine attempt by a family to bury their late father on controversial property contrary to the decision of the village’s council of elders.
ABN learnt that strangers are being treated with suspicion after the attempted secret burial was foiled.
The situation, noted indigenes, could lead to a breakdown of law and order.
It was learnt that the family of one Chief Uche, who died recently, approached the village elders for a suitable burial date as tradition demands, and the village Elders-in-Council, the governing body of the community, gave them November 11 as a burial date with a caveat not to bury their father in a disputed house.
On Friday, September 30, 2016, however, the children of the late Uche, aided by some policemen, allegedly brought his remains late in the night and secretly dug a grave in one of the rooms of the disputed property with a view to bury him there and cover up the grave.
It was learnt that the plan was foiled by members of the community’s vigilance group, after one of the armed policemen that accompanied the grave diggers got drunk and let out the plan during a telephone conversation with an unidentified colleague.
It was gathered that the vigilance group apprehended the grave diggers, who revealed during interrogation how they were hired for the plan.
The grave diggers were afterwards sent out of the community.
Our correspondent gathered that the policemen that allegedly protected the grave diggers were on illegal duty.
It emerged that they came from Benue State on the instruction of a senior police officer that is close to the family of the deceased.
Commenting on the development, one of the community leaders who asked not to be named, said: “It is a sacrilege. What happened was an abomination and unheard of not just in the history of our community but the entire Ohafia town.”
“The late Chief Uche’s family and their cousins are engaged in dispute over ownership of a house in the community. Subsequently, the late Uche‘s children were banned from burying their father in the disputed property on Amaguzo Road, Okagwe.
One of the daughters of the deceased, Chioma, did not answer her mobile phone number on Thursday and failed to reply to a text message sent to the number.
A few hours later, a man who would not be named and who claimed to be Chioma’s husband, later called back and declined comments on the ground of being an in-law of the family. He said: “I am Chioma’s husband, but I cannot speak on the matter because I am a son in-law to the family. Moreover, this telephone number belongs to me and not my wife.
However, the secretary of Okagwe Development Union (ODU), Mr. Michael Huomah, confirmed the incident in a telephone conversation. “Yes,” he said. “It is true that there was an attempt to secretly bury the man (Uche) but it was foiled by the community’s vigilante group. I think that one of those hired to do the job let out the information and the community promptly prevented them from carrying out such assignment.
“The community took that decision because the disputed property on which the burial was to be carried out is currently a subject of litigation in a state High Court and we felt that they should wait for the outcome of the case before embarking on such plan.
“It is somehow strange that they resorted to clandestinely dig a grave in the compound after the actual burial has been scheduled for November and the community’s leadership felt the attempted secret burial was out of proportion. We have one of the most efficient vigilante group in Ohafia and they have their ears on the ground to forestall any breakdown of law and order.”
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