There is a palpable tension in Okagwe community in Ohafia council area of Abia State over an alleged attempt by a family to smuggle in their late father’s corpse in the night and secretly bury him, against the order of the village elders.
Commenting on the development, one of the community leaders said: “It is sacrilege. What happened was an abomination and unheard of in the history of the not just our community, but the entire Ohafia.”
According to a source from the village, a certain Chief Uche had died and when the family approached the village elders for a suitable burial date as tradition demands, the village Elders in Council, the governing body of the community, gave them November 11 as burial date but with a caveat not to bury their father in a disputed house.
The late Chief Uche’s family and their cousins are engaged in dispute over ownership of a house in the community. The elders, from their past investigations, discovered the house was not Uche’s.
With his death, the late Uche ‘s children ban from burying their father in the disputed property on Amaguzo Road, Okagwe.
However, on Friday, September 30, the deceased family were alleged to have brought in some outsiders protected by armed police men , and secretly dug a grave in one of the rooms of the disputed property with the view to smuggle in the corpse of their father in the middle of the same night and bury him
The community got to know when one of the armed policemen that accompanied the grave diggers, after heavy drinking , was overheard saying they were in the community for an operation.
Some community vigilante members summoned courage to ask him what operation they had come for. Investigation by the community’s vigilante group led to the discovery of the secret grave being dug.
The shocked villagers raised an alarm, the strangers were apprehended after interrogation, they gave details on how they were conscripted for the secret job.
The grave diggers were told to close the dug grave after which they were sent away. They, including the policemen who were believed to be on illegal duty, were ordered out of the community and not to return as the community threatened that their safety would not be guaranteed.
However, the leaders of the community are also calling on the police authorities to investigate how policemen were assigned for this nocturnal illegal duty that was capable of causing break down of law and order as the youths of the community had to be restrained from resorting to violence.
However, according to the source, the police officers neither came from the Ohafia Divisional Police Headquarters nor the Abia State Police command.
They pointed accusing finger at the husband of one the late Chief Uche’s daughters , a superintendent of police based in Bauchi State, for using policemen to settle personal scores.