By; PATRICK TITUS, Uyo
One person has been arrested while others are at large for alleged desecration of the dead in Usung Atiat Village on Oruk Anam Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State.
The suspects were said to have exhumed the corpse of a 61-year old Aniefiok Daniel Effiong after he was buried by his family over some conflicting issues between the deceased family and the suspects.
Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO) in the state, SP Odiko MacDon who confirmed the arrest said that the corpse has been recovered and deposited in a mortuary.
MacDon said that the investigation carried by the command showed that there was a land dispute concerning the bereaved family and the other party who said the deceased should not be buried in the disputed land.
Upon the deceased family going further to bury their member on the disputed land angered the other party who went and exhumed the corpse after burial.
The PPRO said that the Commissioner of Police in the state, CP Andrew Amiengheme has ordered a discrete investigation into the matter to bring the suspects to book.
“The incident occurred in Usung Atiat Village in Oruk Anam Local Government Area. Actually the body was exhumed and the police has recovered the corpse and deposited at the morgue. There was a land dispute concerning the bereaved and the other party who said the deceased should not be buried in the disputed land. They went and exhumed the corpse after burial.
“Now the matter is with the State C.I.D while the Commissioner of Police has ordered discreet investigation into the matter. One person has been arrested while others are at large . The police is trailing other suspects to ensure that they brought to book,” SP MacDon stated.
Meanwhile, report making the rounds in community from the deceased family had it that, the late Effiong’s corpse was exhumed by Usung Atiat Village Council Chairman, Chief Aniedu Thompson Okon because (they, the deceased family) failed to pay fine for an alleged offence which he committed while alive.
It was further gathered that the Village Council of Usung Atiat community has a laid down rule of collecting edible items before the dead could be buried.
The items include: She goat, tubers of yam, a jar of palm wine, one crate of soft drinks, one Carton of beer, one bottle of local gin, a bottle of Lords Dry gin, garden egg, one bottle of snuff, alligator pepper and other condiments including a bundle of firewood to cook.
It was gathered that prior to the burial date, the village chairman had sent a letter to the bereaved family warning them of consequences for failing to provide above items before interment .
The letter reads in parts: “Failure to bring the items for committing an abnormal Acts , burial should not be conducted in the village,” the letter warned.
The family was said to have ignored the threat letter and continue with the funeral as the family did not understand the ‘abnormal act’ contained in letter.
According to the family, after the burial, the village chairman stormed the deceased compund with local thugs firing gunshots into the air and exhumed the corpse dumped it along the village footpath where it stings and decomposed .
Continuing, the family source said such act was outright desecration of the dead which would require another round rituals to rebury and appease the gods to avert calamity in the family and entire community
However, the son of the deceased, Mr Uduak Effiong Bassey has cried for justice demanding the village council to rebury his late father or face the law for desecrating the dead.
In a petition titled, dated September 27, 2021: “A case of Desecration of Corpse and unlawful possession of Arms Pepetrated by the Village Chairman – Aniedu Okon Thompson and four others, the deceased’s son urged the state government to intervened and save the community from impending doom and health hazard as the corpse was decomposing in the village.
His petition letter, which the police acted and effected arrest of one person, after investigation revealed the earlier position contrary to what the deceased family alleged.