The remains of an Akwa Ibom man buried in his community have been exhumed under controversial circumstances and the coffin discarded somewhere in the community.
The corpse was later taken back to the morgue, while the matter is being investigated by the police.
The deceased, Aniefiok Bassey, 61, died on 23 July , 2021 and was buried on 25 September after elaborate funeral rites, including a church service, but his corpse was exhumed four hours after, in a manner that shocked residents of the community.
The incident occurred in Usung Itiat community in OrukAnam Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State.
Uduak Bassey, a relative of the deceased, said in a petition to the police that what happened was an abomination, capable of causing a crisis in the community.
Mr Bassey told the police that the corpse was exhumed by the chairman of Usung Atiat village council, Aniedu Thompson, because the family of the deceased did not provide items he demanded before the man’s burial.
He said a goat, five tubers of yam, one jar of palm wine were among the items demanded by the village council chairman.
The village council chairman, Mr Thompson, when contacted, admitted he demanded the items on behalf of the village, adding that the late man was part of the council members who made the law that has now affected his family.
Mr Thompson alleged that the deceased poisoned someone’s wife while alive and was banished from the community.
The burial programme of late Aniefiok Bassey
“That was the reason those items were demanded by the village before the burial,” he said.
He, however, denied taking part in the exhumation which he said was done because the corpse was buried in a disputed land.
Mfon Sunday, an indigene of the nearby community, Nung Oku Ubo 1, admitted to PREMIUM TIMES that he exhumed the corpse which he said was buried in his land.
Mr Sunday, who spoke in Pidgin English, said he was ready to fight with anyone who would step into the land.
“If I no take action, somebody will ask me say the time wey the thing happen wetin you do,” he said in Pidgin English.
Silas Akifa, another family member of the deceased, admitted that there was dispute over the land, but that a Customary Court in the area had ruled in favour of the deceased last year.