Village Head jumps into grave, stops children from burying parents in Cross River
Drama ensued when a village Head in Ikot Uduak community, Calabar Municipal local government area of Cross River State allegedly jumped into graves that were being dug for a couple in the village.
The Village Head, Her Highness Efio-Awan Asuquo Asibon had stopped the burial of the couple, late Mr and Mrs Ekpe Okon Effiom on the excuse that they are non-indigenes of the community.
According to one of the sons of the late couple, while digging the grave, she jumped inside the grave and stopped the people from digging it.
While narrating the incident, the son of the late couple, Bassey Okon Edet, pointed at the corpses and said, “That is the corpses of my father and mother and the compound is where my grandfather bought and later transferred to my father, Ekpe Okon Effiom. We have the agreement and documents of the land.
“The Village Head, Efio-Awan Asibong, who lives close to our compound wanted to sell our land but because my father was alive, she couldn’t do it. And she didn’t make any attempt to eject my father. My father lived there and gave birth to 11 children (10 male and one female) and we’d lived here for many years and also given birth to children.”
Bassey further said, “When my father died, all of a sudden, Asibong said she wants to take over the compound. She’d sold part of the land to someone who had already built a pharmacy store there. Now, when we wanted to bury our parents, the woman (Asibong) said we shouldn’t bury them here, stating that we are not from here.
“We sought help from the community leaders and others who said we have to bury our parents in that compound, but the Village Head insisted that we can’t bury our parents because they are not from here.
“She said her mother gave my father the land for free, but it was a lie because the document that my father bought the land is there. The land document was written and signed in 1954. While digging the grave, she jumped inside the grave and stopped the people from digging it.
“Even if she wants to have the compound, she should have, at least have sympathy on us and other children by dividing the compound into two halves and not for her to say she’ll push us out and use a bulldozer to bring down all the structures that we’ve erected,” he said.
When contacted, the Village Head, Efio-Awan Asibong said that the people are her tenants, explaining that they don’t have any document to the land and vowed that if they bury the corpses, she will exhume them.
“One of the deceased sons came to me and I showed him a place (their family compound across the road) to bury his mother and father and he agreed, but his family rejected it and he didn’t come back to tell me, instead they came with the people and insisted they must bury their parents as they started digging their graves.
“I earlier brought people to help dig the graves for them where I originally showed them, but when they started digging the grave, one of them, Clement Ene, went and drove the boys digging the graves away and said he gave me N60, 000.
“I later called him and returned the N60, 000 back to him and told him to carry the corpses to either Goldie Cemetery to bury them there, but they refused. They are my tenants; I gave them a letter over 6 months ago to go to Calabar Municipality Council to show that we have agreed to bury someone here.
“After they collected the N60, 000 they gave to me, they agreed to carry the corpses to bury elsewhere, but they turned around and left. They don’t have any documents concerning this land. If they agree that they bought the land, then ask them to show you the agreement and the person that signed it.
“There’s an agreement between us and everyone we give land here, but where is theirs? If they had buried their father and mother, we would have gone to court and get an order to exhume the corpses,” she stated.
Meanwhile, one of the tenants, who pleaded anonymity alleged that the Village Head wants to sell the land.
“She claimed the deceased are not from the community, but the children to the deceased said their father bought the land and they have the document,” he added.