The body of the late UNIPORT student
Chukwudi Akasike and Friday Amobi, Port Harcourt
The parents of a 20-year-old student of the University of Port Harcourt, who drowned in Choba River on June 1, 2016, have kicked against the pre-burial “sacrifice” proposed by the Choba community.
While the community insisted that the parents would pay the sum of N115, 000 for sacrifice before the late student, Omoseebi John Temidayo, could be buried, the father of the deceased kicked against the tradition, insisting that his status as a Christian would not support such a sacrifice.
Temidayo, a first-year student of the Faculty of Art and Humanity got drowned in Choba River when he was expected to be doing a menial job at a construction site.
The corpse remained by the side of the river for some days after it was found by a search party and was later buried according to the custom of the community.
The father of the deceased, Mr. Andrew Omoseebi, agreed that the decomposing body of his son be taken to their hometown in Oke Oro Ijero LGA of Ekiti State, but disagreed with the Paramount Ruler of Choba, His Royal Highness, Eze Raymond Okocha, on the payment of N115,000 for sacrifice.
On the controversy surrounding the burial of the deceased by the riverside, the paramount ruler stated that he was not hostile to the late boy’s parents, adding that he was only following the tradition mildly.
He said, “The father of the late boy came to my palace alongside some other pastors to tell me that their son drowned in the Choba River.
“I told them that in our culture, the corpse would be buried by the riverside. I also told them instances of what happened to people who disobeyed. I told them to carry the corpse if they insisted on taking the corpse to their place for burial.
“We considered them so much and never wanted to give them strict conditions as the culture would demand. This is because it would have been bad for the corpse to decay into the river.
“The money they said we demanded was for the burial rite by the riverside. Those who will bury the decaying corpse are not slaves.
“They were meant to pay N150, 000, but I subsidized the money for them with my own money to ensure that the boy is buried and is not allowed to decay into the river.
“I did not hinder them from carrying the corpse for autopsy or going ahead with other investigations into the events that lead to the death of the boy.”
Similarly, the father of the deceased (Omoseebi) though he did not insist that he would take his child’s body back to Ekiti State for burial, he was angered by the demand for money from grief-stricken parents of the deceased.
Omosebi said, “How can the Oba (monarch) of that community demand N115, 000 from us as if we came to marry a woman from the community. I am mourning the death of my only son and I am a Christian.”