Friday, December 5, 2014 10:31 pm
Chief Jim Nwobodo, a former governor of the old Anambra state and a respected statesman, today stunned many guests at the burial ceremony of his first son, Ifeanyi, when he locked out the corpse from being buried in the family home.
After the funeral service for the younger Nwobodo at St. Mathew’s Anglican Church Amechi-Awkunanaw, the officiating priests and guests were stunned when they followed the cortege to the family compound and met the unexpected: the entrance to the house was securely locked. And to boot, heavily armed security operatives were on hand to prevent entry.
Villagers, friends and sympathizers, who thronged Amechi-Awkunanaw, a small town, south of Enugu were perplexed.
Sympathisers, who came as early as 9 a.m. for the commendation service at and those at the reception arena left in anger as the controversy raged.
As at 3.30 p.m., family members, the clergy, politicians and other concerned friends were still meeting and pleading with the father of the deceased to resolve the issue. Because of Chief Nwobodo’s adamant position, the burial of the son could not be done and the body had to be returned to the morgue, with the burial postponed indefinitely.
A close family source, who preferred anonymity, told newsmen that the controversy started years ago between the mother of the deceased and his father.
“Elders in Amechi had in the past two days pleaded with Jim to allow the corpse of his son to be buried in his compound, but he blatantly refused, saying that he does not want the deceased to enter his compound weather dead or alive.’’
The source noted that according to tradition, the moment a first son dies before his father, he automatically loses his right of inheritance to the second son.
The source regretted that even when the second son, who would inherit the compound, agreed that his brother be buried in the compound, Jim Nwobodo refused.
Commenting on the development, the second son, Mr Chukwudi Nwobodo, said that whenever his father agreed that his brother would be buried in the compound, the corpse would be allowed in.
Reacting to the development, the Archbishop of Enugu Arch-Diocese of the Anglican Communion, Most Rev. Emmanuel Chukwuma, described the situation as “a disgrace to the nation, Christianity, the Igbos and humanity’’.
He said that the church had accepted to bury the deceased in the church compound since it was rejected by Chief Nwobodo.
Another clergyman, who would not want his name to be mentioned, said: “I have never seen this type of situation anywhere in Igboland.
“This is food for thought for all of us that are still alive to make peace with our neighbours because nobody knows when death will call.’’
Some of the dignitaries who came for the burial include the Deputy Senate President, Chief Ike Ekweremmadu, Mr Peter Obi, Chief Victor Umeh, Sen. Chris Ngige, Mrs Fidelia Njeze and Mr Frank Nweke Jnr. among others.