The village council chairman of Usung Atiat community in Oruk Anam Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State allegedly exhumed the corpse a 61-year-old Aniefiok Daniel Effiong after the family of the deceased failed to provide some items before he was buried.
The family of the deceased have petitioned the state Deputy Commissioner of Police over alleged desecration of his corpse by the village council chairman and others.
The remains of a 61-year-old Effiong, were said to have been allegedly exhumed on the order of the village council chairman, Chief Aniedu Thompson Okon because the deceased family failed to give him some items.
Prior to the interment of the deceased remains, the village council via letter signed by the Chairman and Secretary-in-Council, Ikobong John, on September 20, 2021, sent a letter to the family, demanding for the following items to be given to the council before burial date: 1 she goat, 5 tubers of yam, a jar of palmwine, 1 crate of mineral, 1 carton of beer, 1 bottle of kai-kai (local gin), 1 bottle of Lords Dry Gin, garden egg, tobacco, ntuen ibok (alligator pepper), condiments and firewood.
In the letter, the council said the items were for to be given as punishment for an “abnormal act” committed by the deceased while alive.
“Note: Failure to bring the items, no burial should be conducted in the village,” the letter warned.
The family were, however, not told the “abnormal act” referenced by the village council and went ahead with the burial on September 25, 2021.
The petition, dated September 27, 2021, signed by the deceased’s cousin, Uduak Effiong Bassey and titled “A case of desecration of corpse and unlawful possession of arms perpetuated by Mr Aniedu Okon Thompson (Chairman, Village Council), Ikobong John (Chairman, Village Council), Udo Lincoln, Udo Iboro Akpanusen, Mfon Sunday Udoakpan and others.”
The petitioner alleged that in addition to the letter, the village council chairman verbally threatened him that the burial would not hold, citing one Silas Akifa as witness.
“Akifa together with me were able to identify the above persons desecrating the remains of late Aniefiok Bassey, firing gunshots into the air and eventually dumped the corpse by a bush track and covered the grave,” he said.
“As at the time of writing, the corpse is still left abandoned by a bush track and this constitutes abomination, an act that is capable of plunging the village into crisis.”
The police command was “as a matter of urgency, intervene in this matter and bring the culprits to justice to forestall breakdown of law and order in Usung Atiat village.”