Sunday, July 25, 2021

Igbo widow cries out over barbaric burial rites

They said she must drink the water to prove that she was not responsible for her husband’s death.

• June 13, 2021
A widow’s hair being shaved used to illustrate the story [Photo credit: CNN]

A 34-year-old widow, Chioma Asomugha from Ubahuekem in Ihiala area of Anambra State has raised an alarm that her in-laws were forcing her to drink water used in bathing her late husband’s corpse.

Ms Chioma, who confirmed the report in a telephone interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Sunday in Awka, alleged that the brothers of her late husband, Charles, said she must drink the water to prove that she was not responsible for her husband’s death but that she would not do that.

Ms Chioma said that she and her late husband lived peacefully in Ojo area of Lagos before his death.

“I have four children with my late husband and we lived at Ajangbadi, Ojo area of Lagos before his demise.

“The burial is fixed for Monday, June 14, but since we came home for the burial, the relatives of my husband forced me out of my matrimonial home.

“They insisted that before I will be allowed to come in that I will drink the water used in bathing my late husband’s corpse,” she claimed.

Ms Chioma said she took the matter to National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) in Awka as well as her Oraifite people with a view to resolving the matter.

Laura Ugwuanyi, coordinator of NHRC in Anambra, confirmed the report, describing it as obnoxious.

She said efforts made to handle the matter did not yield positive results as the family members were not cooperating.

A community leader in the area, Gerald Nnabugwu, told NAN that the leadership of the community was looking into the matter.

The state commissioner for Information and Public Enlightenment Don Adinuba also promised to intervene in the matter.

When contacted, Okey Chukwu, president of the Ubahuekem community said he was in a meeting and promised to call back, but at the time of this report, his phone was switched off.

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