Vanguard (Lagos)

13 February 2013

Nigeria: Ezu River - Corpses to Be Exhumed Again

The 25 unidentified corpse which were found floating on Ezu river in Awka, Anambra State, may again be exhumed for the second time, following revelations that the police did not give approval for their burial.

Apart from the non-approval by the police, the corpses were hurriedly buried at the bank of the river which is the only source of water for the community.

These were the feelers from the Senate Committee on Police Affairs and Security and Intelligence which visited Ezu river in Amansea, Awka north local government area of the state yesterday.

Vanguard investigation team was already at Ama-Owerri, in Amansea at the time of their arrival.

The committees discovered that the corpses were not properly buried and that they could be washed back into the river any time it overflows its bank.

The committees, led by Senator Muhammed Magoro, had asked Anambra State Commissioner of Police, Bala Nasarawa, whether he gave approval for the burial which he denied. The committee expressed disgust over the burial, without the approval of the police who ougtht to be investigating the matter remarked that it was wrong to bury them close to the river bank.

"The corpses were buried close to the river which is the only source of water and if the river overflows its bank, the corpses will be washed back to the river, he said."

The State Commissioner of Health, Dr Lawrence Ikeakor said the bodies would be exhumed.

This will be the second time the bodies will be exhumed. The bodies were first exhumed for autopsy after examination on three of the bodies were carried out.

The committees were not happy that other neighbouring communities as Ugwuoba were not represented.

There were contradictory reports on how the bodies were found. While some said the bodies were already decomposed and floating, others said there were blood stains on the bridge which is approximately 200 meters from a police post, indicating that the bodies were fresh but the police commissioner while responding to question by members of the committee, said there were no blood stains found in the area.

Vanguard investigation revealed that a woman living in the area said she noticed a vehicle parked on the bridge and some people were throwing some objects into the river. "Around 3am while I was preparing my Kunnu for sale, I noticed some people were at the bridge throwing objects into the river."

Igwe Kenneth Okonkwo of Amansea, who disclosed that no member of the community was missing, after being prompted by the senate committee, said the community is employing the traditional means of fact finding which he said would soon be concluded.

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