By CHIMAOBI UCHENDU
The final resting place for former National Security Adviser (NSA), General Andrew Azazi, who died in a helicopter crash, is now shrouded in controversy, with elders, chiefs and youths of his oil rich Peretorugbene community, in Bayelsa State, have cautioned against his burial in Yenagoa.
They said that the repercussion of such action might be grievous for their community. Speaking with Saturday Sun, Chief A. Ebikake, a senior chief in the community and Tubereoke Azazi, a member of the Azazi family, said lessons learnt from the burial of the grand father of the late Gen. Azazi, Pa Azazi, in a neighbouring community of Egbemo-Angalabiri, is enough to caution those planning to bury the late general outside his community. They said that the late General Azazi personally supervised the exhuming of his grand father’s corpse for proper burial when it became obvious that the wrongful burial site caused untold hardship to the community.
According to them, “we don’t have any personal grudge against the burial of our illustrious son in Yenagoa, but what we fear is the danger that will come thereafter. We are witnesses to the wrongful burial of Pa Azazi, the grand father of the late General in Egbeme-Angalabiri, a neighbouring community and the calamity that followed. Even the late Azazi participated in the cleansing of the land by exhuming the body when he was a major in the Nigeria Army.
“We the chiefs, elders and youths of Peretorugbene community are not against our son’s burial in Yenagoa, but what we are against is the repercussion that would follow. It is on record that the late Azazi’s grand father, whose name he chose to answer instead of his own father, James, as is practised in Ijaw nation, was also a victim of wrong burial. He was wrongfully buried in Egbeme-Angalabiri and his body was later exhumed for proper burial, after series of calamity befell the Azazi family and this action was supervised by the late General.
“He was a man in touch with the tradition of his people and we cannot fold our hands and watch a few individuals who are uninformed to ruin our land.” They berated the late General’s wife and children for their plan, insisting that they would boycott the burial activities lined up if the decision is not reversed. “We are aware that his wife is not an Ijaw lady, but from the Itshekiri stock, which prompted her decision to tell Army authorities that the final resting place of her husband will be in Yenagoa, but we expect those close to her to educate her.
Ijaw nation has traditions and culture, which we cherish so much. It is by Ijaw tradition that the larger family, the community and members of a bereaved family determine the final resting place of the dead, but these people violated all this to tell the world that our illustrious son would be buried in Yenagoa without consultations. We want to warn here that anyone who buries Gen. Azazi in Yenagoa does that at his or her own risk.”