From David Onwuchekwa, Nnewi

The propriator of Rojenny Tourist Village, Oba, in Idemili South Local Government Area of Anambra State, Chief Rommy Ezeonwuka (Ogilisi Igbo) has warned members of Igbo traditional society and Christian Churches in Igboland to desist from what he described as celebration of corpses and keeping dead bodies in mortuaries, a practice he said is capable of increasing the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Chief Ezeonwuka gave the warning at Ekwulobia while speaking at the burial of Monsignors Prof Johnbosco Akam of Uga and Ezeokoli of Nkoplogwu on same day at St Joseph’s Cathedral Ekwulobia.

He noted that some people loved the dead more than the living, insisting that preserving and stockpiling dead bodies in cold rooms at a time of a second wave of the coronavirus pandemic could spell doom for the general public. He wondered why some people, including Church leaders, could not accept that the coronavirus is real.

‘We have to stop depositing and preserving corpses in mortuaries. We have to stop celebrating dead bodies under unnatural religious practice. It’s not our culture to celebrate and carry corpses around. I call for abolition of keeping corpses in mortuaries in the entire Igboland. I warn that time shall come when diseases more deadlier than COVID-19 will manifest and wipe off everybody for withholding the corpses of dead people from going into the six feet,’ he said.

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‘Souls of the departed should be librated to unite with the spirits of their anscestors and keeping them in the mortuaries is injurious to their souls.The anscestors at a point will revolt and attack the living with mysterious diseases, bad luck and misfortune as already started happening now.

‘As the spiritual leader of the Igbo nation, I want to make it clear that it is neither right nor safe to deposit a corpse in the mortuary. In Islam, they bury the dead body immediately at its demise and that’s why Moslems are fearless and always proclaim that God is great. Let the Christians start doing the same because that is what nature and God demands.

‘If someone dies, bury the person immediately and then fix the date for funeral ceremony instead of corpse burial ceremony. The idea of celebrating dead bodies in the name of Church service is vampirism, unnatural and harmful to the living; we have to stop it,’ he said.

Chief Ezeonwuka cited one-time President-General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo and a renowned medical Doctor from Nnewi Dr Dozie Ikedife, who he said instructed his children never to deposit his corpse in a mortuary when he died, appealing to the public that late Ikedife has to be emulated so as to avoid the attendant ills of keeping corpses in mortuaries.

He described the three late Monsignors and a priest that were buried on the same day in Anambra as friends, allies and intellectuals who contributed to the progress of the Catholic Church and education in Nigeria, urging the Bishops and Catholic families in Anambra to bear the losses with fortitude.