A human rights organisation, Civil Right Council (CRC), has written to the Chairman of Ughelli South Local Government Area of Delta State over the abandonment of the remains of two victims of herdsmen attacks in the mortuary since 2015.
The CRC said in a petition obtained by SaharaReporters on Tuesday that suspected herdsmen had invaded the community in 2015 and murdered three youths namely; Godspower Oghenevwegba Ekpejuku, 35, Gideon Iboye, 25 and Oghenevwarhe Ovueferayen, 25.


The organisation added that after the gruesome killing of the young men, some Nigerian police operatives visited the scene of the incident, retrieved the remains of Godspower Ekpejuku and Gideon Iboye and dumped them at a General Hospital Mortuary in Ughelli.
But the corpse of Oghenevwarhe Ovueferayen was said to have been discovered and buried after the police left the scene of the incident.
The state Spokesperson of CRC, Akpomedawaro Ike, informed Sahara Reporters that in their application for the release of the corpses to their families for proper burials, the Delta local council turned a nonchalant attitude to the plights of the families of the deceased. 
Ike further explained that a petition titled, “APPLICATION FOR THE RELEASE OF THE CORPSES OF GODSPOWER OGHENEWVEGBA EKPEJUKU AND (IDEON IBOYE FOR PROPER BURIAL BY THEIR FAMILIES,” which was jointly signed by him and the chairman of the organisation, Agbubi Emmanuel Ejowvoke was issued to the council chairman, Richard Kofi, sometimes in April 2021, yet the bodies of the two men were yet to be released to them.
The petition read, "We the above-named organisation with the thrusts of promoting good governance, social justice, and human rights across Delta State in conjunction with the Assah Community in Ughelli South Local Government Area, and the deceased families humbly request for the release of the corpses of Godspower Oghenevwegba Ekpejuku, 35 and Gideon Iboye, 25 for proper burial by their families.
"On February 8, 2015, the Assah Community was reportedly invaded by suspected Fulani herdsmen which led to the murdered of three youths namely: Godspower Oghenevwegba Ekpejuku, 35, Gideon Iboye, 25 and Oghenevwarhe Ovueferayen, 25. While the corpses of Godspower Oghenevwegba Ekpejuku and Gideon Iboye were recovered by men of the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) from the Otu-Jeremi Divisional Headquarters who deposited them at the Ughelli General Hospital Mortuary on February 9, 2015, the corpse of Oghenevwarhe Ovueferayen was discovered after the departure of the police and buried.
“Previously, the Assah Community had been overwhelmed by pressure from the bereaved families demanding for the corpses of their loss loved ones from the Ughelli General Hospital Management for burial but they were referred to the Ou-Jeremi Police Station.
“At the Otu-Jeremi Police Station, they were also asked to meet the Council Chairman for approval but several attempts to meet with the former Council Chairman was futile and the mission aborted.
"And we also use this to apply for a round table discussion with Assah community to prevent a future reoccurrence and other security issues. Your prompt response in this regard will be appreciated, please."
Despite the petition, the local government officials failed to grant their demands.
Ike further noted that officials at the local government also allegedly stopped picking calls and boycotted meetings called by the family over the funeral arrangements.
In a statement obtained on Tuesday, the CRC stated further, “Last year was eventful and I learnt not to vilify the police in the quest to enthrone a just society but with strategic engagement, embark on advocacies that the end will be favorable to all parties involved.
"After the one day public lecture we had with the heads of the Police, the Federal Road Safety Corps, and the DSS etc, we embarked on what I christened “dead body” advocacy which is currently causing a row with the Ughelli South Council.
"Alongside the State Chairman of the CRC, Emmanuel Agbubi, I travelled to a farming village of Assah Community in April to get first hand details of the case of abandoned corpses of victims of herdsmen invasion since 2015.
"There and then, police permission for the release of the corpses was granted and outstanding mortuary bills costed. Same was forwarded to the Dr. Richard Kofi led Ughelli South Council for approval and compensation.
"The nonchalance of the council towards the plight of the deceased families and bereaved community was unprecedented. From one office to another, they tried to talk us out of our demands which included an outright ban on the activities of herdsmen in that axis.
“The deceased families are tired of the Council’s rigmarole and we will seek to collaborate with higher authorities to ensure that the corpses are laid to rest in the first quarter of this year.
“It is a bad thing to be murdered but for the corpses to remain abandoned poses a greater tragedy for the society. Their lives were snatched; the cry for justice is to grant them rest." 

 

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