A man has been dealt a cruel fate by life and is on the edge of losing it after he has been told by the family of his dead wife that he must marry the corpse of the woman or forget to bury her.
Mr. Adejo Emmanuel whose late wife, Margaret Emmanuel died after giving birth to twins is in serious trouble as the joy that once radiated on his face has been replaced with pain, sigh and trouble. The problem is that Margaret’s family in Ebonyi are demanding that Emmanuel fulfills a vital aspect of their culture before the burial ceremonies even commence.
According to The Nation
, the problem facing Emmanuel is that before his wife’s death, he didn’t marry her. It is the typical story of many Nigerians who meet and start living together without consummating the relationship. As a result of his failure to have performed the marriage rites before the death of his wife, he has been mandated by the wife’s family not only to do the marriage rites, he will also have to do it with the dead wife’s corpse.
Emmanuel lamented while sobbing, “My life is like a balloon that was punctured with a pin, which immediately deflated it of all the joy. When a woman is pregnant the prayer is to hear the babies’ cries and that of the mother’s joy; but now the mother is gone, leaving the babies,”
Emmanuel has been barred from coming anything close to his deceased wife until the mandatory rites, rituals and and tradition are performed. Without that, they told him that he is barred from coming to his wife’s village in Akenze, Ebonyin State, let alone, burying the corpse.
Emmanuel who is from Igala and in his mid-50’s cannot understand the bizarre tradition and is pleading for help from his dead wife’s people. Even at that, he does not have the resources to fulfill all the rites.
“I don’t know what went wrong and I don’t know my sin. Like any other fellow Christian, when everybody was preparing for Christmas, I was preparing as well, both for a merry Christmas, safe delivery for my wife and a successful naming ceremony for the babies; not knowing that I had another thing coming.” he lamented.
Narrating his wife’s last moment, Emmanuel said he suddenly saw his wife at Ugbagbo farm in Owo, where he was working unannounced. “When I saw her, I scolded her and asked why she came all the way to the farm, because she was already heavy and ready to deliver. I also asked why she did not go to the hospital instead of coming to the farm to meet me. Of course, this was not her first pregnancy, as she had previously had four children before this pregnancy. To compound matters, there was no vehicle to take her back to town that evening. We therefore waited till the second day. However she went into labour in between and was delivered of the twin girls. She was attended to by Traditional Birth Attendants, but the placenta did not come out. We quickly got her into a vehicle and headed for the General Hospital at Oke-Ogun in Owo. Unfortunately she did not make it, as she gave up the ghost at the entrance of the hospital. I noticed that her condition had worsened and she was getting dizzy. She thus got to the hospital, dead. To say the least, I was devastated. I became confused and almost ran mad. The nurses, who knew her, were surprised that she went to the farm instead of the hospital. She was well known at the hospital, because that was where she had all her children. She had also attended antenatal there.”
Little help has come the way of Emmanuel as regards his twin children. Out of pity, Honourable Segun Obasekola, a Councillorship aspirant in Igboroko Nla Street, Owo and landlord of No 44, Igboroko Nla Street, gave him the room he is occupying for free. He said: “When they approached me for a room and I discovered they had no money, I have no choice but to allow them use the room free-of-charge. I did not know anyone of them, but as a community leader and a man with milk of kindness, I think this is one way I can render help. Here a Good Samaritan, Mrs. Femisola Akilamilo is taking care of the twins. Mrs. Akinlamilo, a prophetess who is also called Mother of Children (Iya Ewe) in her Cherubim and Seraphim Church.”
Speaking, the twins’ guardian Madam Akinlamilo said she was called by a church member to come and assist the motherless children who had just been delivered. She said: “My cell phone just rang last December 23 (2015), and a friend broke the news that a mother of twins had just died and there was nobody to take care of them. She added that since I am a mother of kids in the church, I should try and assist in taking care of the babies. He also said I would be given stipends. So I obliged. I am a widow, I have four children and my last child is 11 years old. Since I am not under any man’s roof, I gladly accepted the role of a guardian, as God sent me.”
Asked if she breast-feeds the babies, the woman declared in a touching voice, “There is no milk in my breasts anymore, but the nurses and doctors have recommended their food (SMA). They consume a tin of the baby food within three days, but their father is a poor farmer; so when I ran out of their food, I went to Alhaji Jamiu Ekungba, a gubernatorial aspirant in Ondo State and narrated the story to him in order to solicit his to assistance. I also met one Mr. Jide Tububo, who advised me to go to the press and do the necessary legal papers, for I was ignorant of all such stuff. As I speak, we have no food to give them today, because they have exhausted what we had in stock.”
Asked whether she had intimated the welfare office or the police that she is in custody of the babies, Mrs. Akinlamilo became a bit jittery and said, “I am ignorant of that. I am just acting as a Good Samaritan; I don’t know that I should report to the Welfare Office or the police. Please can you enlighten me more to avoid any problems,” she pleaded. Mrs. Akinlamilo said she is appealing to the state government and NGOs to come to the twins’ aide.
The tragedy of the story is that Emmanuel has not buried his wife since December. He has no money to fulfill the rites and cannot step his foot in his wife’s village unless he fulfill all the rites. The corpse of the wife has been deposited at the mortuary as there is no money to help his cause. He is alone in this wicked world, gagged on the throat by custom and tradition.
He said: “The family of my late wife have asked me to come and do marriage ceremonies. Where would I get the money from? I am confused. They should pity my condition and understand that I’m still taking care of her four children. Three of them are in secondary school, not to talk of the twins,” he said.
So while Margaret’s corpse lies in the mortuary, Emmanuel is confused and disturbed, as he is facing three hurdles: “I have no money to pay for the mortuary; I also have no money to feed the children; and my in-laws are demanding for the death certificate of their daughter, which they say I must bring along whenever I am coming. They also say it is compulsory for me to come over and do a compulsory marriage with her before she could be buried. They say some rituals must be performed and 350,000 naira must be paid to her family as part of her bride-price, before talking about the burial at all. Where do I get the money from? Am I not in trouble now?”
As his wife’s corpse lie there in the mortuary month after month, Emmanuel continues to suffer and mourn over life’s deadly blows he has received. He has no one to help him!