BY PETER OKUTU
ABAKALIKI-NINE persons were weekend, reported to have been severely burnt on different parts of their bodies following a mysterious explosion from a canon gun known as “Okpalali” at Ekwetekwe community of Umuezeoka in Ezza North Local government area of Ebonyi state.
The tragic incident which took place at Orie market play ground in Ekwetekwe community was said to have happened during the burial ceremony of a community member, late Paul Anyigor who died last month in a ghastly motor accident.
Vanguard learnt that the deceased burial ceremony which was suppose to be accompanied with intermittent shooting of the cannon gun in order to enliven the occasion turned sour, when a native (name withheld) who was preparing to shot the gun failed to appropriately use an iron to press down the gun powder into the canister.
According to report, the iron incidentally made the gun powder in the canister to strike the cannon, igniting a fire which led to an explosion that burnt the nine persons, including children in the area.
The victims which include: Chikwado Ifere, Nnenna Agbom, Nwafor Ogbonnaya, Nwafor Ibeabuchi, Nweke Jacob, Nwokporo Emmanuel, Nwokporo Chukwuemeka, Aluma Tochukwu and Anyigor Chinedu were not essentially members of the family of the deceased but sympathizers who came to pay their respect to the Anyigor family.
According to a source, the victims who were in a critical condition when they were rushed to the Federal Teaching Hospital, Abakaliki, FETHA had been referred to the Orthopaedic hospital, Enugu for thorough medical treatment.
Meantime, some elders who spoke with our correspondent alleged that the incident occurred because of the flagrant disobedience to the tradition of Ezza land in the state, which according to them, required that a man who did not bury his father or mother with gunshots should not be buried with same as they also alleged that the deceased did not pay his last respect to his late father with gunshot and therefore same gesture shouldn’t have been accorded to him.
“The tradition requires that a man who did not bury his ancestor with a cow, goat and any other thing should not be buried with all these things. This is a man who did not shot cannon gun for his late father when he died, but they even did that for him before his arrival from the mortuary to his compound.
He did not respect the tradition of the land.
Therefore, the deceased can only have a gunshot only when he must have been laid to rest and not before; that was why the gunshot they were preparing caught fire and burnt nine persons” they insisted. Ends
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