The Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) has asked residents of the Southeast to bury their dead ones within three days to avert what it called ancestral curses.
It said it has been discovered that keeping corpses in the mortuary for too long is the bane of Ndigbo in all material circumstances.
In a statement by its Media and Publicity Secretary, Emma Powerful, IPOB said it was not the culture of the Igbo to keep corpses for a long time before burial.
It insisted that bereaved families should be allowed to commit their dead ones to mother earth while a date for the burial ceremony could be fixed for a later date.
The statement reads in part: “We wish to announce to all Biafrans, friends of Biafra and lovers of Biafra freedom that it is high time Biafrans start burying our dead within three days as it was in ancient times. IPOB has gone too deep in the spiritual and finds out that keeping our dead ones for so long is contributing to the major problems of Ndigbo in these present times.
“Our ancestors were burying their dead ones within three days and that is our culture and it helped our ancestors spiritually. Igbos have a very rich and spiritually based culture which our ancestors maintained from the beginning of time.
”The present habit of keeping dead bodies more than three days and even months and years in the mortuary have had dire effects on our land and contributed to the spiritual weakness of Igbo Nation and of the entire Biafraland, moral decadence and all manner of evil that have taken root in our land.
“Now that IPOB has come to realise that this alien practice of keeping the dead on land rather than committed to mother earth has had a very negative impact on our people and upon our land. It has therefore become very imperative to urge our people to revert to the old practices that have a very positive effect on our well-being both spiritually and otherwise.
“After some thorough investigation, we have come to the realisation that all the reasons given by our people which cause the unnecessary delay in burying our dead within a short period are neither cogent nor important enough.
”These reasons are all man-made mostly monetary conditions from the bereaved families, traditional rites, churches and Umunna. Some of these reasons were self-imposed while others are just to punish the deceased’s families and make money from the dead.
“We therefore beg our people, religious leaders, traditional rulers and mostly the Umunna both men and women to stop tasking bereaved families as a condition before they are allowed to commit their departed loved one to mother earth.
”Some of our people have turned burial as a carnival and asking families to pay levies or debt for their dead ones is an abomination and must be stopped forthwith.
“As it was in past, bereaved families should be allowed to commit their dead ones to mother earth while a date for the burial ceremony is fixed for a later date as well as whatever levies that need to be collected. But using reasons of non-payment of burial levies to stockpile dead bodies in the mortuaries is what IPOB don’t want again in our territory. Our people should revert to our old healthy tradition of burying the dead and do the needful at specific times within their reach.
“IPOB will engage Church Leaders, Town Unions and Traditional Rulers and Umunna on this regard. We are advising them to prepare their minds for this clarion call because IPOB will develop the strategy of curtailing the excessive use of mortuary in our Region. This strategy may include compelling the shut down of so many mortuaries littered all over our land. The only dead bodies that can be allowed to stay longer in the mortuary are those in court or under police investigation.
“Keeping dead ones so long without putting them into the mother earth is a problem to the lives of Ndigbo both home and abroad including our progress in life.
”Igbos are shrinking in life because we dishonour the dead by keeping dead bodies in mortuaries for too long than necessary in these mortuaries. Any nation, tribe or family that keeps the dead without putting the corpse into the dust is causing a deservice to themselves.
“IPOB has gone too far in our work to restore our dear Nation of Biafra and we cannot loose the opportunity because of unburied people littered in various mortuaries. Some corpses have been left in the montuary for one, two and three years because of self gratification, levies or bills from families, churches and Umunnas.
“We are advising the families, Church Authorities and Umunna to reverse this unhealthy and wicked trend before IPOB begins to implement this new policy. The unburied have turned into zombies and have negative consequences on our peace and survival as a Nation.
“The most disturbing aspect of this practice of keeping dead bodies in mortuaries that is our people who died in other parts of the country even outside the country are brought down to Biafraland and deposited in a mortuary for months and years before burial. Alaigbo has been turned into a gigantic mortuary where dead bodies are dumped with the accompanying dire consequences to our land and this attitude and practice must stop forthwith.”