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Regional News of Wednesday, 27 May 2020

Source: Michael Oberteye, Contributor

Residents of Kodjonya-Menekpo threaten bloodshed over grave


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The siting of a grave close in Kodjonya-Menekpo, a community in the Lower Manya Krobo Municipality has created apprehension among community members as community members fear the burial of the deceased in the area could infect their hand dug wells and other sources of water.

The intended interment of one Gyebi Lawer, the deceased on a plot of land belonging to the deceased, according to residents, poses a health risk to the members of the community especially due to the proximity of the grave to about six wells which serve as sources of water in the area.

With burial of the deceased scheduled for Saturday, May 30, 2020, the agitated residents, as a result of the development have issued a stern warning to the Kwaku Gyebi family, not to step foot on the said piece of land or risk facing a stiff resistance from members of the community including the shedding of blood.

The agitated residents clad in red arm bands and other paraphernalia chanted war songs to register their displeasure over the issue.

“They are coming to bury the person at the top and we know that the water that will come out of the deceased’s body and the chemical that they are coming to use [to bury the person] will sink into the soil and it will spoil our water for us,” said Teye James, spokesperson of the affected residents. “We will not allow this to happen, unless they kill me.”

Another resident, Quaye Isaac based his fears on the waterlogged nature of the area and says nothing aside halting the burial of the deceased would be accepted by the residents.

“What the people are coming to do here will affect us a lot. This area is a waterlogged area and what they are doing is not proper because they are doing it in the middle of the community,” said a worried Isaac Quaye.

“The decay of the person will definitely enter our water bodies and we’re pleading with the authorities to put a stop to what they are doing before the people take the law into their hands.”

Tetteh Patrick, another resident said though residents of Kodjonya-Menekpo had channeled their grievances through the appropriate medium including the Assembly Man for the Area, the Municipal Chief Executive and the Municipal Environmental Health Officer, Mr Gordin Awevor, nothing much had been done to address their plight.

The residents speaking with one voice said they were prepared to “lay down our lives for the community.”

The residents who expressed fears over their safety if their water sources got infected, are thus calling on the MCE for the area, Simon Kweku Tetteh, the Deputy Eastern Regional Minister, Samuel Nuettey Ayertey who hails from the municipality, Assembly Members and other stakeholders to intervene and call the Kwaku Gyebi family to order.

The residents said all efforts aimed at settling the issue amicably, including discussions with the bereaved family, the MCE, MEHO and assembly member for the area have proven futile with the scheduled burial of the deceased at the venue unchanged.

Assembly member for Kodjonya Menekpo Electoral Area, Gabriel Tettey said though he and the unit committee members of the area had been in touch with the MCE and health authorities to intervene in the issue, no amicable settlement had been reached.

Mr. Tettey said he was doing all he could to ensure an amicable solution to the impasse.

“If someone threatens to shed blood, then it calls for serious attention so I’ll also take it up with my superiors so that we look at how to bring this issue to a peaceful settlement before Saturday,” he said.

The assembly member nevertheless said the issue will be brought to the attention of the Municipal Security Committee (MUSEC) to take control.

Meanwhile, family head for the Kwaku Gyebi family, Mr. Gyebi John Lawer when contacted insisted that the family had followed all necessary protocols required for a private burial.

According to him, he applied for a permit from the Municipal Environmental Health Department which granted them the necessary authorization to undertake the burial after paying all the necessary charges.

Mr. Lawer accused some opinion leaders in the community of instigating the youth against the burial and vowed that the family head will go ahead with the burial as planned.

Municipal Environmental Health Officer at the Lower Manya Krobo Municipal Assembly, Mr. Gordon Amevor when contacted, confirmed issuing permit for the said private burial.

He however allayed the fears of the residents since according to him, all safety protocols were followed to ensure their safety.

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