Not fewer than 48 coffins were carted away in the University town of Nsukka as the local government council allegedly invaded casket shops in the area following the refusal to move to the approved site for the casket business.
Daily Watch gathered that some staff of Nsukka local government allegedly invaded the casket shops along Aku road junction close to Bishop Shanahan mortuary around 11pm of Tuesday, pulled down shops, removed materials of the casket dealers to relocate the dealers to a permanent site at timber shed.
Speaking to journalists over the incident Mr. Benson Asogwa chairman casket dealers association, Nsukka said that the council gave them seven days notice, only to invade them at night and carted away about 100 caskets, sewing and designing machines. ‘’the local government staff was led by the chief security adviser to the chairman Mr. Uche Eze in company of policemen and Nsukka neighbourhood watch, demolished about 12 shops and cart away our goods and working materials.
The council staff came with three trucks to cart away the goods from 11pm to 1am. Some of us lost cash in the course of the action of the council. We have not taken inventory of what we lost but over 100 caskets are missing in our shops’’ he said. The chairman Nsukka local government council chief Patrick Omeje in a swift reaction said ‘’ over four years ago, there was bye law asking them to move away from the place to timber shed that was approved for them, but they have been bribing their way in the previous administration. Children are scared at sight of caskets at the heart of the town, even people at night are equally scared passing the road once it is 8pm’’ he said.
The council gave order for them to move to the approved site but one lawyer Chike Omeje threatened court action. I refused and told him that I have right to give order on that having written them severally but they would’t listen. The vice chairman of the council Cosmos Agbo had several meetings with them on the need to see reasons and move to
the approved site.
‘’ the local government went for the demolition with policemen that took inventory of the caskets and other things in those shops. Caskets cannot be displayed at the centre of any town. I don’t even know any of them personally and I have nothing against them but the casket shops have to be relocated for the public interest. There is a bye law which says the casket dealers should move to timber shed, even the dealers have copies of it’’
‘’ The first relocation notice was on January 2018 and ever since then we have written several letters to that effect but they wouldn’t listen, their utterances are very bad. If they had begged the council to give them three or four months to move, the council would have considered it but their utterances has been very bad as they threatened to go to court to obtain injuction, the council is not afraid they can go to court. ‘’The council is ready to partner with them provided they agree with the council. If they have come to me in better manner why won’t I help them they are my brothers’’ he noted.