Births and naming ceremonies; deaths and funerals with the accompanying outing ceremonies in the church are two contradicting extremes but they both come with celebration especially in the eastern parts of the country.
While the naming ceremony is used to officially welcome the new born into the world, funeral rites are used to dispatch the departed back to his ancestors.
Rev Godson U. Ukanwa
The sore side to the importance placed on death, funeral and the accompanying outing ceremony was recently witnessed in Isi Mbano, Imo State, where youths of the Umuezealaanyike, Eziama, Osuama in the Isiala Mbano council area of the state and the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) are locked in hostility over the alleged refusal of the Bishop of the diocese, the Rt. Rev Godson U. Ukanwa to allow a requiem church service in honour of Ugoeze Fidelia Ahumibe (Nee Ashara Ogueri, the departed wife of the late traditional ruler of the community-HRH, Eze Richard Duru Ahumibe.
Daily Independent authoritatively gathered that trouble erupted shortly after the demise of the said Ugoeze Fidelia Ahumibe whose children were domiciled in the United States of America.
Desirous to accord their departed mother who they revered as a highly esteemed heroine, a rare gem, and a phenomenal mother a befitting burial, the children reportedly communicated the transition of their mother to the Bishop and passionately pleaded with him to grant them a reasonable period of them to enable them adequately prepare for the burial.
Contrary to the expectations of the bereaved family, the bishop rebuffed all entreaties to allow them postponed the funeral, insisting that the official three weeks period stipulated for burial by the diocese must prevail.
It was gathered that the Ahumibe royal dynasty had also approached the Bishop of the Orlu Diocese (Anglican Communion), the Most Rev. Bennett Christopher Ikechukwu Okoro (Ph.D) to intercede on their behalf that the family should be given a concession, but all appeal from Rev. Okoro to his brother Bishop were said to have fell on deaf ears.
Consequent upon the refusal of Bishop Ukanwa to give the concession, the Ahumibe royal family was said to have taken the remains of their late mother to the All Angels Anglican Church in the area for commendation service. The family was also said to have alternatively secured the services of the World and Worship Christian Assembly (Revival City) for prayers and counselling before the deceased was eventually committed to mother earth on Friday 17th July 2015.
However, the Ahumibe family’s recourse to an ‘outside’ cleric to inter their late mother has since attracted the wrath of Christians of other denominations within and outside the diocese.
As if denying the Ahumibe family the concession they requested was not enough, Bishop Ukanwa was also said to have denied them access to the church two days after their mother’s burial when they came for the outing service in honour of their late mother on Sunday 19th July.
A family source said the Bishop cunningly fixed the ordination of some priests of the Dioceses the same day in the church.
Angered by the hostility of the bishop, Youths from the area had stormed the church and in retaliation stopped the Bishop from gaining entrance into the St Michael and All Angels Anglican church and carrying out the ordination of the new Anglican priests and demanded to know why the prelate refused to allow the church to bury the deceased.
It was also gathered that the Bishop who was manhandled by the angry youths later forced his way into the church with the assistance of armed mobile policemen.
The youths who later spoke to newsmen through their leader – Kingsley Ezemuonye said that their anger arose following the shocking refusal of the Bishop to allow the church to bury their departed heroine. They insisted that the bishop had no right whatsoever to dictate to the family members where to bury their late mother.
Ezemuonye faulted the Bishop for preventing the Ahumibe family from burying the deceased inside the chapel where their late father was buried, noting that that the late Eze Ahamibe and his wife contributed a lot to the growth of the church while alive.
Adding his voice, one of the sons of the late Fidelia Ahumibe, Prince Iyke Ahumibe vehemently denounced the action of the Bishop, regretting that all appeals to him to allow them to bury their mother in the church proved abortive.
Prince Ahumibe said that it was the wish of his departed mother to be buried beside her late husband. He added that he had not experienced a situation where a bishop dictated for a family where to inter their departed one.
He challenged the Bishop to tell the family where it was stated in the bible that their mother and father could not be buried together.
Lending his voice, Sir Emma Ahumibe expressed dissatisfaction with the action of the Bishop for deliberately choosing to ridicule their late mother stating that he would henceforth desist from all church activities as long as Bishop Ukanwa remains in charge of the diocese.
He also denounced his membership of the Anglican Knighthood.