ByÂ Enyim Enyim
ONITSHAâ€”Tragedy struck at Umueze Anam, Anambra West Local Government Area of Anambra state at the weekend, when a final year student of Nnamdi Azikiwe university, Izuchukwu Patrick, aged 22, and his girlfriend died in a boat mishap on his way to his fatherâ€™s burial.
Umueze Anam,Â is a community in the outskirts of Omambala River in Anambra West Local Government Area.
On that fateful day, Izuchukwu Patrick, while crossing the Omambala River in a canoe at about 7 p.m. fell inside the river and drowned when the canoe capsized.
An eye witness told Vanguard that the people in the company of the deceased had pleaded with him to cross the river through the multi-million naira bridge built by the Federal Government, but he insisted on crossing it with a canoe.
Besides, out of the 13 passengers in the canoe, only himself and his girl-friend who was accompanying him to the burial perished in the mishap.
Trouble in the community started when the traditional ruler of the town, Igwe John Emeka joined his ancestors in 2003, and before his final rites of passage, one John Ikebudu, was said to have proclaimed himself the Igwe of the town against the traditional norms and culture of the community.
John Ikebudu died in a mysterious circumstance and his burial was scheduled for last weekend, as it was the custom of the people.
On the day of his wake-keep (Friday), torrential rains prevented the wake-keeps, while invited guests, who believed that the death of the boy was a bad omen,Â abandon the occasion.
As if all these were not enough, a mysterious fire razed down the house of Ikebuduâ€™s younger brother, Anthony, in Ibusa, Delta State.Â The fire was said to have killed the landlord , while Anthony was said to have lost everything in the house to the inferno.
These incidents have got the community elders, particularly those involved in the purported coronation of John Ikebudu as Igwe worried.
A Native Doctor in the community has already decreed that native cleansing (ikpu aru) must be performed by the entire community to avoid further calamities.
Presently, there is pandemonium in the community, as nobody in the past century had drowned in the Omambala River, except Izuchukwu and his girl-friend.