Body of family head detained for 3yrs by friends

October 15, 2021 By 0 Comments

The Awuya Family in the South Tongu District of the Volta Region, and some people of Fievie, in the same district, are at each other’s throats over a three-year-old corpse.

Tension keeps mounting each day over the ownership of the dead body, a situation which led to near fisticuffs early this month.

The Awuya Family, whose member is dead, is in the Agave-Awuyakorpe Traditional Area, and where the said people, purported to be friends of the deceased, come from the Fievie Traditional Area.

The deceased, Dumega Jacob Awuya, Headman of Agave-Awuyakorpe, died on June 16, 2018 and the body was deposited at the Comboni Hospital mortuary by the Awuya family.

However, reports indicate that members of the Awuya Family have been allegedly denied permission to take the corpse for burial, a situation that is raising tensions in the area.

Addressing the media at Agave-Awuyakorpe, a principal elder of the Awuya Family, Mr. James Awuya, said the family went to the hospital to deposit the corpse and met some people from the Fievie Traditional Area, who introduced themselves as friends of the late Dumega Jacob Awuya, with the offer of assisting the family in depositing the body in the mortuary.

According to Mr. Awuya, the alleged friends of the late member of their family informed them that they (the said friends) had already prepared the necessary documents on behalf of the family to ensure that the family did not go through the long process of getting their friend kept in the mortuary.

He said after the Awuya Family deposited the body, they requested the necessary documents from the alleged friends.

However, the friends refused, even after a delegation from the family was sent to them again for the documents to aid burial preparations in 2018.

Muddying the waters, the friends, Mr. James said, rather gave the Awuya Family a condition to be fulfilled before the hospital documents would be released.

The condition was that the family should present three people – two males and a female. The female should be made Queenmother for Agave-Awuyakorpe, and the males should be installed Chief and Stool Father respectively.

He explained that the family declined the request, on the basis that Fievie and Agave were two different traditional areas and had nothing in common for Fievie people to dictate to them.

Therefore, the Awuya Family regarded the request as a deliberate attempt by the people to disturb the existing peace in the area.

Mr. Awuya noted that the family reported the case to the Sogakorpe police, but were allegedly told that nothing could be done about it.

According to him, the police allegedly warned that if the Fievie people visited Awuyakorpe in relation to the issue, and caused any chaos, they would deal with the Awuya Family and the entire Agave-Awuyakorpe community.

He claimed that the so-called police statement indicated to the family that they (police) had taken sides.

The Awuya Family, Mr. Awuya continued, reported the matter to the Volta Regional Police Crime Officer over the manner in which the Sogakorpe police were handling the case.

He added that the timely intervention of the Regional Crime Officer averted a possible major conflict between the residents of Agave and Fievie.

According to Mr. Awuya, in early October 2021, the Fievie Asafo, in three buses, in the night drumming and singing war songs, attempted to invade Agave-Awuyakorpe, but was not successful, thanks to the vigilance of the Agave-Awuyakorpe Asafo.

He said the near invasion by Fievie Asafo was again reported to the police at Sogakorpe the following day by the elders of the Awuya Family, but the police allegedly were reluctant to take any action, even though bullets, knives, and other items that the attackers left behind were shown to them as evidence.

Mr. Awuya said the family also petitioned various institutions in the district, including the South Tongu District Police Command and the South Tongu District Assembly, among others.

He added that the case was also sent to the Dabala Magistrate Court to prevail upon the people of Fievie to release the document to the family for burial. But the Fievie people denied the substantive matter and rather told the court that it was a chieftaincy dispute.

He said the court ruled that since it was a chieftaincy dispute, the matter be sent to the National House of Chiefs, and did not allow any of the parties to bury the late Dumega Jacob Awuya.

Mr. Awuya debunked the statement from the Fievie people, that the case was a chieftaincy dispute. Further explaining it was not possible for a traditional area to install a chief for another.

Mr. Awuya made it clear that the “peace-loving nature of the Awuya Family, and the people of Agave-Awuyakorpe, should never be misunderstood and regarded as cowardice.”

He said though they would not take the law into their own hands, they would also not tolerate any attack or intimidation from any quarters any longer.

The family has, since, appealed to the government to intervene the dispute, as a matter of urgency, to salvage the situation.