There is no respite for the dead as St. Vincent De Paul Mortuary Umunakanu Owerre, Ehime-Mbano LGA came under attack as unidentified gunmen stormed the morgue at the early hours of Sunday 8” April, 2018 pulling down the perimeter fence housing the complex.
Trouble started for the mortuary owned by Sisters of the Daughters of Mary Mother of Mercy (DMMM) Congregation, after the State Governor, Owelle Rochas Okorocha visited Ehime Mbano Campus of Imo State Polytechnic. The Leader learnt that students of the Polytechnic complained against the mortuary within the precincts of the school. Following the complaint the Governor Okorocha directed the relocation of the Mortuary situated in-between the DMMM Convent housing Nursery, Primary and Secondary Schools.
The incumbent T.C. Chairman, Hon. Obinwanne Onwuchuruba in a bid to enforce the Governor’s directive in synergy with Chief Emma Bukar Iwuanyanwu, the Ehime Mbano Chairman of All Progressives Congress and Commissioner for Science and Technology gave ultimatum to the Reverend Sisters to relocate the mortuary on or before 26th of March, 2018. As directed, the Sisters went in frantic search for an alternative place to relocate without success.
Narrating their predicament to The Leader, the Secretary of the St. Vincent De Paul Hospital, observed that the outfit was established in 1984 by DMMM and Commissioned by the then Commissioner for Health Hon. Mrs. Comfort Duru after appropriate approvals, registration and documentation.
According to her, the Governor of the State, Owelle Rochase Anayo Okorocha during a visit to the Ehime Mbano Campus of Imo State Polytechnic complained against the mortuary and directed that it be relocated. He provided 5 Million Naira through the Commissioner for Science and Technology, Hon. Emma Bukar Iwuanyanwu for the relocation of the Mortuary.
She said that all efforts to relocate the mortuary to other areas where they acquired land were being hindered by villagers, traditional rulers and conspirators. Narrating their plight, she said that their building project situated at a site in Ezeala/Ezike which had reached lintel level was destroyed by youths. She further posited that efforts to relocate to Umualumaku, Umuduruofoaro-Ama Asaa, Umuopara-Ogboama and other places have proved abortive as both royal fathers and natives have so far resisted their relocation bid.
In view of their difficulty and predicaments in relocating the Mortuary, they implored the State Government to allow them stay at their present site or alternatively relocate them to any site.
The Leader spoke with Sir Emma Bukar Iwuanyanwu the Hon. Commissioner for Science and Technology in the presence of Hon. Obinwanne Onwuchuruba,T.C. Chairman on the issue. He denied being aware of those responsible for the midnight attack at the mortuary. He advised the Daughters of Mary Mother of Mercy Congregation to relocate the corpses to other mortuaries pending the time they acquire another place.
He confirmed that the sum of five million naira was made available by the Governor for the relocation of the Morgue. He also observed that they have given the Sisters the sum of Five Hundred Thousand to enable them acquire a place. He however put a caveat that the money was not meant for any other thing, but to develop another area for them.
One of the morticians at the morgue, Mr. Godson Mmeje confirmed that a gang of gunmen stormed at the facility on the early hours of Sunday 8th April, 2018, shooting sporadically and destroyed the fence of the Mortuary, thus exposing both the Corps and attendants to danger.
According to him, the facility has about 60 corpses with some having pending litigations and cases at the various courts. He implored the State Government to build or reconstruct a structure and relocate them as their present site was legitimately acquired, built, approved, registered with relevant agencies and commissioned by government in 1984.