Jeff Amechi Agbodo, Onitsha
The traditional ruler of Ogidi Kingdom in Idemili North Local Government Area of Anambra State, Igwe Alex Onyido, has disclosed that his people were taking advantage of the window created by the state government to bury their dead in spite of the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to him, the people had commenced burying their loved ones quietly without any ceremony with the hope of fixing the funeral ceremonies later in the year. He noted that the move was in compliance with the coronavirus protocols and lifting of ban on burials by Governor Willie Obiano.
Igwe Onyido said: “We have piles of corpses in the mortuary since January unburied but respite came our way when the government lifted the ban on burials and said that people should bury their loved ones without any crowd or ceremonies.
“So, we in Ogidi Kingdom have started burying our dead, quietly without any ceremony. Many people have started burying their loved ones pending when they will do the funeral ceremonies later; after the pandemic. So far, nobody has done funeral ceremony in Ogidi but burial is going on quietly, in accordance with government directives.”
On his contributions to the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, Igwe Onyido said he has donated drugs and medical equipment worth N2.5 million to the state government; this was in addition to a cash donation of N1 million and 500 bags of rice.
Other items include 100 cartons of chloroquine tablet, 15 cartons of hand sanitizers, 15 cartons of paracetamol tablets and syrup, five cartons of Akkum cough syrup and 10 cartons of Albenux cough syrup.
Onyido did not stop at that, he also extended his magnanimity to the indigent in his community, where he distributed foodstuff and condiments to cushion the harsh effects of the coronavirus lockdown.
He said eminent people of Ogidi in Diaspora contributed money and items for poor and vulnerable residents of the community, which were distributed as palliatives to them without minding where any person came from: “As a monarch, I deem it necessary to support my governor financially and materially, because, as a pharmacist and a stakeholder, I know what it means and takes to combat such scourge.
“I am the only pharmacist in Nigeria that has chloroquine phosphate in stock. I was lucky to bring it in end of last year before it became scarce following the emergence of the pandemic.
“The ones I produced in my factory, I decided to give it to my state first before any other states to keep in their reserve in the event of any calamity. I have the capacity to supply the products to any state.”
Onyido said he had continuously advised his subjects to comply with the precautions stipulated by government and the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) as well as ensure that any visitor to the community was quarantined.
Meanwhile, the monarch has inaugurated 20 councillors into his cabinet as members of Council of Chiefs in Ogidi Kingdom, charging them on commitment to the service of the palace. He urged them to ensure that they lived up to the expectations of all the quarters they represent in the palace.
He further urged them to justify the trust reposed in them by their respective quarters by upholding the individual track record that led to their selection.
President-general of Ogidi Union, Nigeria, Chief Chuka Onubogu, commended the traditional ruler for providing palliatives to indigent people of the community, stressing that he had always empowered his people one way or the other before now.
Onubogu, who released the list of the councillors from the four quarters of Akanano, Uru, Ezinkwo and Ikenga, told them to uphold the peaceful and progressive Ogidi that the Igwe had evolved.
He stated that, as the eyes of the stool, they must endeavour to be decent and truthful and avoid any act of corruption, immoral conduct and indiscipline capable of denting the image of the king and the kingdom at large.