Godwin Tsa, Abuja
Cemeteries are not exactly the best of places to spend a day. But there can be a lot of fun, thrills and excitement when visiting such spooky places. It is a fact that cemeteries tend to give people goose bums. After all, the idea of having many of the deceased beneath one’s feet can be a little unsettling.
Located by the road side, just few meters away from the Karu Abattoir and towards one of the extreme entrances into the Karu Market, is the Karu Village Cemetery, Abuja, where the interred include the rich and the poor.
At first glance, the environment appears to be a nightmarish landscape of the dead. Despite being big enough that it has, space is so crammed that many of the graves are stacked upon one another. Aside the business activities that take place around the cemetery in a cluster of shops, there are also living tenants who dwell among the dead. The environment is filled with chattering voices of people living around the dead.
For them, dwelling among the deceased doesn’t appear to trouble them, not even the prospect of ghost, phantoms seem to bother the children who play around the cemetery. Dozens of kids were seen running out the narrow dirty alleyways full of life. A middle-aged man was carefully chiseling a marble, while some other young men set up a stall selling grilled meat.
Some residents, who spoke with Daily Sun said the area is safer, save for the occasional belting out of the “voices of the dead.” Families go about their days, they chat, play cards and watch televisions while others dance to the different tunes of music waltzing out from some makeshift shops in a competitive manner.
Buying and selling also take place in the surrounding shops ranging from snacks, drinks, food, clothes and manufacturing items like footwears to electronics repairs. Besides the commercial activities are worship centres that sprout up around the dead.
When an old man, Yakubu Fune, of the Gbagyi tribe was engaged, his face lights up, telling endless scary stories from the graveyard like ghosts, unexplained phenomena and even vampire figures. He talked about “lost spirits just hovering around. They live in big trees and if you are weak, you will be possessed.”
He said at night, “the dead will arise from their earthen graves and wonder about. He told stories of “ghost people who venture into a spirit final place, shapes and figures of dark shadows and supernatural woman who appear in the darkest corner of the cemetery. I am not afraid of the dead because one day, I will join them.”
Another trader, Emekus, painted a different perspective: “Each time I hear the sound of an ambulance conveying the dead to the cemetery, I become emotional and close my shop until after the burial. I just can’t stand the wailing voices of family members of the deceased. It reminds me of the day my late father was buried and I become uncomfortable. “I am looking for shop elsewhere after the expiration of my rent, I can’t cope here any longer, it is a nightmare to me. Sometimes I used to have terrible dreams at night.”