Nasarawa Community In Shocks As Herbalist’s Corpse Exhumed 14 Years After Burial Fails To Decompose
The village lately become the object of public attention in Nasarawa State following the discovery of a herbalist’s corpse that remained intact 14 years after it was buried,
Galo Onyejodu, a native doctor, had died in 2009 and was buried by the roadside only for his corpse to be exhumed with bulldozers belonging to GITTO, a construction company saddled with the task of rehabilitating the road in question. The development threw the entire community into shock and disbelief as Onyejodu’s corpse remained fresh with the white cloth it was wrapped in still as new as ever even though the wooden coffin that housed his body had decayed.
Added to the shocking discovery was the fact that there was no stench coming from the 14-year-old corpse.
As it would be expected, news of the strange development spread across the town and neighboring communities like wild fire as the villagers trooped to the scene to catch a glimpse of the body.
But the community leader in the village, Ayambuga, who witnessed the burial 14 years ago and also monitored its exhumation, was not willing to delay its reburial as the spot instantly turned into a museum.
Residents trooped out in large numbers to witness the strange sight, but the corpse was hurriedly taken to another location and reburied.
Before his death, the herbalist, known variously as African astrologer and numerologist, among other nicknames, and patronized by people from within and outside the area, was reputed for making accurate predictions and resolving confounding challenges bothering on health, marriage and infertility.
The village head, Ayambuga, described the late Onyejodu as the most powerful herbalist ever to emerge from the community as he proffered solutions to virtually all the health and other kinds of challenges that were brought before him.
He said: “It did not matter the distance from which the person with the problem or situation comes from. All you had to do was to believe in him. “He offered services to those in need of spiritual assistance, not minding the severity of your situation or distance. “As long as water, sea, ocean, lake, river, sand, and so on were nearby, your problems were as good as solved.”
He recalled that the late herbalist derived his mystic powers suddenly as he just woke up one day and started predicting and prophesying on various issues.
The late Onyejodu was said to have been married with three kids. But a week before his death, he was said to have told his wife to gather her children and return to her place of birth if he died before the age of 60. “Unfortunately, he was less than 60 when he died,” Ayambuga said.
“He equally told them not to bury him close to any residential area, saying that he should be buried by the roadside. So, when he died, we buried him by the roadside.
“He instructed that we should bury him a day after his death and his corpse should not be treated, and that was exactly what we did.
“On the day he died, he was not sick. He had a running battle with some militia herdsmen on his farm.
“They shot at him several times but nothing happened. He killed about five of them, but they managed to grab him physically and slaughtered him when the several bullets they fired at him did not work.
“When his lifeless body was brought to us, we could not believe that it was him. We used a wheelbarrow to convey his lifeless body from the bush to the house with some military men accompanying us.
“There were matchete and axe cuts on his neck and stomach. In fact, they used their long knife to slaughter him like a ram and dropped his body in an open place where he could be located easily
“He was actually a target of the herdsmen for quite some time. “We adhered to his wish and buried him the next day.
“His life style was generally that of a gentle man. He was also a great hunter, especially at night.
Ayambuga believes that Onyejodu’s exhumed body remaining intact 14 years after it was buried holds him up as a great man.
“It shows he was a very powerful herbalist. His body refusing to decompose after 14 years could be a sign that he left too early. “Maybe he died against the wish of his gods,” he said.
Speaking to our correspondent in Lafia, a Reverend Father, who preferred anonymity, said he was short of words about the discovery, especially because Onyejodu was neither a Christian nor a Muslim.
“If he was a committed Christian, I would have described his body as sainthood in Christianity.
“It’s happening all over the world to people who actually did what God wanted. Termites and insects have no power over their bodies when they die.”
A medical doctor, Dr Yakubu Abdulaziz, who runs a private hospital in Lafia, said it is unusual that a corpse would fail to decompose many years after it is buried.
Citing conditions that could make a corpse not to decompose for a long time, he said it could be due to embalming or an anaerobic environment which slows down decomposition because the bacteria responsible for much of the tissue breakdown need oxygen.
Another condition that could make a corpse not to decompose over a long period, he said, is keeping it in an airtight container, which means the body is not exposed to water, moisture, acidic soil or insects.
Dr. Abdulaziz said: “It is actually very difficult to ascertain such a situation in Africa. The reasons have actually not been scientifically proven apart from the above mentioned factors.
“In this particular case, the body was not embalmed. So it leaves one to be curious as to whether there were other cleansing rituals or preparations that could affect the decomposition of the corpse.”
He said the case of the deceased native doctor is not a common occurrence, particularly in Africa.