The dead may soon be­come home­less in Kano

Weekly Trust - - News - Richard P. Ng­bokai, Kano

There are con­cerns in Kano over de­plet­ing space for burial as ma­jor ceme­ter­ies within the state cap­i­tal have got­ten filled up af­ter years of us­age.

Ceme­ter­ies like the Ko­far Mazu­gal (Abat­toir), Goron Dutse (Dan­dolo), Fagge (Blue care) and Ta­rauni have all run short of space for burial and gravedig­gers in the re­spec­tive ceme­ter­ies are re­sort­ing to sniff­ing out spa­ces in-between tombs to bury the dead.

Residents said if new plots are not al­lo­cated for ex­ten­sion of the fa­cil­i­ties within the next few months, there would no longer be spa­ces to bury the dead within the eight met­ro­pol­i­tan lo­cal gov­ern­ment ar­eas of Kano.

It would be re­called that the state had, a cou­ple of months ago, hit the head­lines across the coun­try over what was de­scribed as a mass death in the state’s met­ro­pol­i­tan ar­eas, which was later linked to COVID-19 pan­demic.

When our re­porter vis­ited some of the ceme­ter­ies, most of the fa­cil­i­ties were ob­served to have been filled to ca­pac­ity.

Daily Trust ob­served that all the foot­paths and nar­row al­leys created within some of the grave­yards for ve­hi­cles have been used up and gravedig­gers move around the tombs to lo­cate un­used spa­ces to bury new corpses.

Some of the ceme­tery at­ten­dants, who spoke to Daily Trust, ap­pealed to the state gov­ern­ment to con­sider an ex­ten­sion of the fa­cil­i­ties to un­de­vel­oped plots of land around their re­spec­tive pa­ram­e­ters.

The residents al­leged that is­sues re­lat­ing to ceme­ter­ies in the state are not be­ing given ad­e­quate at­ten­tion by the au­thor­i­ties.

Ac­cord­ing to Al­haji Hadi Sher­iff Kabir, the chair­man in charge of Fagge Ceme­tery, “This is­sue is very se­ri­ous but the gov­ern­ment and ma­jor stake­hold­ers don’t seem to give it the de­sired at­ten­tion. Every­body must die, we all will die and this is where our bod­ies would be buried but we don’t seem to care what goes on there.

“Peo­ple are dying and the avail­able spa­ces for burial in most of the ceme­ter­ies within the me­trop­o­lis have been used up. What we are do­ing now is to fill up the gaps between tombs; that is why we are al­ways ap­peal­ing for ex­ten­sion of these places.

“Wealthy in­di­vid­u­als have a stake in this is­sue. They are the ones con­niv­ing with the au­thor­i­ties to en­croach into the ceme­tery lands; as such we are ap­peal­ing to them to col­lab­o­rate with the gov­ern­ment to ex­plore ways of ex­tend­ing our ceme­ter­ies or else, in the near­est fu­ture, we will not have any place to bury our dead,” he added.

He ad­vo­cated for of­fi­cial doc­u­men­ta­tion of the ceme­ter­ies with rel­e­vant au­thor­i­ties to avoid con­flicts that might re­sult from land en­croach­ment into the prop­erty.

He cited an ex­am­ple with Dala ceme­tery (in Ko­far Mazu­gal) where he said some in­di­vid­u­als al­legedly con­verted por­tions of the ceme­tery land for per­sonal busi­ness ven­tures.

Malam Auwalu Inuwa, the Chair­man of Gravedig­gers As­so­ci­a­tion Dala Ceme­tery, lamented over the is­sue of de­plet­ing space at the grave­yard.

He said though the deaths wit­nessed in April and May had sta­bi­lized, there is a need for ex­ten­sion of the ceme­tery.

He said, “What we are do­ing now is to fill up the gaps between graves and the only avail­able space we have here is like a ditch which if filled up with sand, will serve for some time.”

Sim­i­larly, at Ta­rauni ceme­tery, our re­porter ob­served that the al­leys created for trucks bring­ing sand into the ceme­tery have been re­duced to foot­paths for lack of space to bury peo­ple.

Malam Buhari Iliya, one of the gravedig­gers, who spoke to Daily Trust at the ceme­tery, said dis­cus­sions have com­menced for ex­ten­sion of the ceme­tery to­wards the main road along Dau­rawa GRA.

Re­act­ing to the al­le­ga­tion of con­nivance with in­di­vid­u­als to al­lo­cate plots within the ceme­ter­ies, Malam Yusuf Tukur Ta­rauni, the spokesper­son of the state’s Stand­ing Com­mit­tee on Ceme­ter­ies, de­scribed the al­le­ga­tion as false, say­ing the plot in ques­tion at Dala ceme­tery was al­lo­cated to Aliko over 20 years ago.

“The al­le­ga­tion is false; even this morn­ing (Mon­day) I was at the Aliko fill­ing sta­tion along Aminu Kano Way in Dala, that plot was al­lo­cated over 20 years ago. It is fully reg­is­tered with C of O. It is not in any way part of the ceme­tery,” he said.

Speak­ing about lack of space in the ceme­ter­ies, Ta­rauni said the gov­ern­ment is do­ing its best to se­cure new places on the out­skirts of the city for the ceme­ter­ies.

He, how­ever, urged wealthy in­di­vid­u­als to key in, say­ing gov­ern­ment alone can­not do it.

Re­spond­ing to al­leged ne­glect of ceme­tery at­ten­dants, he blamed the lo­cal gov­ern­ment au­thor­i­ties for their plight, say­ing lo­cal gov­ern­ments are re­spon­si­ble for the main­te­nance and man­age­ment of the ceme­ter­ies.

He said the state and per­haps the fed­eral gov­ern­ment in­ter­venes in the is­sues of the ceme­ter­ies only if there’s an eco­log­i­cal prob­lem like ero­sion.

PHO­TOS: Sani Maikatanga

Gravedig­ger at work at the Dan­dolo Cemetary Kano

Malam Auwalu Inuwa, Chair­man of Gravedig­gers As­so­ci­a­tion Ko­far Mazu­gal

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