By Joe Dinga Pefok|Friday, July 23, 2010|ThePostonline|
Retired Colonel Hans Ako Anagho, who is the traditional ruler of Ngwo Village in Momo Division, was recently dragged to the Mezam High Court by his in-laws in a dispute over the corpse of his late wife, Diana Enow Mbu epouse Anagho, who hailed from Bacho-Ntai in Manyu Division. Fon Anagho is the first respondent in the suit in which the Bamenda Regional Hospital is second respondent.
Accusations against Fon Anagho are contained in a 22-point Affidavit In Support of Motion, which was filed at the Mezam High Court in Bamenda on July 7 by Barrister Valentine Forchak on behalf of the plaintiff. The plaintiff include Bertrand Mbu Egbe, the Administrator of the family of Egbe Njui who in the case is suing for the family and on behalf of Paul Mbi Ntoung, Tony Egbe, Augustine Ayuk Egbe, Francisca Agborka and Rose Mary Ashu Agbor, who are brothers and sisters of late Diana Enow Mbu epouse Anagho.
Disrespect Of Tradition
Fon Anagho is accused of having failed to respect a term of his marriage with the late Diana Enow Mbu in 1961 in Mamfe, which was done according to the native laws and customs of the Bayang people. According to the suit, it was agreed that “in case of death of the contracting parties of the marriage, each party would be buried in their respective place of origin”. This, according to the customs and tradition of the Bayang people, in case of death, the corpse of their daughters who married out of their area be brought back for burial in their fathers’ compounds.
Also, Barrister Forchak said in the affidavit that Fon Anagho who traveled to the United States with his wife Diana, where he served as military attaché at the Cameroon Embassy for several years, abandoned her in America and returned home alone, when he came to the end of his service at the Cameroon Embassy.
“That while in Cameroon, the 1st respondent (Fon Anagho) immediately contracted another marriage without regards to the previous undissolved marriage to Diana Enow Mbu”. That the lady (Diana) later returned to Cameroon to join her husband, “but was prevented from gaining ingress into their matrimonial home by the 1st respondent”. Barrister Forchak said in the affidavit that following the incident, Diana was forced to live in “voluntary separation” with Fon Anagho until her death. Going by the affidavit, when she died on June 20, 2010, in Yaounde, her corpse was kept in the mortuary of the Yaounde General Hospital, pending funeral programme.
Following the death of Diana, The Post learnt, her family members had on June 22, held a meeting in Yaounde with the family members of the husband (Anagho), at the residence of one Mr. Awuru, brother to HRH Fon Anagho. Participants at the meeting “unanimously resolved that the corpse of the deceased will be removed from the Yaounde mortuary and taken to the Ngwo Fondom only for wake keeping service, and thereafter transported to the deceased’s home village, Bachuo-Ntai, for burial and funeral rites“.
The lawyer stated that though the 1st respondent (Fon Anagho) was not physically present at the meeting due to other commitments, he was, however, duly informed of the resolutions taken by his family members. “The 1st respondent and the children he had with the deceased, variously consented to the funeral arrangement as adopted during the family meeting”.
Corpse Secretly Taken To Bamenda
But Barrister Forchak states that members of both families in Yaounde were all shocked when they later gathered that the corpse of late Diana “was secretly whisked off from the Yaounde General Hospital Mortuary to the Bamenda General Hospital Mortuary by agents acting under the instruction of the 1st respondent”.
The lawyer said the corpse was by July 7 at the mortuary of the Bamenda General Hospital, and that Fon Anagho was said to be making arrangements to take the corpse to Ngwo for burial. This, according to the lawyer, was in flagrant violation of the native laws and customs of the Bayang people, which he had by the time of marriage accepted to respect. Barrister Forchak had, in the motion, brought in the Bamenda General Hospital as 2nd respondent, because the corpse in question was then being preserved at the hospital`s mortuary.
Apparently considering the urgency with which the matter needed to be treated, the Bamenda High Court had, after receiving the Affidavit, issued a motion on notice to all the parties concerned in the matter, through a sheriff bailiff, Barrister CalvinFezeu Beumo, based in Bamenda. The court also fixed hearing for July 9.
Fon Anagho Files Counter Affidavit
Meanwhile, on July 8, HRH Fon Anagho filed a two-page counter affidavit at the Registry of the Mezam High Court. In the affidavit, he agreed with some of the things that Barrister Forchak said, but denied some as well. He, for example, agreed that following the death of his wife Diana, a family meeting took place at his brother`s residence on June 22, to prepare for the burial and funeral programme.
He also did not dispute the fact that the corpse of the late Diana was taken from the mortuary of the Yaounde General Hospital to the mortuary of the Bamenda General Hospital without the knowledge of family members.
While agreeing that he contracted marriage with his late wife by native laws and customs of the Bayang people, he, however, denied that there was an agreement that in case of death each of the contracting parties would be buried in his or her place of origin.
Fon Anagho, nonetheless, admitted that he contracted another marriage when he returned from the United States. But the Fon said that contrary to the allegations by Barrister Forchak, the deceased (Diana) decided to remain in the USA with the children”. That he even rented an apartment for the wife, before leaving the United States. He stated that when “she returned to Cameroon after 15 years, she joined me, the 1st respondent, in our matrimonial home at Bamenda Up Station”.
The Fon insisted that “contrary to the allegations in the applicants’ affidavit, the couple had never lived in separation during their live time, until the death of Diana Enow Mbu epouse Anagho”. Meanwhile, the matter came up at the Mezam High Court on July 9, but was reportedly adjourned to July 13 for hearting.
But the case could be heard on that July 12, following a complaint that was filed on July 12 by Barrister Valentine Forchak, on behalf of his clients. The complaint which was addressed to the State Counsel, Legal Department, Mezam Judiciary Division, Bamenda, was against the Bamenda Regional Hospital, “for the missing corpse of Diana Enow Mbu epouse Anagho, at the mortuary”.
The motion on notice which was served to the Bamanda Regional Hospital by the bailiff on July 7 was an order restraining the hospital “from releasing the corpse of Diana Enow Mbu epouse Anagho (Deceased), to 1st Respondent (Fon Anagho) or his agents, assigns, privies or other interested parties, until serious family issues are determined”. But on July 10, while the matter was still pending in court, the applicants, “to their greatest consternation, discovered that the corpse was no longer at the Hospital mortuary”.
In the meantime, The Post learnt that the State Counsel, Mrs. Abame, is conducting an investigation into the complaint which the counsel for the applicants filed on July 12. It was stated that is after the completion of her findings, that both complaints will be jointly come up in court, since they are related.
Sources say that the Director of the Bamenda Regional Hospital, for example, will be brought to court to answer questions on how the corpse of Diana Enow Mbu épouse Angho left the mortuary of the hospital, when the hospital had been duly served with a motion on notice from the court.
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