On Monday September 8 it was reported in several media, that a House of Representatives contestant for the Makurdi/Guma federal constituency in Benue state, Hon Dickson Tarkighir, had stolen his stepmother’s corpse from the Bishop Murray Medical Centre Mortuary where it had been deposited after the woman died.
Tarkighir had been accused of attempting to use the corpse for ritual purposes to achieve his political ambitions.
Mr Tarkighir has responded to the allegations, clearing the air on events that led to the saga.
The following statement was released by Dickson Tarkighir’s team.
1. Considering a post last night of the missing of the corpse of one Mrs. Anava Tarkighir, a step-mother to Makurdi/Guma House of Reps-2015 hopeful, Hon. Dickson Tarkighir, the following facts avail; that-
2. The deceased, Mrs. Anava Tarkighir (nee Tyongiga), native of Mbaikyor in Makurdi LGA, had been married to Hon. Dickson Tarkighir’s father, and the marriage produced four children (two males and two females), but following the death of her husband, Pa Tarkighir in 2000, the woman eventually left back to her native place where she has been in the last five years;
3. The deceased died on 20th August, 2014 at the Bishop Murray Medical Centre, Makurdi following a bout of sickness, and at the time of her death she was in the care of her brother, one Mr. Akor Tyongiga, who had brought her to the hospital;
4. Following her death, Hon. Dickson Tarkighir was informed and he duly came to the Bishop Murray Medical Centre and, in line with Tiv customs, got involved in the arrangements to give the deceased a befitting burial at the Tarkighirs ancestral home at Uvii, Guma LGA, Benue State;
5. Hon. Dickson Tarkighir, together with Mr. Akor Tyongiga, had taken the deceased’s remains to Federal Medical Centre, Makurdi, to deposit at the mortuary there, whereupon a death certificate was demanded, which could not be obtained from the Bishop Murray Medical Centre, necessitating the remains to be returned and deposited at the mortuary there, and a receipt was duly issued in the name of Mr. Akor Tyongiga on 20th August, 2014;
6. However, on Thursday, 4th September, 2014, Mr. Akor Tyongiga, in the company of younger siblings of Hon. Dickson Tarkighir went to the Bishop Murray Medical Centre mortuary to retrieve the remains of Mrs Anava Takighir for burial, but they discovered that the remains were missing;
7. The search for the missing remains went as far as Ushongo LGA to ascertain if the remains of a woman taken from that same mortuary the previous day were those being searched for, yet to no avail, and the situation was compounded by the absence of detailed records of remains of dead persons deposited at the mortuary;
8. The situation brought in the intervention of the Nigerian Police Force which arrested all the morticians and mortuary attendants at the Bishop Murray Medical Centre mortuary, who have since been in police custody and are being interrogated in investigations to ascertain the whereabouts of the missing remains of Mrs. Anava Tarkighir;
9. It is therefore, wicked and mischievous to try to play dirty politics with a matter like this by insinuating that Hon. Dickson Tatkighir could have stolen the remains of his step-mother, Mrs. Anava Tarkighir for ritual purposes;
10. Such wicked rumours only highlight the desperation and moral bankruptcy of Hon. Dickson Tarkighir’s opponents, who are known to be unstable and disruptive characters, whose trade-in-stock largely consists in gutter-level politics of sponsorship of thuggery and promotion of strife and disquiet in the community;
11. Hon. Dickson Tarkighir is known to be an honourable and upright man with an unblemished record as a successful businessman, who is currently a frontline contender for the Makurdi/Guma House of Reps seat election in 2015, and his involvement with the burial arrangements of Mrs. Anava Tarkighir was in line with Tiv customs which require him to give the deceased a befitting burial in his father’s house.