By Joke Adeniyi-Jackson, Adebayo Olodan, Mumini AbdulKareem and Daniel Ayantoye
It was an incredible sight for thousands of Muslims who gathered at the Muslim Cemetery Osere, Ilorin on Tuesday for the reburial of the corpse of Ahmad Adekunle Salami (better known as Kulasa) who was struck to death by lightening at College of Education, Oro, Irepodun Local Government Area of Kwara State in September.
The condition of the corpse of the 47-year-old which was buried 47 days prior to the exhumation carried out on Tuesday however stunned countless of people who gathered at the venue.
Contrary to the expectation of the people that the body would have decomposed due to circumstances surrounding the death of Salami and the rigours of the grave, it became a miracle of sort as it was intact after it was exhumed.
Also, there was no stench or offensive odour coming out from it just as there were no flies hovering around the body.
Many who witnessed the incident from different parts of the state described it as a testimony of God’s supremacy over His creatures and to exonerate the deceased from all what had been said about him after the incident
The development necessitated his re-burial to be shifted to 10am instead of 7am that had earlier been announced for the Janazat prayer.
The process of retrieving the corpse was spearheaded by the Coordinator of the Ilorin Muslim cemetery and Lecturer at the Department of Religion, University of Ilorin, Dr Abubakar Aliagan.
The burial of the victim became a subject of controversy following the circumstances surrounding his death and the conducts of rite by traditionalists contrary to the dictates of Islam.
The janazah prayer and reburial of the deceased was led by the Chief lmam of the University of Ilorin, Prof AbdulGaniyu Oladosu and attended by the Chief lmam of the College of Education Oro, Alhaji Ali Bello, management staff of the institution and colleagues of the departed, among others.
But speaking with newsmen after event, Imam Aliagan who confirmed the incident said the retrieval of the body from where it was buried earlier was a major triumph for Islam adding that Allah (SWT) preserved him for his Muslim brothers to exhume.
He said the rationale behind his action alongside others was to douse the fear in some quarters that whoever performs another rite on the deceased would die prematurely.
“It is as if the corpse was awaiting us to come and remove him where he was wrongly buried among the people that do not share the same faith with him.
“All we were asking for then was to carry out what almighty Allah expected us to do and what the Prophet (SAW) directed us to do.
“I will profoundly thank Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed for giving us maximum cooperation on this issue through the Commissioners for Tertiary Education, Health and Environment among other Permanent Secretaries and others too numerous to mention. They all stood by us to exhume the body and give it the Muslim burial.
“We are very happy that after 47 days, he was buried, and mind you, he was buried during raining season and died as a result of thunder storm.
“We are not saying he is now a super human but that he was preserved by Allah for us to do the needful.”
Aliagan added that the incident showed that Muslims are still far away from Islam and warned that the grave of the departed COED, Oro staff should be turned to a place of worship.
“We should not let faith be our watchword and he would be here for life. We are ready to die for him if anybody wants to come and re-exhume the body.”
Also speaking, a friend of the deceased, who also attended the event, Fasasi Ibrahim said he had been waiting for such moment.
The late Adekunle Salami until he was struck to death by lightening on Thursday, September 21 was a staff at the Registry Department, Kwara College of Education Oro, and hails from llesha in Osun State. He was survived by his aged mother, wife and his 7-year-old son, Abdulsalam.
Details of his first burial near midnight
Speaking exclusively to this medium, a relative of the deceased based in Oro, Oyerinde Kayode better known as Sanjay, said the family went through constant worry after the management of llorin Muslim Cemetery kicked against burying him at the facility on Thursday September 21, 2017, without undergoing the customary Islamic prayers and bath.
“After the Sango priests had concluded the propitiation which lasted between 5:45 to 6:40pm and the remains of my brother wrapped with a white cloth, we headed for the Muslim Cemetery in Ilorin.
“Due to the warning from the priests that our brother should not be buried according to Islamic injunctions, we pleaded with those in-charge of the cemetery to oblige us but they turned our request down. Even when I tried to persuade the sister of the deceased, Iya Ife to grant the request of those at the cemetery, she vehemently rejected warning me of the imminent danger, he said.”
Speaking further, Oyerinde who also hails from Ilesha like the deceased, said, when it became apparent that the cemetery workers will not grant their request, “We left the facility around 9:30pm in search of another cemetery because we have been warned by the Sango priests to intern the remains of the deceased before 12midnight otherwise, we will have to go through another round of propitiation.
“We discovered that out of about 80 people with us at the Muslim Cemetery, Ilorin, over 70 per cent had deserted us before getting to the new cemetery at Oke-Oyi but we remained resolute. On our way to the Oke-Oyi cemetery in high speed, I was asked to monitor the time consistently so that we can meet the ‘deadline,’ Sanjay added.
According to him, the convoy got to the new cemetery a few minutes after 10 pm but met no attendant at the facility.
“We were all nervous when we met no one at Oke-Oyi but luckily we saw some telephone numbers at the entrance. We dialled the first four mobile numbers but the response was that they were switched off. We then dialled the fifth and last number and we were so lucky that an old man responded to the call.
“As soon as we told him our mission, he told us it was too late and asked us to come back the following day. The family however pleaded with him, telling him that the ambulance will be taken another corpse to Ado-Ekiti that night.”
Oyerinde added that, “Even when the old man informed us that he was at Amilengbe area, Ilorin and that we are to pay N13,000 for a space at the cemetery, we agreed to pay even more and immediately dispatched a car to pick him up.
“When the old man who should be an octogenarian arrived, we were only 11 in number at the time and we asked the cemetery attendant whether he had equipment we could use to dig the grave. We were however delighted to hear that there are some vacant graves at the facility.”
The journey from the cemetery gate to the unfilled graves lasted about 10minutes according to Oyerinde.
“The distance from the cemetery gate to the space we were allocated to bury our brother was another journey entirely. We got to a point that we had to come down from our vehicles and trek for about three minutes before we finally got a space.
“As soon as we interned his body around 11:25pm, there was torrential downpour and we were all drenched by the rain. We never felt troubled by the heavy shower not after beating the deadline for Kulasa’s burial. Surprisingly, the rain stopped after 11 minutes.”
He added that the following day, the family proceeded to Ilesha to break the news of Kulasa’s death to his aged mother. According to Oyerinde, “Before our arrival in Ilesha, the mother confirmed her son appeared as a ghost sweating profusely and before the old woman could utter a word, he had disappeared.
“As soon as we confirmed the son’s death, the aged woman fainted and was relocated to Osogbo in Osun Stata after her resuscitation.”
Wife, relative, colleagues recount last moments, unfulfilled dreams
Wife of the deceased, Mrs Sherifat Funmi Abdulsalam has expressed her appreciation to Muslim community, friends and the general public for supporting her since the demise of her husband.
Speaking exclusively with this medium yesterday at her residence in Ilorin, on the last moments of her husband, yesterday, Mrs. Abdulsalam said, “We woke up together that fateful day and he dropped me at work before leaving for Oro. It was unfortunate that after two hours later, I heard about his death. The news was shocking and a sad one.
“Among his wishes was to see our little son become a medical doctor but now that my husband is no more, I pray that God will give me the strength and long life to accomplish the mission the deceased set for the boy,” she said.
Speaking further, Mrs. Abdulsalam who is a teacher described the departed as a very caring husband and loving friend adding that, “honestly, I can never forget him.”
Speaking further, she said “He is a man of principle and very close to God. He is someone who does not fear death, even in his behaviour. His notion is that death can come anytime. “He is very friendly. I was sad initially but later became overwhelmed. I give glory to Almighty God, for removing the stigma from us as a family.”
“He is a true Muslim who practised the religion till the end of his life and was trustworthy. If you keep anything with him, you will certainly get it back anytime you want it. Especially money, even if we are hungry, he will not touch it.”
The bereaved mother of one however appreciated the Muslim Community in Ilorin and Oro and also Christians who supported the family all through.
“My appreciation also goes to colleagues of my husband and my place of work.
“Though, I was not there when they exhumed his body, but pictures were sent to me and I received calls from several people congratulating me. The sorrow on one part, turned into happiness for us on Tuesday, she said.
On how the family has been coping since the death of Salami, she said “There has not been much, but there is no way you will miss a darling husband like him and not feel the impact.”
For the Registrar of the college, Mr Samuel Kayode Ategbese, he sighed Salami who he described as a friend to all and a cheerful staff, a day to his death.
“He never keeps malice with anyone and the fact that his body was still intact when exhumed will have laid to rest any rumour about his personality, he said, even as he appreciated the Kwara State Government, the Governing Council and other stakeholders for their support.
Also, a friend of the departed, Mrs Taibat Saka Bolanta Lawal, said, “He picks me at home and we come to school and leave the campus for Ilorin together. We also visit each other at home and we were family friends.
“Each time he requested for my car, I had no objection because he actually helped me to buy the car. Three days to his demise, he came to my office to collect my car keys and when he returned he thanked me for the gesture because according to him, he may have missed the appointment if not for the vehicle. I even missed his call a day before his death.
On some of his wishes, Mrs Lawal said, “We were planning a huge birthday bash for him in January 2018 not knowing he was going to leave us so soon. He was a trustworthy friend and one who served God all his life. There are instances we stopped on the road to observe Jumat prayer while returning from Oro.
“His death has taught us not to talk ill of the dead and it is wrong to gossip on circumstances surrounding anyone’s death.”
Speaking further on the departed, Oyerinde said he had ambition to quit academics for politics due to his passion to alleviate the sufferings of the people.
In the same vein, the former Chaiman of the Senior Staff Union in Colleges of Education Nigeria (SSUCOEN), Oro chapter, Comrade Abdulkareem Amuda-Kannike has relived the sweet memories he shared with his late friend and colleague.
According to him, the deceased had no premonition of his death as he was full of life before the unfortunate incident, he alluded the un-decomposed state of his body in death to the fact that the late Salami was a devoted Muslim who feared Allah.
Kannike, who said Salami was his deputy when he held sway as the union boss, described him as a man of noble character, who had excellent interpersonal relationship with other staff members.
“Kunle was my long time friend and my vice chairman of the union. He was very honest, loyal and sincere. He was absolutely committed and was cornerstone of SSUCOEN, Oro.
He accepted criticism and corrections without grudge. Took up responsibilities and carried it out diligently, a perfect gentleman with good human relations. His death was a colossal loss not only to the college or the union but the cause of service to humanity.
Speaking on the events that led to the deceased’s first burial, Kannike said concerted efforts by his colleagues to get Muslim clerics from Ilorin to do the needful as regards the deceased’s interment proved abortive.
“Muslim clerics from Ilorin were summoned only for them to claim they were at Malete. Till 11pm, we saw no one only few of us were ready to give him the proper Islamic burial. When the issue became complicated, we had to release the corpse to the family.
“A childhood friend of Salami, said while growing up, he exhibited youthful exuberances, which denied him inheritance of his hunter father’s spiritual powers, adding that many of their contemporaries were surprised that he could rise to an enviable status later in life.”
…Oro Chief Imam, Prof Badmas speak on phenomenon
Event shows he was righteous – Prof Lanre Badmas, Unilorin
“It is not a wrong step by the Muslims if a brother died for them to exhume his body from where he was buried by non Muslims to be given proper burial. It is the right of the Ummah to find way of exhuming the body to be buried according to Islamic rites.
On the non-decomposition of the body, Allah knows best, but this shows that he was a righteous person according to our own estimation.
A similar incident happened during the time of the prophet (SAW) when there was a devastating flood that exhumed the body of the Muslims that died during the time of the battle of Uhud. Their bodies were intact and the Prophet (SAW) ordered they should be reburied.
So it is a challenge for all of us to live a righteous life and continue to champion the cause of Islam”
Prove that Allah is unrivalled – Chief Imam of Oro, Alh. Taofeek Mh’d Sanusi
“I believe there are lots of lessons to be learnt from the body that did not decompose 47 days after burial and the exhuming of his corps for re-burial. Allah proved to us He remains the greatest. Prior to the re-burial, there was rumour that anyone who touched the corps will die but we have heard no such tale.
As Muslims, it is imperative for us to all conduct burial rites for our fellow Muslim brothers, no matter the challenges.
At this juncture, I will implore the management of COED, Oro to always cooperate with their host community. With all the Islamic leaders in Oro community, one would have expected the school management to reach out instead of bringing Sango priests to perform burial rites on a Muslim brother.”
It depicts Allah’s supremacy – Imam
Peleowo Hakeem Ishola, TMC External Affairs Officer
“The event though very strange and mysterious indeed depicts the Supremacy of Allah over His slaves as well as His Support for them.
There is no doubt in the fact that falsehood can never overcome truth. Truth will ever prevail falsehood by Allah’s Decree.
Thousands of people from all walks of life attended the funeral which testified to the religiosity of the man as Allah will indeed reveal truth even if being detested. It is possible Allah does it to honour His slaves and I don’t have the least doubt he was the same person buried elsewhere. Allah knows best.”
LIST OF PROPITIATION ITEMS REQUESTED BY SANGO PRIESTS
- 16 Bitter Kola
- 16 Kolanut
- 16 Alligator pepper
- 1Bottle of Schnapps
- 4Yards of white cloth
- 4Yards of red cloth
- 4Yards of black cloth
- 25Litres of Palm oil
- 1Basket of pap
- 1 White ram
- 1 Big pig
- 1 He-goat
- 1 Cock
- 1 Male dog
- 1 Pigeon
- Bean cake, white beans pudding (ekuru) and steam bean pudding (Moin-moin)
- Beans and corn
- Basketful of pounded yam