Olomu: The Nigerian Village Where It Is A Taboo For Pregnant Woman To Die
“Deaths from such circumstances are classified as bad deaths and such corpses are not given proper burial by not being buried in the town”, says His Royal Majesty, Ovie Richard L. Ogbon, Ogoni-Oghoro I, JP, the Ohworode of Olomu, who is also the oldest person (Okpako-Orere) of Ogoni-Olomu.
The traditional ruler explains further that such deaths are taken that way because of their belief in the reincarnation of women who died from such circumstances. “It is our belief that women who died in such manners, if buried in town or specifically at home, will reincarnate.
“In the times of old, there were cases where new-born babies had marks of women who had died from such deaths. This is why we don’t bury them at home to avoid reincarnation.”
In addition to dead pregnant women, the traditional ruler adds that “when someone in a family have mental illness, epilepsy or other disease that are genetical in the family, if such a person is not treated properly or cured and he or she dies with such infirmities, it is also our belief that such people reincarnate by being born as children, and it is usually shameful to the family.” Such practices, he adds, are also applicable to people who died by suicide, in accidents, or from drowning.
Interestingly, those who die in such circumstances are buried in the bush as there are no designated places for such people in Olomu Kingdom, except the women who died with pregnancies, whose corpses are taken to the evil forest, according to the traditional ruler.
However, people now insist that such practices are not obtainable again, so they have rebelled against the practices.
The late woman and her foetus are supposed to go to the evil forest. The Church has affected many practices. For instance, many who used to carry out such traditional functions like taking the corpses to the evil forest, have now become Christians and you can’t get people to perform such traditional rites anymore.”
He speaks further: “Many practices have been jettisoned today. People no longer forbid things. When such abominable deaths occur in families today, out of shame for people not to hear that a taboo has occurred in their family, people no longer adhere to the tradition of burying such in the evil forest or bush. They now blatantly bring such dead into town and bury. This wasn’t so in those days.”
He believes some of these disregards for cultures and tradition could pollute a community.