I went to Awka last week for a little shopping. I was on mufti dress so that I can price things (igba ipara) like any other person. Accidentally, I came across where assorted coffins were displayed for sale. I made the Sign of the Cross and looked the other way. To my greatest surprise I heard a whistling behind me. Instinctively, I was moved to turn. It was the coffin seller calling for customers. He asked me, “Sir, which one do you want? Please come in and check. For three days now I have not sold any coffin. I have special coffins with modern gadgets. I will sell well for you.” I looked at the man from head to toe. Then I exclaimed, “Lord have mercy on you!” Furiously I asked the coffin seller, “Do I look like a dead man that you are beckoning on me to buy a coffin from your shop? If you are praying for someone to die in order to make money, then begin from your family. Charity, they say, begins at home.” The man sighed and went away sad. I soliloquized as I walked away. I kept silent when a toilet giant fly landed on my lips. I nearly spat out all the liquids in my mouth.
When I went home I discussed the encounter with my one of my friends. He was angry with the coffin seller. He told me that things have really fallen apart. He asked, “How can one sell death in the market? What a nonsensical nonsense? Selling of coffin should be a part time business. One should display other things for sale. Coffins should be kept apart for emergency and not a full time business.” He was ready to search for that coffin seller and crucify him, but I restrained him. Government should arrest all business men who sell only coffins because they are nuisances to the society. They have bad intentions. While the World Health Organization wishes everyone good health, the coffins makers and sellers are wishing death to mankind. When they kneel down and pray “Give us this day our daily bread” they are praying that people should die in quantum so that they can smile to the banks. Ironically, when someone from their families becomes sick, they take him or her to hospital for medical attention. At the same time, they rush to the church to pray for his or her recovery. All those who sale coffins only should be transferred with immediate effect to the Department of the Mortuary to transact business with the dead.
In a certain parish church during the 2016 annual harvest and bazaar, a member of that church presented a gorgeous coffin as his thanksgiving gift to God. The parish priest received the gift with sadness. The church members were all shouting and murmuring at the deadly gift. Some were cursing the man who presented the coffin. A particular voice was heard cursing and binding, “Back to sender! Back to sender!! Holy Ghost! Fire!!” The parish priest calmed everyone down. He told the congregation that the coffin should be accepted since to bury the dead is one of the Corporal Works of Mercy. Silence fell everywhere. The church service continued. After the service, bazaar sales began. All other bazaar items available were sold out. The last commodity on sale was the coffin. The auctioneer began to auction the deadly gift. No one priced it. At last the man who presented it priced it three times. The auctioneer shouted, “Going! Going!! Gone!!! He took the coffin to the buyer. The generous buyer presented it to the parish priest for his personal use. The parish priest in turn gave it to the catechist to use. The catechist out of obedience accepted the deadly gift with mixed feelings. He was soliloquizing in these words, “So the parish priest wishes me dead. What a deadly love!” Cunningly, the catechist took the coffin away. He went straight to the parish priest's office and placed the coffin horizontally at the door of the office. He left a note beside it which reads: “My dear parish priest, rest in peace.” The following day, the parish priest came to his office to sign some vital documents. He saw the coffin at his door with the note. He was very furious and he shouted, “This catechist, you are very wicked!” Out of anger he called the catechist on phone. He came with dispatch. The parish priest gave him an automatic dismissal letter without any benefit. The catechist reported the case to the bishop. The bishop has fixed a date for the hearing. Who between the two is at fault? We pray that the bishop will settle the matter justly.
Do you know that National Association of Morticians is in existence today? A certain man came to my office for marriage registration. I asked him, “What do you do for a living?” He replied, “Father, I am a famous mortician. I specialized in preserving corpses for burial at a later date. Father, do you have any? Please tell your parishioners to bring corpses to my mortuary. Also write in your will that your corpse will be brought to my mortuary for preservation when you die. I shall dress you in such a way that you will enter heaven straight without judgment.” After laughing, I told the mortician to stop that costly joke. I also told him that I was in office for life pastoral project and not for death project. After registering for marriage, the mortician asked me to pray for him so that his mortuary business will be progressing. Instead I prayed that no one should die again so that all mortuaries will be closed down. He refused to say Amen and he walked away sad.
I went into the mortuary recently. As I was coming in, I saw one of the morticians slapping a corpse mercilessly. I shouted at him, “Stop that! Allow the corpse to rest in peace!” He sighed and said, “Father, this man's corpse is very stubborn. He is disturbing my business. Even though he is dead, he is causing a lot of havoc inside this mortuary. Therefore I want to slap sense into him so that he allows himself and other corpses here to rest in peace. Three days later, the mortician died suddenly. Who killed him? As I was narrating the ordeal to my friends, news filtered into my ears that a certain mortician in an undisclosed mortuary slumped and died mysteriously inside the mortuary. I asked without thinking, “Are the corpses in that mortuary angry with him?” Please, morticians, be very careful of how you deal with corpses in order to avoid unpleasant repercussions. Remember that those corpses will rise again from the dead. They are sleeping and will wake up on the day of resurrection. Therefore, they should be treated with dignity.
As I was driving to my ancestral home a few days ago, I met an eye-sore at Ekwulobia. I cleared my car beside the road and cleared my eyes to make sure what I saw was real. What did I see? It was a newly built petrol filling station with a hospital inside the same premises, with one closely beside the other. Both buildings (hospital and petrol station) are painted with the same colour of paint. I shook my head in disapproval and uttered, “This is a death trap. Death is really for sale here.” How can patients and petrol stay together? Is someone coming to the hospital looking for life or for death? How can the patients in the hospital be inhaling the nasty odour of fuel? What happens when there is a fire outbreak? Indeed the lives of the patients in that hospital are in danger. They can be roasted any time. God forbid! By the way, who approved the building of the hospital and petrol station together? Probably the medical director of the hospital and the manager of the petrol station may be the same person. He manages patients and petrol hand in hand. In fact, money can buy death. If I had seen the construction at its early stage, I would have gone to the market to purchase a red paint and use it to inscribe: “STOP WORK” at the ugly site. I hereby call on the Chairman of Aguata Local Government, the Anambra Commissioner of Health and the Governor of Anambra State to do something before life is lost. The hospital should be relocated to somewhere else. How can heaven and hell be in the same compound? If such is the case, the fire of hell can spill into heaven.
Death is for sale in various market departments. Many fake drugs are on sale. Since the tenure of the late Professor Dora Akunyili as the Nigerian Minister of Health, I hardly hear of the fight against fake drugs again. No wonder death is very rampart these days. Dora fought the killer squad fiercely. She nearly paid the fight with her blood but God saved her. She later died a natural death. Today many fake drugs are displayed for sale in the markets. What are the current Minister and Commissioners of Health in the Nation and States doing to fight the ugly malady? Human life is very precious and has no duplicate. Many patients today are given expired or fake drugs. Instead of getting better, they get worse. Some have died and are in their graves awaiting the final Judgment. Some are about to die. Are we not aware that those who make and sell fake drugs will not inherit the Kingdom of God? I even doubt if such people believe in life after death.
Fake, poisonous and expired food items are also in the markets for sale. Some marketers change the expiry date from time to time. For them money is better than life. Saint Paul did not mince words when he said, “The love of money is the root of all evils” (1 Tim. 6:10). Please look for the expiry date before buying essential commodities, especially food and drinks. Life has no duplicate. If you consume expired food or drink, then you will soon expire. Someone say that hunger neutralizes expired food or drink. Another person says that expiry date has nothing to do with black man's stomach, because a black man's digestive system has defensive mechanism. My dear, do not be deceived. Prevention is better than cure.
Those motorists and cyclists who drive with worn out tyres or with faulty brake system are just selling death. Those careless drivers should die alone, if they wish. Please before you board a vehicle kindly look at the worthiness of the tyres and the general condition of the vehicle. It is better to be late than the late. Passengers should endeavour to call careless drivers to order. Dangerous driving and over-speeding have sent many into the world of the dead. We all must die but it is regrettable to die a careless death. Death is for sale in many other ways. Please shine your eyes!