A burial ceremony in honour of the former Cross River State Commissioner for Youths and Sports, Mr. Raymond Obeten, was disrupted on Saturday in Obubra Local Government Area, when a giant lizard dropped from the rooftop.
Obeten, who was the immediate past commissioner in the ministry, died on August 29 at the University of Calabar Teaching Hospital from liver complications.
At the burial ceremony, several people scampered to safety with some screaming on the top of their voices when the lizard fell and dashed towards the crowd.
The incident brought the burial proceedings to a halt as the cleric who was conducting the farewell mass was taken aback and had to step aside to ask what the matter was.
However, one of the villagers, who identified himself as Mr. Obongha, said the crowd which consisted of relatives of the deceased and his kinsmen from Adun and neighbouring villages, were afraid because they read superstitious meaning into the incident.
“For a diabolical society like ours, the death of a person is always attributed, not to an ailment but one person or an amorphous factor. So, people get scared when something strange, no matter how ordinary, occurs during burial,” he said.
Also, the younger brother to the deceased, Mr. Otaba Obeten, alluded to this when he said the demise of his elder brother was “mysterious and its source could not be far from the tussle currently going on in the village.”
But the commotion did not bother the state Deputy Governor, Mr. Efiok Cobham, who was already seated and awaiting the arrival of Governor Liyel Imoke.
In his farewell message, Imoke eulogised his former aide, saying he took his job seriously.
Imoke said, “Ray Power, as we called him in the State Executive Council, was close to me. He was one person that had great sense of humour because during debate he would not make his speech without a joke that would send us all laughing, no matter how serious the matter was.”
The governor called on the family and the people of Adun, the deceased immediate community, to remain united no matter what differences that might exist between them.
He consoled the deceased’s wife, Helen, and his two children, David and Odam, and asked them to remain humble and focused so that their father’s expectation and desire for them would come to pass.