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08.01.2005 Regional News

Methodist Church banned from burying its dead at Nsein

By GNA

Nsein (W/R), Jan. 8, GNA - The Nsein Traditional Council has banned the burial of members of the Nsein Methodist Church in the traditional area with effect from January 6, 2005 until a land dispute between the Council and the Church is resolved.

The ban was announced in a resolution adopted by the traditional council at an emergency meeting at Nsein on Thursday and copied to the Head of the Nsein Methodist Church and the Chairman of the Nzema East District Security Committee.

The Council, led by its President Awulae Agyefi Kwame II and Omanhene of Nsein Traditional Area, has sued the Church at the Sekondi High Court for setting aside a lease agreement on a land in the traditional area. Sixteen out of the 25-members Council signed the resolution, which also stated that until the final determination of the land dispute in or out of court, any attempt to lift the ban would attract a fine of one million cedis and three bottles of schnapps.

The resolution said a fine of five million cedis would also be imposed on anybody who attempts to convene a meeting of the Council to resolve the issue.

The resolution said, "under section 4 i, ii and iii of the funeral bye-laws of the traditional area and revised on June 16, 2000, that any person or group of members of a family, who engage in any litigation of any kind with Awulae or refuses to carry out any orders from Awulae's Palace or puts up disrespectful conduct to the Ahenfie, shall be deemed to have forfeited his or her customary rights as a true citizen of Nsein and will not be accorded any customary privilege due to true citizens either dead or alive until the person or group or their family decide to seek peaceful settlement with Awulae and his elders at the palace.

It further stated, "it is the customary right and powers of Awulae in consultation with the majority of his elders to decide whether a dead body would be buried or the final funeral rites would be held at Nsein. In a statement of claim filed by the Council at the Sekondi High Court, sometime in 1998 the defendants approached the plaintiff for a lease of a particular piece of land situated at Nsein for Church purposes only. It stated that the plaintiff without disclosing the area in question measuring 1.35 acres, which encompasses a community day nursery known as the "Nyame Yie" Project, built by the World Vision International (WVI), the plaintiff mistakenly endorsed the site plan and realising the mistake, re-called the site plan but the defendants have refused to release it.

The statement said by the customs and traditions of the Nsein Traditional Area, all leases for building purposes emanating from the traditional area must have the confirmation of the plaintiff, who executes the leases as a confirming party, without which any such leases is deemed null and void.

It further added that the renaming of the project from "Nyame Yie" to Nsein Methodist Day Nursery is causing a lot of embarrassment and the defendants have thwarted all peaceful moves initiated by the plaintiff, aimed at resolving the problem.

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