“Late in 1994, an 87 year old man passed on in a village close to Amai, Kwale, Delta State. The late man’s grandson, Ufiaka (26 years old and fairly educated), was given some money and asked to travel to Agbor to buy a fine casket for his grand pa’s burial. Ufiaka left base early and arrived Agbor in good time to purchase the casket and make the return journey same day.
He was fortunate to get an open back white coloured Peugeot 404 pickup heading for Amai. He, however, had to ride in the back of the pickup with the casket because two market women travelling to Amai were already seated in front with the driver.
On the home journey, they ran into a heavy rain storm close to Uronigbe and Ufiaka quickly opened the casket, lay himself nicely in the well padded interior, covered the lid and used the folded newspaper he had with him to leave a small opening between the lid and the main body of the white casket to ensure adequate ventilation.
The interior of the casket was very comfortable and Ufiaka soon fell into a very deep sleep.
The rain had subsided at the time the pickup van arrived at Umutu and during a brief stop there, two men travelling to Amai boarded the vehicle at the back and the same happened at Ubiaruku where a man and a woman travelling also to Amai entered the vehicle. All this while, Ufiaka was enjoying his beauty sleep inside the Casket completely unaware of the new passengers who boarded at Umutu and Ubiaruku.
The pickup van arrived Amai just after 5p.m. and the driver, who was now very hungry, stopped in front of a busy bukataria to have a quick bite before proceeding onto the next village.
The sudden stoppage and revving of the pickup’s engine woke Ufiaka who then opened the lid of the casket and rose up.
Trouble come start!
The passengers in the back of the pickup jumped out of the vehicle from various points and took to their heels in various directions.
The people eating in the buka (including the mama-put and her service girls) who saw the white casket open, and a “ghost” step out, ran off all over the place some with balls of eba and akpu in their hands.
Ufiaka, seeing people running ‘helta skelta’ was convinced that armed robbers were operating and decided to take-off in the direction three of the passengers, including the woman, were running. When the three passengers realised that Ufiaka was running towards them, they increased their speed and shouted “ghost! ghost!” and, to further worsen the situation, Ufiaka was dressed in white up and down with white shoes to match that day.
With the shouting of ‘ghost’, other people in their homes came out to see what was going on and on seeing people running at high speed all over, they joined in the race for their dear life and the number just swelled.
The driver and the two market women were the only people who knew what was going on and they had a hell of a time calming the people down and explaining that … he merely needed shelter, while it was raining.
it was really serious….”