View Full Version : [General] Horror: Police find 50 bodies, 20 skulls in Anambra shrine

Aug 5, 2004, 11:52 PM
Thursday, August 5, 2004
nigeriaworld.com/cgi-bin/.../5/40.html (http://nigeriaworld.com/cgi-bin/axs/ax.pl?http://odili.net/news/source/2004/aug/5/40.html)
From Uzoma Nzeagwu (Awka and Chuks Collins (Onitsha)

The spectacle which brought the Anambra State Police Commissioner, Mr. Felix Ogbaudu,to tears was the stuff of which nightmares are made: Human bodies in various stages of decomposition, many of them with leathery skins gummed to their bones like mummies, human body parts; about 20 human skulls, countless human skeletons bleached white!

The stench was hellish; it hit the guts like a thousand punches delivered at once.

Nearby, the policemen who accompanied their boss retched.

Huddled in a corner of the shrine (Okija shrine) were its custodians, 32 in all. On sighting them, Ogbuadu wondered aloud: "... are these priests human beings or ghouls

Ogbaudu, assisted by the commander of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS), Mr. Gabriel Haruna (CSP), had stormed the "Evil Forest" site of the shrine in Ihiala Local Council of the State in a convoy of about 26 vehicles around 10.00 a.m. yesterday.

Tagged Liberation Raid, it followed a tip-off earlier in the week followed by two petitions channelled through the Inspector-General (IG) of Police.

Parading the suspects at the premises of the police command in Awka, a visibly shaken police commissioner recounted his experience: "I shed tears at the sight of human corpses, many completely severed of their skulls, bones of many years, coffins with corpses and ... I never believed that such a thing could happen in this country."

"Some of the corpses are not decomposed, but shrinking with their skin gummed to their bodies.

"It will be extremely difficult to give a figure of the corpses, but close to 50 looked like human beings and many have decomposed."

One of the suspects and a chief priest, Osita Ndukwu from Umuhu Okija who described himself as a native doctor and occultist, mentioned that several shrines were in existence, including his own called Ogwugwu-Isiala, while others were Ogwugwu Akpu, Idigo among others, stressing that Ogwugwu Akpu is the biggest shrine.

Narrating how they operate in the shrine, Ndukwu said aggrieved parties or a complainant comes to lodge a complaint, after which the Chief Priest sends for the accused who may or may not answer the call.

According to him, when disagreeing persons appear at the shrine, they administer oath on them and as a result, the guilty one dies.

Ogbaudu wondered what the suspects could have been doing with such large number of dead bodies.

"They were so many and the thick forest in which the shrines were located was inaccessible as these things appear to have been going on for many years," Ogbaudu added.

It was difficult, he said, to distinguish between males and females except where the dresses were still recognisable.

The commissioner also noted that as some of the corpses had their heads and or other parts missing, the priest could have been trading in human parts also.

He pointed out a striking observation that the flesh was discovered gummed to the skeletons even after so much rains.

He also expressed suspicion that the priests got their victims hypnotised, drugged them and when they eventually died, the families were ordered to bring the corpses back to the shrine where they were dumped to decompose.

He described the whole set-up as murderous.

"From what we saw there, it's evidence those people there were killed." Some of the operational registers at the two shrines were also recovered.

The Guardian's investigation revealed that adherents, including rich and influential people, who come there were poisoned to die and their corpses and property brought down to the shrines while the priests share the booty.

One of the chief priests, Osita Ndukwu, admitted that his family resides in Lagos where he owns houses and other businesses.

He stated that he had started "exporting" the deities and its priests to other states in the federation, and overseas.

A popular deceased businessman, was said to have been taken to the shrine after all the glamour of his high-society burial, because someone 'reported' him to the Ogwugwu-Akpu.

It was also alleged that prominent politicians in the state had gone from time to time to swear to an oath at these shrines.`

I Love Nigeria
Aug 5, 2004, 11:53 PM
August 5, 2004
Nigerian Sorcerers Nabbed with 50 Bodies, 20 Skulls

Filed at 3:04 p.m. ET
UBAHU-EZIKE, Nigeria (Reuters) - Nigerian police have arrested 30 witch-doctors in a raid on fetish shrines in Anambra state where over 50 decomposing bodies and 20 human skulls were discovered, a police spokesman said on Thursday.
The head, genitals and other vital parts had been severed from some of the bodies, found in a teak forest in Okija village, a sign they may have been killed for ritual.
``We saw more than 50 bodies in various coffins. There were several skulls, some of them really fresh,'' Anambra police spokesman Kolapo Shofoluwe told Reuters by telephone.
Ritual killing is common in some parts of Nigeria where many people believe they can become instant millionaires by using human organs to make potent charms. Many Nigerians mix traditional religions with Christianity or Islam.
Police said preliminary investigations showed that the victims died after the sorcerers engaged them in an animist ritual.
Residents of Ubahu-Ezike, a small town near one of the shrines, said they were afraid to go near the shrine because men faithful to the deities were waiting there to attack outsiders.
They said that a small group of ``high priests'' had exploited the traditional religion and turned it into a big money-spinning operation.
``Those juju priests are very fraudulent,'' said a secondary school teacher in Ubahu-Ezike, asking not to be named.
``They have been using the shrines to extort money from innocent people. They ride the best cars in the community and build fine, fine houses. Nobody dares challenge them, not even the traditional ruler.''
As part of the ritual, police said the victims pledged their property, including bank accounts, to a deity upon their death. Their relations were made to believe they would also die if they refused to give up the property.
``We are looking beyond the deity,'' Shofoluwe said, adding that at least 20 shrines were raided.
``The priests may have killed the people for ritual, or to obtain their property by false pretence or they may have been running a human parts market,'' he said.
Shofoluwe quoted a villager who had tipped police off, as saying the sorcerers ate the flesh of some of their victims.
``Thank God the police have found out and raided the area. I wish they had burned down the place,'' said the school teacher.
Local media reported on Thursday that the witch-doctors enjoyed the patronage of rich businessmen and influential politicians in eastern Nigeria.
``I am sure our investigation will reveal a lot of things in the next two or three weeks,'' said Shofoluwe, who said he did not know the identity of the sorcerers' patrons.
www.nytimes.com/reuters/i...rcery.html (http://www.nytimes.com/reuters/international/international-nigeria-sorcery.html)

Aug 6, 2004, 12:34 AM

I Love Nigeria
Aug 6, 2004, 01:50 AM
Hacking Confessed to Brothers, Father Says

Filed at 5:25 p.m. ET
www.nytimes.com/aponline/...-Wife.html (http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/national/AP-Missing-Wife.html)

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- Mark Hacking confessed to two older brothers that he killed his wife as she slept and then put the body in a trash bin, their father said Thursday.

Hacking, confronted with evidence he had something to do with his wife's disappearance, and overwhelmed by the volunteer effort to find her, made the confession when his brothers Scott and Lance visited him at a psychiatric ward July 24, the father, Douglas Hacking, said.

``He decided the time was right -- he had better let authorities know what happened,'' Douglas Hacking said.
The details of the confession were disclosed Thursday in an interview of Scott Hacking in The Salt Lake Tribune.
Scott Hacking told the newspaper Wednesday that after Mark confessed, ``My brother and I sat and hugged him for about an hour, and then we went home.''
The information was relayed to police through an intermediary July 25.

``I've never seen him (Scott) hurting so much as that night, struggling with having to make that decision,'' said Douglas Hacking. ``When it was all done, he said, 'I never felt as relieved or miserable at the same time.' It's a terrible dilemma for him to be in.''

He said he believed Mark Hacking had a psychological breakdown because his wife apparently learned of his lie about having been accepted to medical school. Both Scott and Douglas are physicians, and the father has said Mark probably felt pressure by the achievements of his relatives.

Mark Hacking, 28, called police July 19 and said his wife had failed to show up for work after going for an early morning jog.

He was arrested Monday on suspicion of murder as he was about to be released from the psychiatric ward where he'd been since being found naked outside a hotel July 20.

Police believe that three days before she vanished, Lori Hacking discovered that her husband had not been enrolled in a North Carolina medical school where the couple was packing to move. It also was discovered that he had lied about graduating from the University of Utah.
Scott Hacking, 33, said he was aware that his brother, if convicted, could face execution.

``I certainly worried about that,'' he told the newspaper. ``My family believes in the justice system. ... If those consequences are the ones he has to face, then again, we will support him through that point, though I hope he does not have to face that consequence.''

He said he hopes the information resolves the case.
``My family started this entire process with two goals in mind,'' he said. ``One was to bring Lori back and the other was to discover the truth. And we were determined to do both of those things.

``No brother wants to offer information about his own brother,'' he said.

Late Thursday afternoon was the deadline for Salt Lake County District Attorney David Yocom to file formal charges, but a judge granted him an extension until Monday.

Yocom has declined to say whether he would seek the death penalty, but did say the wishes of the victim's family are given great weight.

The search for remains at the county landfill resumed Wednesday night after a few days off. The searches have been halted temporarily when cadaver dogs were needed on other assignments and when their handlers felt the animals needed time off.

Large spotlights lighted the area Wednesday night and a backhoe tore out large chunks of garbage that were then spread out for the dogs to go over. The searches are conducted overnight because the dogs work more effectively in the cooler air, authorities have said.

I Love Nigeria
Aug 6, 2004, 01:57 AM
August 5, 2004
Altar Boy Murder Probe Documents Released

Filed at 8:53 a.m. ET
SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (AP) -- Danny Croteau and his teenage friends thought the parish priest was ``cool.'' He let them thumb through the Playboy magazines he kept under the driver's seat of his convertible and always made sure there was enough leftover Communion wine for them to share.

But Danny's friends also told police investigating the boy's murder that the priest had his dark side and could become violent when crossed.

Their statements were among more than 2,000 pages of investigative and court records released Wednesday in the unsolved 1972 killing of the 13-year-old altar boy. Defrocked priest Richard Lavigne, who served 10 years probation for molesting two other altar boys in 1992, remains the only publicly identified suspect.
An attorney for 24 people whom Lavigne sexually abused had sued to see the documents, and the state's highest court last week ordered them released, saying that after more than 30 years there was no longer a good reason to keep them sealed.

Danny's parents, Carl and Bernice Croteau, hope the release will generate new leads or prompt someone to come forward. They had not yet seen the documents as of Wednesday night but were aware of the contents.
``It's frustrating, it's difficult, but we realize in order to get this thing moving we've got to have the publicity, too,'' Carl Croteau said. ``The more actively it's put out there, the better chances of this being solved, no question about it.''

Most of the information had leaked out over the years. But some details were new, including that police had checked the tires on Lavigne's car against tracks near the murder scene. They were not a match.
A call to Lavigne's attorney, Max Stern, was not immediately returned late Wednesday afternoon. Lavigne, of Chicopee, has steadfastly maintained his innocence in Danny's murder.

In a statement included with a police affidavit, Stephen Burnett said he had been Danny's best friend when they were in parochial school and had served Mass for Lavigne with Danny for about a year.

When they served funeral masses, Lavigne would take them out of school and afterward, Burnett said, ``Danny and I would share one chalice of wine.''

``We thought Father Lavigne was a cool guy. He didn't act like a priest ... very carefree and never serious outside of church,'' Burnett told police. ``We would cruise with him in a car which was a convertible ... I do remember that there were Playboy magazines in the convertible, under the driver's seat. Father Lavigne gave them to us to look at and in fact encouraged it.''
Yet, Burnett said there were also many occasions when the boys were playing street hockey and ``all of a sudden I would see Danny crying.'' Then, he recalled, he would look up the street to see Lavigne waiting for Danny in a car parked at a discreet distance.

Following last week's ruling by the Supreme Judicial Court, the district attorney's office released an autopsy report showing Croteau had a blood alcohol level of .18 -- more than twice the legal limit for driving -- when he died from a blow to the head on April 15, 1972. His body was found on the bank of the Chicopee River.

The autopsy report listed no physical evidence of sexual abuse.

The government reopened the case last year to pursue more sophisticated DNA testing, but revealed last week that no tests had connected Lavigne to the crime.
Lavigne was not publicly identified as a suspect until the 1990s. But the former priest, who came to the morgue with Carl Croteau to identify Danny's body, had become an early suspect, according to the released documents.
Danny's brother, Carl Croteau Jr., told police he believed he recognized Lavigne's voice in an anonymous call made to the family's home two days after the body was discovered. The caller said ``We're very sorry what happened to Danny. He saw something ... he shouldn't have seen. It was an accident.''

Shortly after the killing Lavigne asked investigators ``If a stone was used and thrown in the river, would the blood still be on it? In such a popular hangout with so many cars and footprints, how can the prints you have be of any help?''

Still, investigators said they failed to find enough evidence to charge Lavigne.

www.nytimes.com/aponline/...urder.html (http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/national/AP-Altar-Boys-Murder.html)

Big Steve
Aug 6, 2004, 07:08 AM
So far, the preceding posts are just reports with no comments on the appropriateness or otherwise of this practice. Later posts have sidelined the Nigerian discovery in the state of Anambra pointing to the universality of this barbaric act.

It would be nice to outrightly state where our sympathy lies. Personally, I believe the discovery tarnishes the Igbo and paints us all as still living in the primitive mode, Achuzie's comment notwithstanding. Could the loud mouths and apostles of internet bullying please give us their take?

Aug 6, 2004, 09:09 AM
The fear of being attacked as a tribalist, anti-south, anti-Igbo, Muslim, Christian, etc. prevents people from commenting on this one.

Aug 6, 2004, 09:52 AM
I have learnt that in this village, never take things as face value. People seem yo have a bone to pick with certain individuals and often go on to goad these individuals. I think this statement though I don't know whom it is directed to, falls into this category

So far, the preceding posts are just reports with no comments on the appropriateness or otherwise of this practice

Do you really expect anyone to defend this action or are you disappointed that this has not been used as an excuse to trash certain people?. Does it really have to be spelt out before you realise that Villagers abhor and are embarrassed at this occurrence?

This thread as far as I am concerned serves to inform us of this occurrence and as there is only one view on the "appropriateness" of this practice, I am suprised that you expect a debate on this practice.

We might debate the appropriateness of Achuzie and Ohaneze's response to this discovery but not the practice.

BTW: your criticism was very tame!

Aug 6, 2004, 12:19 PM
<img border=0 src="http://us.news2.yimg.com/us.yimg.com/p/ap/20040805/capt.lgs10208051421.nigeria_ritual_killings_lgs102 .jpg" />

With this statement, it may be difficult to take Ohaneze serious again. How can they infer ethnic persecution when they should have rightly condemned this backwardness and barbarity?

<blockquote><strong><em>Quote:</em></strong><hr><a href="http://www.independentng.com/dailyindependent/news/nnaug060401.htm"><span style="color:navy;">Daily Independent Online -"Okija shrine raid aimed at mocking Igbo - Ohaneze"</span></a>: "These things are in the Nigerian tradition. So, unmasking one in Ihiala is not new. These skulls have been there for long ago and I do not see anything new about it except that the police want to portray the Igbo as cannibals. But this is not what the police should be involved in.

"Ohaneze does not thrive in illegality. Our duty is to ensure that all Igbo do that which is right. In doing so, however, we shall not condone any act that will paint a race in bad light. The police in Awka have done one. But they should not go farther than this especially when they are not conversant with the history of a people".

Achuzie, who recalled the history of the Okija shrine, said it has been reputed for justice in the settlement of dispute among people, stressing that never in Igboland has anybody complained that the priests killed or sacrificed human beings unjustly.

He added: "Nobody has said that they kill people there. Those who go there go there to settle their matters. They take oaths and at the end of the day, anyone found guilty is killed by the shrine. But it is obvious that not all cases are taken to this shrine because it is very powerful.

"The human parts and skulls which they discovered are merely those who had sworn at the place and apparently found guilty and were killed not by any human being but the gods. Their bodies are usually brought to the place as sacrifice to the gods".<hr></blockquote>

Then hear your police. Who cares whether the chief priest is 900 years old. His ass belongs in jail!

<blockquote><strong><em>Quote:</em></strong><hr>Yahoo! News - Nigeria Discovers 50 Possible Cult Victims (http://news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/ap/20040805/ap_on_re_af/nigeria_ritual_killings_7): "The ceremonial chief priest suspected of preparing potions for victims was not arrested because of his advanced age. 'He's an old man. We don't want him to die in police custody,' state police commissioner Felix Ogbaudu said. "<hr></blockquote>

I Love Nigeria
Aug 6, 2004, 04:28 PM
August 6, 2004
Several Bodies Found in Fla. Home

Filed at 10:02 a.m. ET
DELTONA, Fla. (AP) -- Multiple bodies were found in a home early Friday and authorities said they were investigating the deaths as a homicide.

An exact number of dead was not immediately available, Volusia County sheriff's spokesman Gary Davidson said.
The bodies were discovered about 6:30 a.m. after a co-worker of one of the victims asked a friend to visit the single-family home because the person didn't show up for work, Davidson said. Nobody was found alive inside the home.

Davidson said it wasn't known if the victims were a family. Deputies have sealed off the area, officials said.
Deltona is about 25 miles north of Orlando.
www.nytimes.com/aponline/...Found.html (http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/national/AP-Bodies-Found.html)

Aug 6, 2004, 04:41 PM
I Love Nigeria,

u must not love nigeria too much. otherwise, u would be more concerned with nigeria doing what is right than with america doing what is wrong.

Aug 6, 2004, 04:53 PM

Thanks for scaring the living daylights out of those who belief that "Americans" are crazy. One thing though, I bet that in less than 6 months time the people so arrested will be tried and if found guilty, given the appropriate sentence. I also bet that in 6 months time, that some of the chaps involved would be forgotten, that is after a few of them have been "suicided"( judging from the noise being made by Ohaneze.)

BTW: whats his name is still a senator while the family of our late Attorney General are yet to get justice.

Big K,

I really must say that I am disappointed in you. How can you ever suggest that you have ever taken Ohaneze seriously? On second thoughts, I must say that I understand your error. You must have looked at Ohaneze as the Igbo Afenifere. There is no comparism, while the Afenifere may fight for themselves while representing the Yoruba, Ohaneze may occassionally fight for Igbo's in the process of fighting for their selfish aims.

I Love Nigeria
Aug 6, 2004, 06:00 PM

You caused unnecessary irritation, when you introduced the Nigerian image project, into this thread. As if to suggest crimes, homicide and multiple murders, reverend Jim Jones, David Koresh, Timothy McVeigh type stupidity does not occur outside of Nigeria?

Clearly, what has happened in Okija is a criminal act or a multiplicity of it...
And I am not buying the cultural or age defense put forth by Ohaneze and by the Police for not arresting the murderous old man.

It is a newsworthy item, the police responded as they ought to, in any society.... We ought not to prejudge them, because they are Nigerians.

We only ought to condemn the acts, the horrors and inhumanity of it.

But you engaged in your usual give-a-dog-a-bad-name, Nigeria bashing, hence I sought to inform you, that crimes, heinous crimes, murderous horrors have no boundaries!

There is a universal quality to human conduct, the good, the bad, and the dastardly!

I condemn in the strongest terms, the unnecessary loss of those lives, taken by those cult or murderous accused persons, as I would condemn loss of lives anywhere else, in the circumstances.

This is not an IGBO matter, it is human condition in its universality! A German, this year, killed a guy, video taped it, as he ate the corpse!

Why do we trivialize tragedies by ethnicizing them?

Do people kill because of their ethnicities or nationality or simply because of stupidity, irrationality and brutal animal instinct? regardless of their race, religion or continent of origin?

Fair trial and fitting punishment for the culprits is what we should all demand.

Aug 6, 2004, 06:01 PM
But you engaged in your usual give-a-dog-a-bad-name, Nigeria bashing, hence I sought to inform you, that crimes, heinous crimes, murderous horrors have no boundaries!

ILN, in response to my post which I have reproduced.



Na wah for ILN(or is it WAEC?)

I Love Nigeria
Aug 6, 2004, 06:17 PM

You are right! How did you find out? The fact, that I FLUNKED the WAEC examinations?

Well now, what is the primary and or secondary meaning of you statements below?
What is the ordinary meaning or connotations? What did you imply and what can anyone infer?
Your innuendoes are clear to me, even though you passed your WAEC and I did not!



(Stillborn? As in dead-on-arrival?) Because of the Okija murders?
Or we should all bury our heads in shame because of the dastardly acts of a few?
We should apologize to the world on behalf? We should explain their irrational and stupid actions?

I Love Nigeria
Aug 6, 2004, 06:19 PM
www.merriamwebster.com/cg...&x=20&y=15 (http://www.merriamwebster.com/cgi-bin/dictionary?book=Dictionary&va=stillborn&x=20&y=15)

Aug 6, 2004, 06:20 PM
There is a universal quality to human conduct, the good, the bad, and the dastardly!

Agreed! The image of a nation is often a measured by how a country treats it's citizens be they good, bad or ugly. It also includes a consistency in it's actions and not merely one law for the connected and another for the masses. Finally, how the citizenry view it's treatment by those in power is also contributes to a positive image.

Christian Barnard, the Heart Surgeon, despite his accomplishments in the field of medicine (which was achieved mainly via unorthodox, unethical and down right racist methods,) could never put a positive gloss on the image of apartheid South Africa.

100 Wole Soyinka's and Achebe's will never give Nigeria a positive image when we Nigerian's know that 419's are in both federal houses making laws for the country(to legalise 419?) and when almost every foreigner knows that Nigeria is a rich country plagued by mismanagement.

Deal with mismanagement rather than spending money trying to convince people that Nigeria is not as bad as they think when the concept of spending money to launder an image is in it's self a sign that all is not well.

Actions speak louder than words!

On Okija, you state the obvious but can you really blame people who are sceptical of the authorities bringing those responsible and their patrons to book?.

I Love Nigeria
Aug 6, 2004, 07:14 PM

I will be the first to concede that our country is not as yet, a perfect society.... And I will also state the obvious, in adding that there are no perfect societies any where, on earth... hence my frequent allusion to the universality of the human condition... of virtues and vices and all.

Almost all you have said in your last post are correct and appropriate, but, we must learn to put things in proper contexts and perspectives! And perhaps, we must restrain our temptations, of holding over... as in transmuting this horror/carnage into a debate about Nigeria's image quest.

There is already a thread about the Nigeria Image Project and enough is being said there.

In this thread, we ought, state our regrets, on the wanton destruction of lives of our fellow Nigerians by some murderous criminals... in the name of greed or culture, what culture? Lives cut short prematurely! Even, as the criminals operated outside of our laws.

The carnage is an isolated incident, even in Okija, let alone, that state, or Nigeria as whole.
We should not all hide or bury our heads in shame, because of the aberrant behavior of a few stupid cult men! Those killings, are no reflection of all Okija people or of people of the state or people of Nigeria... An Okija person, had the sense and the courage to report the crime, and this decent Okija person is a Nigerian! (The majority of the people from Okija are not in support of murders, not in their names, their culture or for any reasons and I take the liberty of saying the same for the state and Nigeria..... the majority of Nigerians are law abiding, hardworking persons.

We must refrain from making this incident an Igbo incident or some reflection of Igbo culture, it is not!
It is merely the horror and brutality inflicted by a few! Generalizations and false labels, stemming from preconceived notions of Ndiigbo, Nigerians/Africans are distasteful and we must reject them!

Aug 6, 2004, 07:58 PM
You are right! How did you find out? The fact, that I FLUNKED the WAEC examinations?

Well now, what is the primary and or secondary meaning of you statements below?
What is the ordinary meaning or connotations? What did you imply and what can anyone infer?
Your innuendoes are clear to me, even though you passed your WAEC and I did not!

Sorry if you misread my post. Na wah for WAEC has no relationship or connotation with WAEC. It is just Naija rhyme.

Orders include:

I dey like Dele

I just dey Chill like Chilaka (an Igbo name)
How I go make that kain statement wey I no know you from Adam.

Any way just chill like .......

Aug 6, 2004, 08:25 PM
To question a cultural practice is not same as ethnic-bashing. That this heinous practice has pre-dated Nigeria does not make it right. If we can debate and question the tenets and foundations of Christianity and Islam, I see nothing wrong in questiong the cultural atavism in Anambra State.

If some want to invest in Ohaeneze's disgraceful moral equivalence, it is, regretfully, their right. It is the same state where some believe in ancestral worship that has produced a Cardinal of the Catholic Church, abi? So why should anyone fight shy of denouncing this shocking and primitive national embarassment that Chinua Achebe, a proud Igbo, wrote about long ago in Things Fall Apart?

Should we even be shocked, when no less a personality than the current state Governor, a board-certified Medical Doctor, patronised these same shrines to swear an oath of allegiance to his political godfather?
We should now wait to see if the "gods" will oblige Chris Uba by striking Ngige dead for betrayal. Methinks the Governor has not been in a rush to return to the shrine whence he may have to drink a concoction (aka poison) to prove his innocence before th gods.

Anyone who thinks this only obtains in Igbo-land needs not look further than the threat made in the heat of the Yoruba-Edo debate on the origins of Oduduwa when that Otunba threatened to take matters to "the ancestors" unless the Omonoba retracted his people's version of their history!

In my corner of the country right up to the 1970s, a woman suspected of killing her husband could only prove her innocence if nothing untoward happened to her after drinking water used in washing the corpse of the deceased (my apologies for ruining anyone's appetite). It has taken a lot of preaching and admonitions from the churches to stop people from this ritual - or more likely drive it underground.

People, this is our Nigeria in 2004 A.D. - same country, as Bunch 17 noted, now seeking to direct funds into image-laundering rather than help rescue its people from the Stone Age.

P.S. I am eager to read the take of our Village pan-Africanists who have often denounced Christianity as a tool of imperialism which demonised traditional African religions. Well folks, one traditional religion is thriving and well in the "Evil Forest" of Anambra State!!
Say what you will - I thank God that I can call myself a Christian!!

Aug 6, 2004, 08:53 PM
>>P.S. I am eager to read the take of our Village pan-Africanists who have often denounced Christianity as a tool of imperialism which demonised traditional African religions. Well folks, one traditional religion is thriving and well in the "Evil Forest" of Anambra State!!<<

PopGee, if you are expecting them to admit error on their part, you will be waiting well into next year.

Afrocentrism is a quasi-religion - it is an article of faith that African culture is beyond reproach.

If it is bad, it is probably because the Evil White Man has corrupted it in some way or the other with his money, his culture and his Christian religion.

No, I do not know how this could have happened either, so do not ask me.

Aug 6, 2004, 09:42 PM
Should we even be shocked, when no less a personality than the current state Governor, a board-certified Medical Doctor, patronised these same shrines to swear an oath of allegiance to his political godfather?

I would bet any takers that most members of Ohanaeze have patronised this chap!

I Love Nigeria
Aug 6, 2004, 11:38 PM
David Koresh, Branch Davidian is Christian, Timothy McVeigh is a Christian, Reverend Jim Jones is a Christian, The Pedophiliac predators with bibles and cassocks are Christians, James Barker is a Christian, Jim Swaggart is a Christian, the hate mongering Jerry Fallwell is a Christian, so is David Duke the grand wizard of the KKK.

A lot of those who have given Nigeria bad name regarding corruption, are Christians, 99.9% of the perpetrators of 419 and all manners of scams are Christian. Olodu?

So many bad things have been done in the name of the Christian God! From Slavery to Colonialism to the Inquisitions and now, the so-called war on terror.

As Fela Anikulapo would have said, many, many bad, bad things, Jesus Christ our Lord!

Most drug dealers are.... You guessed it, are Christians!

People, give me a break! Holier than thou attitudes, irks me... especially as a retired Christians.... No, I am on sabbatical from Christianity, until a Nigerian, or an African or a person of African descent, preferably, a woman, becomes a Pope! Then, only, then, Christianity, would have proven its sense of fairness and justice to the world!

Aug 7, 2004, 12:45 AM
What is this talk about human bodies and skulls "discovered" in Anambra State? What is new and why are adult Nigerians "shocked" at such sub-human barbarism when it is common practice all over the country?

Why are people concerned or surprised at Ohaneze's statement? Who does not know Ohaneze with its "Victim Syndromises" will condemn any "foreign" housefly or efulefize any indigenous mosquito that buzzes a brutal truth in the ear of an Igbo native?

Why is the NPF (especially that SARS) shedding tears at corpses when some of us can prove extra-judicial killings also known as "travelling" routinely practised by same NPF? Oh and sorry sirs - when less than a dozen are summarily "travelled" it is not as gruesome as 50 "gummy" bodies and 20 naked skulls.

Disciples were first called "Christians" in Antioch during Paul's days. How many disciples of Christ are Nigerians from the pulpit to pews? And what has Christianity to do with the subject of this thread?

Those native spiritualists and their shrines are no different from closet gossips who equally murder with their tongues. And to compare board certified demons (arrested spiritualists) masqurading as upholders of traditional culture with Christians is simply insulting.

And let some be careful how they want to turn this sad news into a platform for Nd'Igbo bashing - there are many decent and godly Nd'Igbo beyond the pettiness of Satanism packaged as African or Nigerian tradition.

If any one reading this knows that him/herself/relation has ever patronized reported evil - either in Anambra State or elsewhere, shall not such one or relation be judged by any declared condemnation?

God is watching us and over us. Christ Jesus cannot be mocked. Amen!

Uncle Sam
Aug 7, 2004, 12:46 AM
In a society where a dead King is buried with 7 human skulls..

In a society where some blood are pure and others impure resulting in the osu caste system..

In a society where if you are not of certain religion, lives are taken because America is at war with Afghanistan..

In a society where human parts are sold openly in the markets..

In a society where twins used to be thought of as non humans, Why are you surprised at the finding of human bodies some where in Nigeria? These are the shining examples of an EVIL empire.

Again, I dare say, that is the premium on a life of an ordinary Nigeria.

And here we are - A lawyer in our midst is justifying the many termination of lives by comparing which evil is better and bigger.

I Love Nigeria
Aug 7, 2004, 01:45 AM
It those, who were introducing religious superiorities, on this thread that you have to blame.

Ariel Sharon keeps referring to parts of Palestine lands, seized from Palestinians by Israel, as biblical Samaria and Judea, and retaining/keeping/preserving the national character of Israel religiously Jewish, is one of the banes of the Middle East peace impasse/deadlock.

Let us have equal reservations or disdains for all religions, Judaic, Christian, Islamic or Afrocentric religions, no holier than thou s! Please.

All religions are mind-altering, follow-along, dogmas!

Aug 7, 2004, 02:45 AM
>>P.S. I am eager to read the take of our Village pan-Africanists who have often denounced Christianity as a tool of imperialism which demonised traditional African religions. Well folks, one traditional religion is thriving and well in the "Evil Forest" of Anambra State!!

>>PopGee, if you are expecting them to admit error on their part, you will be waiting well into next year.<<

The above is so strange as to not merit a reflective or serious answe as it betrays both an acute lack of understanding of African traditional culture and/or the depth of thorough brainwashing of the ordinary African regarding his/her culture and a desire to ridicule African tradition as totally worthless.

Most serious Afrocentrics will therefore ignore you.

Because I do not consider myself a die hard Afrocentrist, I will give a quick answer with a few lines and also simply just quote a sensible comment by another villager

>>And to compare board certified demons (arrested spiritualists) masqurading as upholders of traditional culture <<
The operative word is masquarading as upholders of traditional culture.

To construe this incident as representative of African culture and traditional belief is lazy beyond words. You might as well conclude that Jim Jones represented Xtianity

Pls do the following:

1.Research the fate and story of people like Efun shetan Aniwura, the mighty Iyalode of Ibadan and gain an appreciation of how African culture dealt with miscreants and figures of Authority who abused their power. Even after the fall of Almighty old Oyo, in those trying times with the disorganisedYorubas trying to recover from a destroyed polity, even an Iyalode of warlike Ibadan was subject to traditional discipline, Even an Iyalode, no less!!!

2.Also Read up on Ogbomosho's history and find out, who the Elemosho originally was,how he became the Elemosho what his fate was and figure out how that town got its name.

3.Lastly, research up on the number of Alafins who were given the Calabash by the Oyo Mesi for abusing their positions or doing something unconstitutional.

Any ***** Afrocentricist can very easily make powerful arguments this incident is a direct consequence of corruption of traditional African values by the creeping materialism of the west; a result of destruction of purely African ideals by Foreign imperialism. In the past, whoever heard of traditional african priests owing property in lagos, etc while purportedly serving in the shrine?

I will however not make such an arguement as I beleive African traditional beliefs/culture/religions like any other can be perverted for good or bad depending on the circumstances .

The point I'm trying to get accross is this;Yes, Many aspects of African traditional culture/religion can be bloody;-Like any other. So What?. Its up to us to move our culture forward by taking the good parts and rejecting the bad.
Let no one misrepresent African culture as inherently evil.

I still recall stories via oral tradition, told of traders who merely left their wares by the roadside in the olden days, confident that a buyer would place goods of equal value as replacement if purchased.

Today because bastard Xtian Governors/big men posessing fat Bank accounts( in Europe?) swear at shrines of evil traditional practitioners, with houses in Lagos,we must conclude that African traditional religion is all bad?

>>Say what you will - I thank God that I can call myself a Christian!! << Good for you.

But I'm always suprised that people like you cannot understand tha most:

Religion is a dangerous philosophy because unlike true philosophy it (Mostly) forbids dialogue and reflection. It is averse to any form of alternate hypothetical propositions on truth. It has the habit of claiming exclusive right to a final and absolute truth

Bother to read this on religion (http://www.ngex.com/personalities/voices/saisrael091602.htm)]

While the above article is lenghty and not perfect, it is still very instructive.

Bother to read it if you will

Best wishes

Aug 7, 2004, 03:33 AM
Deep thought Efunsetan Aniwura though in present days standards she would appear wicked, she was no worse that her peers. The evets occured about 1866 after the Ijaye war with the death of Kurunmi the Aare Ona kakanfo and also the death of Bashorun Ogunmola. Aare Latosisa of Ibadan was in charge he however eliminated his rivals such as Ijapo who was Seriki and Ajeniku by intrigue. The trumped up charges against Efunsetan in which she was not allowed to defend herself was that During the siege and eventual fall of Ijaye she did not send the women with food to the Ibadan troops whereas in those days during sieges the practise was to forage the opponents ffarms in order as to starve them prior to the fight.Also she was accused of not coming to welcome the Aare when they came back victoriuos from the war. She was however a slave trader and had over 2000 slaves. Her first daughter died in childbirth and she had no other children hence she was always inducing her slaves to abort. Also she took the title when her predessesor was still alive though reduced to penury. She was killed by the colllision of 2 of her slaves with Kumuyilo her adopted son who hit her with a club while sleeping.

After her death there was a lot of trouble as she was Egba by birth and the Egba's wanted to know who was responsible for her death. This evets strained relationship between the Aare and the Egba's and led to them once again being on opposite sides even to the time of Kiriji war in about 1880 to 90's. The Aare also tried to diminish strong Ibadan Families such as Bashorun Ogunmola and Balogun Ibikunle and also ignored some of the laid down rules of civil conduct by the Venerale Baale Orowusi. Efunsetan was neither a victim nor a heroine but just lost out in a political fireplay because she did not play her cards well.

Aug 7, 2004, 03:42 AM
But if the people who were killed at the Shrine were actually sacrificed to the God of the shrine believers, then, the shrine Priests may legally have done nothing criminal at all under the separation of Church and State, and freedom of worship clauses in the constitution.

According to the Bible, Abraham was going to kill his son, Isaac to give offering to God, and in the Koran, we are also told that, Abraham was going to kill his son, Ismail to give sacrifice to God, in each case, we are not told that, Abraham was arrested and charged of attempted murder. And as far as I know, nobody on this forum, especially Christians and Muslims have never condemned Abraham for the callous behavior, instead they have always hailed his behavior as courageous.

If those priests can only argue that, they were merely giving offerings to their God with those 50+ victims, you people will be hard pressed with your disenchantments to explain why they must not give offerings to their God and why it is criminal to do so.

Aug 7, 2004, 03:43 AM
The Oyo mesi and the calabash telling the Alaafin to go to sleep i.e to commit suicide was used several times.It was a useful check and balance however it was manipulated By Bashorun Gaha who became so powerful that he personally installed and made 4 Alaafin's go to sleep. He also made the Alaafin's subservient to him.This was until the time of Alaafin Abiodun who was able to eliminate Bashorun Gaha and his famile except for Ojo Agunbambaru who escaped to Bariba land and eventually made an abortive attempt to take Ilorin after the fall of Afonja. At this time Oyo was still at Oyo Ajaka which near present day Kaiama. The method of telling the Alaafin to go to sleep did work but was subject to abuse. Please read Bashorun Gaha by Adebayo Faleti and History of the Yoruba's by Samuel Johnson.

Aug 7, 2004, 06:28 AM
With this statement, it may be difficult to take Ohaneze serious again. How can they infer ethnic persecution when they should have rightly condemned this backwardness and barbarity?-----Big K

I read the same article by Daily independent. There was no place Achuzia infered ethnic persecution. Though I disagree with some of the things Achuzie said, but he raised some fundamental issues worth discussing. It would have been wonderful for Big K to address some or all of the innocous points made by Achuzia, but instead Big K wants to give a dog a bad name and hang it - Ohaneze is infering ethnic persecution to this terrible incident, therefore Ohaneze should not be taken seriously.

I have read half-truths and ignorant reportings and weak analysis so far. I shall come back to write on Ogwugwu (Ogwugwu-Akpu, Ogwugwu-Isiula and Ogwugwu-Mmiri) and on what led to this.


Ngige and Uba went to Ulasi Okija and not to Ogwugwu-Akpu.

Aug 7, 2004, 07:14 AM
<blockquote><strong><em>Quote:</em></strong><hr>PopGee, Ngige and Uba went to Ulasi Okija and not to Ogwugwu-Akpu.<hr></blockquote>

Popgee follow thm go there too?<img border=0 src="http://www.ezboard.com/images/emoticons/eek.gif" />

Meanwhile, here is the full Ohaneze report. Note the bolded portions and you'll see what I mean. I cant see what's worth arguing about here.

<blockquote><strong><em>Quote:</em></strong><hr>Okija shrine raid aimed at mocking Igbo - Ohaneze

- Abuja may take over investigation

By Chukwudi Achife
Bureau Chief (Enugu)

and Okey Maduforo
Correspondent (Awka)

Pan-Igbo socio-cultural organisation, Ohaneze Ndigbo, has frowned at Wednesday's raid on the famous Okija shrine in Anambra State by the police, describing it as a ploy to mock the Igbo.

Speaking through its Secretary General Joe Achuzie, the group said the raid is both "ridiculous" and "condemnable".

Anambra State Police Commissioner Felix Ogbaudu on Wednesday announced that men of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad of the command raided the Ogwugwu Isuala shrine at Okija leading to the arrest of 32 priests, recovery of 20 human skulls, a corpse and the discovery of over 50 bodies at the shrine.

Even with the objection by Ohaneze, police force headquarters in Abuja plans to send a team of officers to carry out further investigation on the discoveries.

Police Public Relations Officer Kolapo Shofoyinwe said in an interview on Thursday that the command has blown the lead and more inquiry would soon be carried out.

Fear is now the order of the day in Anambra State as those alleged to have exploited the powers of the shrine are said to be jittery over possible police arrest.

However, it is celebration unlimited in Awka and Onitsha as members of the public discuss the turn of events.

The raid on the shrine followed a tip-off earlier in the week after two petitions were channelled through the Inspector General of Police (IGP) Tafa Balogun.

Reacting to the discoveries on Thursday, Achuzie told newsmen that the development ,which to him is "not new in Nigerian tradition", was not worth publicising as it portrays the Igbo as cannibals. He alleged that the police are out to rubbish the Igbo.

Said he: "Unless the police have no other job to do, they can go on making further discoveries on things that are in consonance with ancient history. Everybody in Igboland and Nigeria knows about the existence of shrines everywhere. Go to Hausa, go to Yoruba, go to every part of Nigeria, there exists one shrine and another.

"These things are in the Nigerian tradition. So, unmasking one in Ihiala is not new. These skulls have been there for long ago and I do not see anything new about it except that the police want to portray the Igbo as cannibals. But this is not what the police should be involved in.

"Ohaneze does not thrive in illegality. Our duty is to ensure that all Igbo do that which is right. In doing so, however, we shall not condone any act that will paint a race in bad light. The police in Awka have done one. But they should not go farther than this especially when they are not conversant with the history of a people".

Achuzie, who recalled the history of the Okija shrine, said it has been reputed for justice in the settlement of dispute among people, stressing that never in Igboland has anybody complained that the priests killed or sacrificed human beings unjustly.

He added: "Nobody has said that they kill people there. Those who go there go there to settle their matters. They take oaths and at the end of the day, anyone found guilty is killed by the shrine. But it is obvious that not all cases are taken to this shrine because it is very powerful.

"The human parts and skulls which they discovered are merely those who had sworn at the place and apparently found guilty and were killed not by any human being but the gods. Their bodies are usually brought to the place as sacrifice to the gods".

Achuzie wondered why the discovery should be made an issue especially when nobody has complained about the existence of the shrine, adding that it is another form of the marginalisation of the Igbo in the scheme of things.

"Why should it be the shrine in Okija? Does it mean that there are no such things in other parts of this country? Okija shrine is reputable in Igboland and the whole world is aware of it. I do not think any amount of campaign can destroy that which has been in existence for a long time. I should think the police should watch it and release all those they arrested in the interest of justice and fair play", he said.<hr></blockquote>

Aug 7, 2004, 07:29 AM
It is so glaring how many of us are trying hard to be politically correct on this sickened issue, and it is very easy for us to down play it by saying it is not a new thing like the crazy evil minded Achuzie, because none of our family members is among the dismembered bodies that were found in the EVIL SHRINE.

How can any sane person in this age and time be not horror-struck with this gory story?


Aug 7, 2004, 08:51 AM
PopGee, Ngige and Uba went to Ulasi Okija and not to Ogwugwu-Akpu.

You dont mean there is another one?

Frankly, Achuzia and Ohanaeze's statement is indiffensible no matter how you look at it. I have a bad feeling that a few people with low level envolvement will hang while the big wigs will go scott free!


Aug 7, 2004, 11:16 AM
Ritual Sacrifice or "Spiritual" Murder?
Is there really any difference?

In Okija, The Gods Are To Blame For Killings

Guardian 8/7/04

A new theory was yesterday canvassed for the multiplicity of killer shrines across forests in Anambra State where human skulls and decomposing bodies were discovered by the police in a swoop recently.

Observers noted material and financial gains by the brains behind the oath and death spots. The unusual number of deaths were,however,blamed on the gods by the priests.

Thirty-two people are reportedly assisting the police unravel the motives of killings following their arrests.

Wednesday, August 4 will remain indelible in the history of fetish practices especially in the Okija community, Ihiala Local Government Area of Anambra State.

The state police command had raided a shrine following a tip-off, discovering human parts and skulls that shocked the entire country

But for the tact of the State Police Command, the discovery would have snowballed into a street war, violent protest and rampage by aggrieved residents and families.

What had over the years sounded impossible or inconceivable abomination in the town occurred. 30 ardent priests and worshipers in various Ogwugwu shrines, scattered all over the town of Okija were rounded up, hounded into police detention like ordinary mortals.

It took the alertness and courage of one Obed Igwe a native of the harbouring community, Okija to dismantle the shanty, which over the years housed the youngmen who tend to the needs of the deities and the shrines.

Igwe, had petitioned the Inspector General Tafa Balagun claiming that his life was under intense threat by these Ogwugwu priests. He also alleged that if nothing serious was quickly done, he stood the chance of going the way of many others who had in the past been murdered installmentally by the Ogwugwu people.

The terse details he volunteered, jolted the IG who quickly sent marching orders from Abuja to State Police

Commissioner, Felix Ogbaudu in Awka.

Mr Ogbandu quickly complied as he led the operations, ably assisted by the commander in charge of Special Anti Robbery Squad (SARS) Mr. Gabriel Haruna, a Chief Superintendent of Police, CSP.

Without any form of resistance, or what could be termed a near apathy, from natives of the community, the police team in a long convoy of about 26 vehicles descended on the shrines, one after another. They had a harvest of gory scenes laced with stench of decomposing corpses littered in bushy swamps of thickly over grown forests.

At first everyone apart from the priests and chief priests were dishevelled. Everyone including Mr. Ogbaudu instantly lost composure because both sides of the swampy bush path housed the shrines of the Ogugwu deities.

It was discovered that there were more than 15 shrines of Ogwugwu of various categories, classes and levels of authority, power and control within the deity's mythological dynasty. Many families have evidently inherited the worship as part of the legacies bequeathed to them by their fathers and forefathers.

The apathy shown by the natives, must have been as a result of the negative stories associated with the shrines and their gods, hence their indifference to whatever happened to victims. The same indifference manifested itself when the priests of death were arrested for interrogation.

The water-logged bush paths leading to the main Ogwugwu-Akpu, which appeared to be the main Ogwugwu from which the others derived their names, were littered with human skeletons.

They were lying on both sides, some still recognisable, decomposing along-side the disnitegrating coffins, which apparently must have been there for years.

A cursory look revealed that the sordid scene must have been as old as mankind or the community, which a few natives claimed were handed down to succeeding generations by their forefathers. The sheer number of these corpses representing varying degrees of age groups and sexes in the water logged bush path, waxed a thick smell of evil that exuded eerie and intense physical fear for even a dare devil.

Further observation revealed that the reason why the natives were taciturn and unwilling to offer information on the horror shrines had to do with an age, old myth associated with the powerful Ogwugwu deities from pre-historic times. The myth says anyone who dared give out a negative information or tries to ridicule through a joke regarding the deity or its arch-deities, would die instantly with serial malevolence struck on the surviving members of his family.

Going by the poor level of education, exposure to western culture and the teachings of Christianity on the evils of heathen worship, the fear of Ogwugwu was certainly the beginning of wisdom. So the rule is the wisdom of the Chinese monkey, which hears no evil, says no evil, sees no evil, smells no evil and feels no evil.

Another factor is that if you are not interested in accessing the help of the deity, please stay out of his territory.

According to the Police Public Relations Officer, PPRO Kolapo Shofoluwe it was rather shocking to see the residents express their aloofness on the police raid an event that was the first of its kind in the village. He added: "I can safely conclude that they were happy that the police finally came to dislodge the evil doers." In contrast, the people met along the way while going and returning from the gory shrines, showed neither joyful exuberance nor an absence of it. They were visibly unperturbed about what appeared in recent time to be the mother of all discoveries in ritual sacrifice.

The general atmosphere was calm, even with houses-mansions and those still at various stages of completion surrounding the evil forest. The completed houses were even inhabited by families and were said to be owned by the priests of the deities.

On the first day, the police was able to visit about six shrines while nine more were to be visited yesterday- Friday. As at the time of filing this report, the team,which The Guardian learnt was reinforced by a special crack squad from force headquarters Abuja, which came to complement the efforts of the local police, were still at Okija.

The mop-up team was again led by the SARS (Special Anti-Robbery Squad) commander, Gabriel Haruna. Some of the houses shared fence with the shrines, which made the investigation easy as it allowed the crack squad to spend much longer time doing its interrogation.

The priests were reputed to encourage clients no matter how complicated the cases may have been. The houses, were discovered to have contained frw male priests on the day of the operations as they must have got wind of the raid and ran away.

The other shrines visited apart from Ogwugwu Akpu and Ogwugwu Isiala strikingly did not bear the mark of littering corpses but were decorated with many human skulls.

Any reasonable and mature mind could quickly have discerned that the entire scene must have been an inheritance from an ancient myth, perpetuated with tricks and smart lies conceived by the few who used the art to instil fear in people and earn sizeable incomes for themselves and their families. Because in the words of the chief priest, every member of the sanctum lived in opulence, mansions, drove flashy cars, and owned choice properties in heavenly locations all over the federation. They have their families living outside the state, with their children in top rated private schools.

In the shrines of these other sites, leopard skins and hides were conspicuously displayed side by side with the human skulls, to create fear and to cow the non-initiates into submitting to the gibberish attestations of power. Also in large supply were assorted charms, which many also suspected could be fake and make belief. People however, before now were ready to believe these things until the police de-mystified them last Wednesday.

Before now, no one ever spoke evil of these gods, or ever entered the shrines in shoes, sandals or slippers. Last Wednesday, these ill fated shrines received hosted hundreds of pairs of shoes and are likely to continue receiving more visitors for a long time to come.

At Akpu shrine, the 95 years old plus chief priest was left behind because of age, when police visited. But he made useful statements. The oldest man of the community was also reputed to all the chief administrator of oaths to accused persons. The man said that all the corpses were those killed by the diety and that he always spelt out the consequences to any visitor. He emphasised that returning the corpse was also the instruction of the oracle, which must be followed for everyone to sees the dire consequence of instant death for every family member. When the family of any deceased brings the corpse, it must be accompanied by a cow, goat, rams, @#%$ and reasonable amount of cash running into thousands of naira, to use in appeasing the gods.

Also to be brought was the entire property of the deceased, including cars, household items and wearing apparels. Another priest of a higher status had the sole responsibility of executing this strange will with the assistance of other priests. Little wonder they all live big and some other families in the town now come up with their own shrines called by any name so desired.

Thus the Ogwugwu shrine has become the off shoot of similar shrines in the town, all with one aim- to mint money from unfortunate victims.

What do the enlightened citizens of the town and the state make out of this horrible discovery

Venerable (rtd) Alexander Oguchi who is an indigene of Okija who spoke during the funeral of one of his sisters charged Okija natives especially the youths to denounce and ignore the deity because it did not have the powers falsely ascribed to it by the elders.
According to the Christian priest, few crooks and criminals in the town hide under the cloak of Ogwugwu to milk others of their hard-earned cash. He described them as 419 businessmen who run the so-called shrines as business centres. He told the crowd that it was very unfortunate that when God Almighty has been delivering sinners and carrying out wonderful works in the lives of some baptised Christians, many others connive with known criminals to enrich themselves through dirty and fraudulent means, noting that the whole thing was a cult organised by a cabal of low men. He wondered aloud why they have not succeeded in exporting same to other zones of the country but have apparently held the Onitsha main market traders hostage.

It was said that no trader has trust in another in the State. It was even worse when you owe anyone and defaulted in your payment schedule. The next move by your aggrieved creditor would be to send a letter from the shine - atimes from more than one shrine inviting you to the shrine.

He would be made to appear before the rough looking gluttons called priests and high priests, whose sole interest was financial. To them dead men and their blood were part of their official daily engagement. They even go into the society, and at functions, scoop information and work out ways of instigating the parties to the dispute to come to one of the Ogwugwu shrines.

The state chairman of the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria, (PFN) Anambra State Chapter Bishop Ephraim Ndife however saw the discovery and bursting of the cabals' evil business as " a divine intervention". He stated that before now, "men of God had condemned idol worshipping, not once, not twice, in open air crusades, in village squares and in churches." He noted that these crusades were geared towards re-engineering the authority of Jesus Christ in the affairs of men and saw the Okija affairs as a form of cultism involving ritual murders and things of that nature.

Apart from the bishop, many people who volunteered information craving anonymity admitted that the activities and deceit of these cults had been sustained because some very powerful and influential men in the country gave them cover.

The Archdeacon of St. Peter's Church Abagana, Venerable Jonah Ajakor said the shrines and their priests will die off when the foolish ones who patronize them are eliminated

He also called on the so-called priests of the shrines to stop deceiving people, but to embrace just living and take up a trade. According to Rev. Oguchi, "shrines do not kill, but human beings and those self appointed priests of evil do the killing. They are the ones who poison who they want to exterminate between the parties in any issue. Two prominent reasons necessitates this- either they have been paid to have the person eliminated, or that they loathe the wealth of a potential victim and covet after such wealth.

The shrine was also said to have gulped more than N86 million from the widow of a popular erstwhile Mafoluku (Oshodi) Lagos -based business man who hails from a neighbouring town to Okija and who died few years ago in an auto crash while travelling home for Christmas celebration. The priest according to Obed Igwe who blew the whistle on them, were up till this moment still heckling the over harassed widow, asking her to pay up a balance of N16m or wait to see catastrophe befall her and the children left behind by the husband.

Ndife appealed to the police to do a thorough job and keep the tempo which the revelation brought. According to him, someone has to make the noise that would make or initiate the move, which is what we are witnessing today. Such a horrifying discovery is now made. "We just wish that in the state should be investigated. He pointed out that the Bible in Psalm 115 made clear the fate of idol worshippers- "that those that worship idols will be like it," noting that such people have eyes but cannot see, hands but cannot touch or handle, just like the idols.

However, the special adviser to the State Governor on media and publicity, Fred Chukwulobe said the government was anxiously waiting on the out come of the police investigation before knowing the appropriate action to take.

Earlier, during press briefing, Police Commissioner Felix Ogbaudu pointed out that the state government may take over the shrine site and while giving the corpses and skulls mass burial.

Aug 7, 2004, 12:48 PM
Raids on Okija shrines: How police uncovered the unholy acts

By Anayo Okoli, Awka
Saturday, August 07, 2004

THE Anambra Police Command has disclosed how it uncovered the shrines where human skulls and fresh corpses were uncovered during the week.

In the same vein, the police authorities have vowed to continue its raids on Okija and other areas in Ihiala Council of the state where the shocking discoveries were made.

Also, indigenes of the area believed to have anything to do with the shrines have been fleeing from the town for fear of being arrested.
Okija community, no doubt, is a popular name in Igboland, especially when you talk of shrines and deities. It also conjures fear as the shrines are said to be really lethally powerful. It is, therefore, common place to hear people in dispute taking their disagreements to Okija shrines, particularly Ogwugwu Isiala and Ogwugwu Akpu for settlement.

Many politicians and wealthy businessmen are said to patronise these shrines for protection. Stories have been told of how powerful the Okija shrines are, and how they had killed the high and mighty. To some people, the stories were mere fabrications while for the families who had fallen victim, the stories were real.

For Anambra people and Nigerians in general, the stories they heard about Okija shrines were mere fairy tales until Wednesday, August 4, 2004, when the Anambra State Police Command, through its Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) led by chief superintendent of police (CSP), Gabriel Haruna marched a team of about 75 SARS men to storm the shrines where shocking revelations were made.

The police action was prompted by a petition to the Inspector-General of Police by an Okija indigene who said that his life was being threatened by some priests of some of the shrines. Incidently, the issue of Okija killings came up at the usual Monday Police High Command meeting, where the letter of complaint from the Okija citizen was tabled and discussed.

The letter was said to have been written by a businessmen who told newsmen at the state police command Wednesday that he had to take oath with some priests of the shrine to be able to penetrate them and get information about their operations. The businessman (names withheld) who said he is from Umuhu Okija maintained his allegation that those human beings deposited at the shrines and the skulls discovered there were killed by the shrines' servants.

He said that they kill people through a system they call "isusu", whereby they write somebody's name in a sheet of paper and mix it with gunpowder. He also alleged that they plan or set-up accidents for their victims which usually came to pass. According to the police informant, they have agents in some towns like Aguleri and Odekpe. He said that they live expensive lives, a fact that was corroborated by the SARS commander, Haruna.

Based on the complaint and the discussion in the police meeting, the Anambra State Police Commissioner, Mr Felix Ogbaudu ordered the SARS commander to proceed to Okija to investigate and raid the place. With the order on his hands, Haruna took his men of about 75 SARS operatives without telling them what their mission was. Until they got to Okija, they did not know where they were heading to.

At Okija, the police squad was led by the complainant who by virtue of being an indigene and having sworn by an oath to keep their secret, had been able to know much of the operations of the shrines and the priests. The first raid was on Tuesday, August 3, 2004. Their first port of call was Ogwugwu Isiula shrine. "There, we saw dead bodies littering all over, some fresh, some decomposed.

At the entrance of these shrines, you see human corpses littered left and right. This is to scare people away. The moment you notice dead bodies littered, you become afraid, but I saw it as a 419 set-up, because once you come and see the dead bodies, you freeze and become afraid, but we picked up courage. I encouraged my men and we moved inside where the houses were located.

"These people live in mansions. The shrines where the bodies are displayed are located outside their compounds. When we got to Ogwugwu Akpu, it was hell. There, we recorded 17 human skulls and over 35 decomposed bodies. The two, Ogwugwu Isiula and Ogwugwu Akpu, probably gave birth to other shrines. Others are the off-shoots of the two dreaded shrines.

We arrested 17 workers of Ogwugwu Akpu and 13 workers of Ogwugwu Isiula", Haruna who showed a rare courage said.
Other names of shrines in Okija believed to be engaged in the heinous activities include Ogwugwu Mmili, Apunama, Akaya Afa, Ajana-Ohobo, Ahaobuo Umugum, Ihenemenle, Ogwugwu Idigo and Ogwugwu Idimgo.

The chief priests, according to police information, live in the villages while the dead bodies are displayed inside the shrines. It is a well organised set-up with a secretary who writes letters to invite people whose cases were brought to the shrine for settlement. Again, the shrines, at least Ogwugwu Isiula is registered with Corporate Affairs Commission as a cultural body with the registration number 15, 018.

Elders and members of the villages where the shrines are located are said to be members of the shrine. The secretary of Ogwugwu Isiula, Mr. Anthony Okwuosa is already in police detention. His duty is to prepare letters of invitation to people whose cases are brought to the shrine. He takes instructions from the chief priest and elders of the village. The shrines, according to confessions of a key suspect, are used to settle land disputes, business deals in tussle and other disputes.

The police were informed that they are not paid. Rather they survive through gifts. The idea of whether they ate human beings was out of the question for that never happened. Rather, they claim to eat the goats and fowls brought by those who come to report cases. They pour the blood of the animals on the shrines and share the fresh meat, some take their share home to prepare as they wish.

But it was still unclear how these shrine workers make a lot of money with which they build mansions. Even Osita Ndukwu who was arrested and paraded on Wednesday, by his look, is believed to be a wealthy man. He claimed to have been a patent medicine dealer before he started serving the shrine.

His younger brother who is on the run, Mr. Cornelius "Okoga" Ndukwu, a former member of the dreaded Bakassi Boys has a very big mansion too. Police is working on the theory that he may still be in the possession of the pump action gun he used as a Bakassi Boys member.
It is clear that police do not intend to stop. CSP Haruna has promised that the raids will continue until the Anambra Police Command "smashes the entire evil groups and bring the

Aug 7, 2004, 02:38 PM
Big K,

Make u no start wrestlemania with me and PopGee o! I have edited my post. Sometimes it is difficult typing with these small laptop keys.

I have read your highlighted statements and I am still convinced that Achuzia did not infer ethnic persecution. I wrote earlier that I disagreed with some of the things Achuzie said, but that he raised some fundamental issues worth discussing. Some of the things I agree with include the statements:

"These things are in the Nigerian tradition. So, unmasking one in Ihiala is not new. These skulls have been there for long ago..."

Some of the skulls have been there for let me say, 300 years.

"...they are not conversant with the history of a people"

Of course I do not agree with him saying that the raid was unecessary or aimed at mocking and some other things he said. The raid was necessary but the statements by the police and reports by the media are bereft of the history of these shrines and on why the raid came about. The reports erroneously portrays Ogwugwu as a ritual site where kidnappers murder their victims. I shall try, before the end of the day, to tell us what I have heard or seen. Was some shady stuff going there? Yes. I have to run some errands for now.

Aug 7, 2004, 07:00 PM
I hope the bufoon of a president we have does not settle this as a pdp family affair. but that might be too much to ask judging be the potential high powered people that coult be involved.

Aug 7, 2004, 10:09 PM
The article posted by Zayol titled "Raids on Okija shrines: How police uncovered the unholy acts" and written by By Anayo Okoli, Awka (Saturday, August 07, 2004) did a good reporting. I did not see that before my last post but I will try to add some more.

Before I start I want to say that I respect people who think that they can get justice at Ogwugwu. Ogwugwu is part of their traditional belief. I am a Christian but I don't believe in burning down or destroying shrines just because we think they are unchristian. God has given us the ability to make a choice. He does not force us to serve him. However, any shrine that deprives people of their fundamental human right should be dealt with. If priests at the shrines in Okija are found to be engaging in any form of ritual killings or decapitation of dead boodies, they should face justice.

I shall try to establish that the shrines have history, people believed that it worked for them especially the older men, that they were not built on rituals and murder. Anything that is remotey connected to murder and rituals started recently from the younger generation.

There are three known Ogwugwu shrines in Okija and they are Ogwugwu-Mmiri, Ogwugwu-Akpu and the lesser known Ogwugwu-Isiula. The first one is faraway from the last two. They are in different villages. Isiula is in Umuhu village, Akpu in Ubahu-Ezike while Ogwugwu-Mmiri is in Umuohi. Police raided the last two since they are close together; Umuhu village and Ubahu-Ezike village are neighbours.

I am from Okija though I was born and raised in Onitsha (Nigeria factor). Okija is about 30 minutes from Onitsha. We visited home frequently and every Christmas when I lived in Nigeria and we heard tales of Ogwugwu-Akpu and Ogwugwu-Mmiri. One thing that is common to all the Ogwugwu shrines is that when somebody is assumed to be a victim of a particular Ogwugwu, the dead body is to be taken to that particular Ogwugwu shrine with the dead person's properties. I don't know what they mean by properties but I heard about people killed by Ogwugwu but their houses were not taken there.

Adults told us that when two parties involved in a dispute go to any of the Ogwugwu shrines they are told of the consequences of making false representation or lies. They have to decide to go ahead with the process. The consequency is death and it could be by sickness, accident, sudden death or any death at all. One incident I remember vividly, I was in the village where Ogwugwu-Mmiri resides with some friends. I was still a teenager and I believe in JS1. We were going to a stream to swim and I was perplexed when I saw a bed (mattress and frame) with some household belongings by a small forest on the way to the stream. Looking further I saw a coffin. Vultures clustered together. The sight of the vultures scared me more than the coffin. My friends told me that the man inside, from another town, was killed by Ogwugwu-Mmiri. I asked questions and was told that the man died in a motorcycle accident, that he went to Ogwugwu-Mmiri to swear less than a month before. That was my closest encounter.

I used to ask the grey-haired a lot of questions. The general belief I got from them was that the Ogwugwus were effective and that they never took bribe and they were used as the last resort, they protected the less priviledged and the honest. I also learnt that someone could make a petition against someone else by going to the Ogwugwu priest. The priest would send emissary to the other party with information about the petition. The defendant has two opions; either pay/promise to pay in case of a debt issue or make his/her own case on the issue. Ogwugwu could kill the defendant or the petitioner, whoever lied. That was what "happened" to Ezego whose wife was mentioned in the article - "... the husband of the from the widow of a popular erstwhile Mafoluku (Oshodi) Lagos -based business man who hails from a neighbouring town ..."

The guy who "filed the petition" against Ezego lives in the US now. I know for sure that Ezego, a 419ner owed the guy a lot of money and refused to pay after many entreaties. According to the story Ezego was traveling to Ihiala for Christmas. Among his convoy were two Lexus jeeps. At Ozubulu his most recent Lexus he was in broke down. No tow truck company to call. Ezego was said to be determined in riding in the jeep because a prophet told him that was only way to guarantee his safety on that treacherous road. So, using a rope the good jeep towed the broke jeep. That was at the height of gully devastation of Onitsha-Owerri Road. The broke jeep slid, the anchor broke and the jeep was in the gullies. Ezego sustained some trauma to the head. He was taken to a hospital in Ihiala and all efforts to fly him abroad failed because they couldn't locate someone with enough balance on a plastic (credit card) so that the medical evac flight could leave US. He died few days later. He was buried, and in the night exhumed and taken to Ogwugwu-Akpu. The story said that one of the priest came to his house before his death and incarceration by Abacha to inform him of the petition but the priest was chased away on Ezego's order. Any truth to the story that he was killed by Ogwugwu? I don't know but his body was found there.

So, these Ogwugwus have been there for years and it is possible that more skeletal remains could be unearthed from the forests that house the shrines.

Now to what eventually led to August 4, 2004. I am not blaming it on Nigeria economy but since our economy started going south, Nigerians devised means to cheat, steal and make money. It is not news that our traditional institution has fallen for the highest bidder - anything goes now. I think Bola Ige eloquently stated that out traditional institution danced to AGIP - Any Govt In Power.

The guys who are connected to the shrines I mentioned found out that they could make money with the shrines. What they did was to open up embassies and offices outside Okija for the Shrines. Most of the offices were in Lagos, Onitsha and Aba. They go to people having disputes and tell them that they could get justice for them through Ogwugwu at a price. These people paid. They even have special Okada riders at Okija junction that took patrons to the shrine. Not every Okada rider was permitted. They would go to Oga and tell him that they could get the money back from the boy-boy or the apprentice that ran away with the Oga's money. Oga pays some commission, they get the 1 million from the apprentice, they go back to Oga and demand more money for one sacrifice or the other. They go back to boy-boy and demand money for protection for tampering with Oga's money. They milked both parties. Any kind of dispute, they waded in.

They didn't stop at that. They became executioners for the gods. They inform a defendant about a petition, Ogwugwu non-believer might tell them to go to hell or someone with no money would tell them that they didn't have money to pay. The priests arranged and have the defendant killed by assasins to make it look like the gods of the shrines were working. They tell the deceased family that the victim was killed by Ogwugwu and must be brought before Ogwugwu with the properties. They take the properties, they take fees from the victims families for sacrifices to protect them from the curse the deseased brought on them, they possibly sell the organs for rituals.

I told stories I hear and said one or two things I saw. I tried to analyze the situation with that. I can take some questions but I want us to know that the bigger picture is the failure of Nigerian state to protect its citizens. It is sad that people who went to the shrines never believed that they could get justice from the judiciary system. The incident tells how inept our police force and security system are. It shows us that jungle justice is the order of the day in Nigeria. Shrines are not only in or peculiar to Okija; they are everwhere in Nigeria. There is a festival in Warri called Efuru during which people are kidnapped and sacrificed. The victim is tied up and seen by many before sacrifice. It was not a discussion recently when we were told that heads were being hunted for the burial rites of Oba of Lagos. From Okija to Warri to Ijebu to Ijesha to Ibadan to Ogoja people are killed in like manner.

Aug 8, 2004, 05:51 AM
Interesting. I didn't know that Efunshetan the Iyalode of Ibadan was Egba by birth(?). Anyway, that is besides the point. What I meant to convey was that traditional African societies did have its checks on evil practices and were not bastions of beastality. Sometimes powerful people tried to circumvent these checks;-this was always perilious.Bashorun Gaha suceeded for a while but remember that , eventually nemesis caught up with him. As far as I know, the ordinary or common people were not as a rule wantonly trampled upon by their rulers.
Can the same be said of Nigeria of today? It may be quite true that the degree of corruption we see in modern day society was not tolerated in traditional Nigerian societies.

Nevertheless, there were glaring imperfections in our traditional cultures. For one thing, it overelied on secrecy,superstition and fear, had few leanings towards openess and emperical science. We should correct this.
Everyone of us should condem this animalistic behaviour of the so called priests but we should never, ever use this as an excuse for ethnic/racial/religious superiority.Lets leave that to the BBC.

On another note, though I have a problem with die hard Afrocentrist who believe Africa/Africans can do no wrong ad who use the tragedy of the past to excuse the excesses of the present,I have more problems with those who think that historically, Africans were a bunch of half naked, blood letting heathen savages,whose souls had to be redeemed by the benevolence of the European/Arabs through the introduction of Xtianity or Islam.

Yesterday, I watched a newscast on CTV about the trial of the cannibal of Rotenburg in Germany.Suddenly, the newscast switched from the German cannibal to images of half-Naked tribesmen from Papau New Guinea.The not so subtle message was clear.This Euro-egocentric brand of foolishness is appropriate on BBC/CNN but not befitting of any reasonable African who should know better.

Left to BBC/CNN and the western press, we would believe that Africans did not eat food before the Europeans came to free us with Xtianity, the World bank and IMF.

Unfortunately, Africa and Africans has been so thoroughly damaged that unbelievably as it may sound, many of us actually believe this tripe.Pity.

How is it that we never had a situation of hundreds of thousands of starving Africans dying of AIDs untill recently?

I've often wondered how different the course of African history would have been if the Yorubas/Africans had put aside their petty differences and instead concentrated more on resisting European/Arab influences.

In all probability,Colonialism/Slavery would still have occurred but the effects would have been mitigated and it would not have been so devastating. Africa would most likely been able to shake off the effects much like Asia.

Not withstanding the effects of the slave trade/colonialism, the buck stops with us. We must take responsibility for what is wrong with us ;- and what is right too.

From an agnostic point of view, which understandably will be rejected by the religionist,Xtianity/Islam/African traditional religions are neither bad or good.Their practice and intepretation will depend on the practitioners and the prevailing circumstances.

Regardless of what some Xtians think,depending on the circumstances and practitioner,very explicit Bible commandments that clearly say "do not kill" will be ignored and overlooked in favour of other commandments that sanction or appear to sanction killings.

Regardless of what anyone thinks, relegion/Culture changes with time

The failing (or lack of) is not with the religion.It is in the human.

I Love Nigeria
Aug 8, 2004, 07:06 AM
I am an atheist? Afrocentrist? Animist or skeptical Christisn?

Or it does not even matter? OK,.....

This Catholic, retired or currently on sabbatical, insists on holding all
religions, in equal contempt! Let us have a female of African descent as successor to the current Pope.

After all, there are more Christians in Anambra State in Nigeria, than all of Poland!

All religions, appear to me, to be instruments of pretensious social engineering.

Aug 8, 2004, 11:19 AM
Hold on a sec....

I am suprised at all the talk here.

Let me take an inventory of the facts.

1. Bodies were found at a shrine - FACT.
2. Skulls were found at a shrine - FACT.

Is any of this against the LAW?

I am suprised at the deep level of animosity many here harbor towards African culture!

Look - to get me to balk at the happenings at Okija shrine; you have to convince me that the Bodies found are the Bodies of the Victims of MURDER.


The people who criticise the Okija shrine incident seem of course to have no problem with Americans who store Cadavers in rooms for years and years. Oh! These Americans tell us that the bodies are for use in Research - that may be so - but what is Inherently worng about burying bodies and skulls underneath a shrine?

What is inherently wrong with that?

Egyptians mummified their dead, as did many other African populations - The Romans had a habit of tying Dead Men to convicted Murderers as punishment; The Isrealites kept their bodies in Tombs that were above the ground, Today in the Vatican are likely the skeletons and skulls of previous Popes,
So what is this all about?

May I suggest -

1. That there is nothing inherently wrong with my keeping bodies and skulls in my house - except of course Hygeinic scrupulousness.

2. There is nothing wrong with decorating my house entirely with skeletons - if I so wish - provided that the Laws of the Land do not prohibit this.

3. If these skeletons etc can be shown not to have resulted from MURDER - which is of course what is prohibited by the State - then whose Business is that?

Imagine - Here you have the Americanists - who claim to believe in Privacy, Freedom and Individualism - and they cannot carry out this simple logical extrapolation!

The question is not - Do I have Bodies in My shrine (providing of course that the Law doesnt forbid that) -

The question is - Did I kill Anybody?

Our condemnation should not be of the religious practices of some - but of Harm and Injury done to others! If cannot prove that Harm and I jury was done - we should shut up! Or reserve our comments for when we can prove that Harm and Injury actually occassioned the death of the Bodies under consideration.

As to Ngige being taken to a shrine to swear -

Here is where I find the hypocrisy of the Americanists interesting.

Here you have a country - whose President is a CULT MEMBER - Whose Two candidates for reelection are BOTH CULT MEMBERS - Who participated in Skull and Bones initiation ceremonies that included Human Crania, Coffins and Public Masturbation;

Here you have a country - The United States of America - in which the Patriach of a Major Political Dynasty (The Bushes) routinely raided the tombs of Native Americans for Ritual Purposes and as we now know - Prescott Bush is accused of stealing the remains of Geronimo -

Here you have a country - The United States of America - founded by Masonites, Scottish Masons, People with connections to the Illuminati etc - and other suspicious characters -

And someone has the nerve to call a judgment on African culture!

Not only is the ignorance appaling - the logic is befuddling!

There is nothing wrong with Ngige going to swear at a shrine; provided he did no one harm in the process;
There is nothing wrong with having bodies and skulls in a shrine, provided they were not acquired through MURDER -

All in all; Reason dictates that what must be condemned is not what some term "the subhuman practices of others" - and speaking of subuman practices, the necrophagy of Europeans comes to mind - What we must always strive to prove and condemn is that HARM and INJURY was done to others.

Until we can prove that; we must reserve our comments.

But then, I suppose that some are always on the lookout to hurl missiles at African culture at whatever opportunity. It is not a new hobby. I only wonder if these same "Lovers of Freedom, Justice and Liberty" would allow themselves (or their children) to be initiated into Yales Skull and Bones where they would be required to masturbate inside a Coffin and confess their deepest and darkest secrets to a gang of decadents?

Aug 8, 2004, 11:38 AM
So here you have a statement from the Priest in the Guardian.
"Not Muder" He says. This should be investigated. If proven to be correct; all arrested persons must be release.
The raison d'etre behind this whole brouhaha is that some Africans seek to justify themselves by Opposition.

That is to say; Pointing to other Africans and saying "I am not like that" or "I dont do such" or "I dont think like that". The aim is always to achieve a likeness that is like the "Other"

The ignorance behind this is that these Self Oppossing Africans dont know what the "Other" is really like.

If Murder is not involved, the events at Okija shrine are legitimate religious practices. Yes, Arusi might be invoked to "Kill One Party" - but anyone who has heard the strike 'em dead prayers of American Xtians - especially with regards to Gays and Abortionists - will of course put the events in proper context.
Not to mention the "All My Enemies Fall Down and Die" prayers of the Mountain of Fire and Miracles gang.

Like all religious endeavours, I do not doubt that this whole thing was crooked in many ways than one.

But when you have Xtians lining up the roads of Lagos with Churches, urging people to sow their seed in a bid to dispossess them; when you have Pastors riding cars with ZOE1, ZOE2 and ZOE3 as license plates - while single out the Okijians as criminals - especially in light of the fact that they have not committed an (as yet) proveable offense against the Laws of the Land!

I just dont understand some people! They will do anything to be white! Just about anything!

************************************************** ****************
From Sunday Guardian

Origin Of Okija's Corpses, By Priest

OSITA Ndukwu, an adherent of the Okija shrine in Anambra State, where the police, last week discovered about 50 decomposing corpses and rotten skulls, has alleged that the natives of Okija personally deposited the corpses of their dead ones in the forest.

Ndukwu, who described himself as a native doctor and an occultist, also refuted the allegation that the priests and adherents of the shrine killed people for ritual purposes.

According to him, the activities in the shrine were practically age-old tradition, maintaining that the shrine was part of the community's ancient institutions, which perform such functions as checking misdeeds, cheating and greed in the society.

The "myths" surrounding the "Ogwugwu Isiala shrine," a.k.a. Arusi Okija, was unmasked on Wednesday, when its high priests, and adherents were without resistance, picked up by the Anambra State police command.

Okija, a sprawling settlement on the Owerri-Onitsha road in Ihiala local council of Anambra State, is the home of the deity regarded as the "custodian of life and death of its patrons."

Among the Igbo, it is the belief that the "god" in the shrine has the strange power of identifying a robber, recalling a suspect who had absconded to an unknown destination, adjudicating a case and proclaiming the guilty person, as well as detecting where stolen items are hidden among other functions.

The Arusi is also acclaimed to possess the powers to harm, maim or kill anybody it finds guilty in any dispute or any person who contravenes the laws of the deity. Its alleged potential powers include consuming the flesh and property of some rich and influential but erring individuals in Igbo society.

However, to Anambra State Commissioner of Police, Mr. Felix Ogbaudu, who led the operation that eventually cracked the shrine, Ndukwu's statement was deceitful of the activities in the shrine.

He ruled that the shrine's activities "are an age-old cult syndicated by crooks to dispossess people of their money and property."

Also, one Okwuorji Eze, a native of Okija, revealed that the priests and their agents used the shrine as an opportunity to make money. According to him, once there is a victim, the high priest of Ogwugwu would request that the corpse be deposited in the evil forest.

Said Eze: "As an alternative, agents of the shrine come to forcefully remove the corpse, because anybody killed by the Arusi does not have the right of befitting burial. And the game of naira spinning from such a family begins.

"The priest next demands that whatever property that belongs to the deceased man or woman be surrendered and deposited at the forest.

"Then to appease the deity, they also demand cash varying from between N100,000 to several millions of naria."

But narrating how the shrine operated, Ndukwu revealed that its patrons included "quarrelling persons, short-changed business partners, or an accused person for crimes such as murder, adultery, poisoning, who usually come to lodge complaint, which we later investigated."

He also said that the shrine's operation included administration of oath on both the complainant and the accused, giving them some days or weeks of grace before any result.

He said the outcome could be positive, in which case, the innocent survives and lives to pay further homage to Arusi. But for the negative result, the guilty dies in the process.

The question on the lips of some visibly shaken members of the public, who had trooped to the Police Command Headquarters, Awka to have glimpse of the "horrible treasures" recovered from the Arusi shrine, was if it was possible that the gods were asleep at the time of the raid.

It was indeed, nerve-breaking as Ogbaudu recalled the horrifying scene at the "evil forest," littered with human skeletons, skulls, headless bodies, corpses in coffins carelessly abandoned all over the place.

Faced with the horrid pictures, Ogbaudu declared: "I shed tears. It is all extremely gory sight. I never believed such a thing could happen in this century in Nigeria. I saw many corpses at various stages of decomposition; human skulls, some of the corpses were not decomposing, but shrinking with their skins gummed to the skeleton."

In preparation for war with the "spirit" and their agents, Ogbaudu, assisted by the Commander of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS), Mr. Gabriel Haruna (CSP), mustered a convoy of 10 vehicles, over 100 armed mobile police men, regulars and detectives, to invade the oracle, the abode of criminals and ritualists.

The shocking discoveries from the raid included the arrest of 30 suspects, 20 human skulls both fresh and old, 10 registers of the dead and one embalmed corpse, "only as samples of items found in the evil forest."

Still bewildered, Ogbaudu queried what the suspects were doing with a very large number of dead bodies; and the identities of the corpses.

From what he saw, the Anambra police boss said he could not give a figure of the total corpses, as the thick forest harbouring the Ogwugwu Isiala shrine covered a very large expanse of land.

He gave a graphic description on how the agents of the shrine, scattered across the East and Lagos, performed such dastardly acts. He said, "To make one guilty, these agents carry some poisoned concoction, which they carefully smeared on the "suspected guilty person."

"From both parties in dispute, they could assume the one guilty (who must be the wealthiest of the two or groups) and within a shot period of time, such person dies."

The Police Commissioner said they could smear one's vehicle to induce an accident or drop the poison on the car door, believing that the owner in his attempt to open his car unknowingly touch the substance, which can cause death.

"They have the power to do anything to the public just because they have put fears into people," he said.

On how the bubble was burst, Ogbaudu explained that his command received orders to investigate an incident in which an informant petitioned the Inspector General of Police, alleging threat to his life.

"On Monday, this week (last week), two gentlemen came with a letter from the office of AG, complaining of threat to their lives and some ritual killing in the area."

He said after hearing their stories, his command dispatched policemen to fish out the shrine and its worshipers, pointing out that the exercise was a success.

Sixty-five-year-old Okeugo Ubochi agreed that "Ogwugwu shrine" could have been invented due to the excesses of the community and to sanctify the norms and customs of the people, but without economic gains attached.

"Today, our society's greedy, chasing money about and it is not surprising that some tricks have been injected to pollute the deity," which, according to him, was worshipped and respected by their forefather."

But believers in the sanctity of the deity, still argue that Ogwugwu "will fight back" since it will not allow itself to be desecrated and humiliated by gun-totting "strangers."

Mrs Nwonyi Uko, who sad she is married in a village at Ihiala, dismissed the police exploits as "an arrangee business," arguing that the skulls and corpses might have been brought from somewhere just to discredit the culture.

The woman strongly believes that Arusi Okia "is very powerful and kills the guilty, a criminal," concluding that "it is the last resort for the oppressed, the widowed and the cheated for instant justice."

Aug 8, 2004, 11:39 AM
Now, Look Here Villagers.

Look at this fellow they call Abati. The roots of colomentalism have been running deep in this fellows mind for a long time now.
He has written a piece on the Okija shrine - and I will pull out a few line from it from my own amusement and comment on them.

The entire piece is below:

1. A Den of Cannibals - Here is where the entire setup is revealed. I do not remember reading in any of the posts that Priests was discovered at this shrine eating Human flesh. Yet Abati has made the extrapolation that these people were Cannibals! Why? I will tell you why. The ultimate image of the depraved African is that of the Cannibal. To invoke the worst stereotypes about the continent - one only has to invoke the context of Cannibalism. Abati invokes this concept as a knee jerk reaction simply because he has internalized the historical stereotypes of the continent as developed by Europeans. Period.
But again - let us assume that these persons were indeed Cannibals. This raises an entirely new set of questions which I will address in a subsequent post.

2. Yes, Abati goes into a paragraph in which he details the workings of the shrines and queries "This is the culture that Achuzie is defending" - Of course it is! What other culture will he defend?
Tell me - what is inherently evil and immoral in the idea that some people refuse to bury their dead and choose to leave them above ground? Apart from Hygeinic concerns - what is inherently immoral about that?

That is to say - what is inherently moral about the entire set of proceedings and rituals that westerners go through in the name of Funerals?

"Honour for the dead" some say.
Screw that!
What if we believe - like the Preacher of Ecclesiastes - That the Dead have no honour - their breath is gone from them - That Man and Dog are both alike in Death? That there is no memory of the Dead etc?

Tell me - what is inherently less civilized or moral in that view of approaching the dead when compared to the silliness of many of Todays funeral ceremonies?

NOTE - There are no instructions in scripture given by Jesus, or the Apostles to the Believers as to how to conduct Funeral services. Indeed, Neither Jesus nor the Apostles are on record as ever having attended a Funeral service!

3. Now Abati goes on to call the collection at the Shrine Satanic! Now isnt this laughable! I wonder how Abati measures his own Satanism. He rails against Adeboye and Olukoya on the L-IB Express Road (a clear case of "touching my anointed" and Satanism of the Highest Order) and he rails against Oyakhilome and Joshua. Is he an Atheist or a Rosicrucian? No matter. He is an expert on Satanism!

4. Abati invokes "Modern Times" - An entirely ludicrous concept and "Rule of Law". Yes of course, we are living in Modern Times, and these times are so Modern that Africans - Abati included, continue to suffocate themselves with European Ties like their Colomental ancestors. And the rule of Law is so heavily in place that we continue in the same illegal structure called Nigeria created by the British in a fit of Madness! How Modern and Lawful we are indeed.

5. Next - Abati does this thing on Jungle justice. He rails on about how it is inappropriate that such and such can administer justice outside the courts. Foolish Man!
What about all the people that Xtians claim to have killed through their prayers?
And can Abati actually prove that Arusi killed these people?
If he can - I would like to see Arusi in court!

6. Next, Abati invokes the constitution; the only smart move in this OpEd. Yes, the constitution does criminalize the possession of Fetish objects, unlawful trials, the Use of Voodoo etc - all factors that are clearly unproven in this case -especially if and when, the Freedom of Religion and Association also guaranteed by the constitution is invoked.

7. Next Abati cringes "The reaction of the International community can only be imagined" - Shio! And this is what passes for an Intellectual OpED in the Guardian? Nonsense!
Images of Skulls reminding us of Rwanda? I am continually amazed by how much stock Nigerian Journalists place in the "Reaction of the International Community"
So let me ask - How did the Nigerian community react to a simple incident - That of Damilola Taylor?
It is this Xenocentric form of analysis amonst our intellectual clubs that is a fundamental source of our problems!

8. Abati invokes the dignity of the Human person. Nonsense. Such dignity as defined by whom? How does dignity of the human person affect Burial rites? See Point Number 2.

9. Abati indicts Ohaneze for wanting to remain natives - another indication of the pathology in Abatis mind. Of course, the word "Native" was a derogatory term used by Europeans to refer to conquered and colonized peoples.
So Abati now indicts the Ohaneze for committing the crime of being NATIVE, of BEING African, instead of being "Citizens of a progressive society" - That is; Citizens of Nigerian - The British Created Imperialist MalConstruct.
Indeed, Mr Abati might as well have said - "Why do y'all want to remain niggers instead of opting to become nice decent colored people?"
But to give Mr. Abati the benefit of the doubt; supposed we indeed, wanted to shed our Nativeness - we would have to become Citizens of a progressive society. Well which one? Nigeria? America? Britain? Give me a freaking break!

10. Next, in his most ridiculous piece of advice yet - following of course, his advice to OBJ to stop wearing Agbada and start wearing suit, Abati deigns to inform us that OhaNeze belongs to a Pre-Colonial, Pre-Historic society!
Villagers - Abatis choice of that particular formulation might have been accidental but if it wasnt - Is Abati trying to tell us that The Historic era in Africa began with the advent of Colonialism? Can you see just how daft this fellow is? And he claims he went to school! Then he asks OhaNeze to get an education! Talk about putting the Cart before the Horse!
So tell me - The Igbos who worship at Okija shrine are Pre-Historic, Pre-Colonial and of course - "Pre-White" or should I say "Pre-Trying-To-Be-White" but, the fellow from the Hare Krishna sect - an occultic group also is a useful informant! Can you see just how sick this mans mind is? Is it because Hare Krishna is an imported sect?

11. Next Abati tells us how Africans can become a meaningful part of the world. He tells us to stop romanticizing our past. I wonder if we should offer the same advice to the Europeans or the Jews or the Americans - who never stop boring us with their tales of Kings, Princes, Knights and Pioneers! Abati lessons us. He lessons us in the fact that Traditional African society was imperfect (suprise, suprise) and that certain things shouldnt be celebrated. Funnily enough - he doesnt show us how any of these things are connected to the Okija shrine. He says, the African will continue to be a victim of himself until the African receives a cultural orientation (READ: Becomes more white). But we ask - has the African truly been a victim of Himself? No doubt Cecil Rhodes was an African, as was Henry the Navigator. And Lugard was an African too. And yes, the murdering Hutus were Africa as were the French who armed them. Such crock! It makes me shudder when I consider how vapid this man's mind is.

12. Among the evils of the African past that Abati condescends to itemize are Occultism. Now this fellow bashes occultism in one breath - and then calls for protection for the Hare Krishna employee in another! :rollin

13. Abati also informs us about discrimination against women in general in the African past. Of course this is nonsense. European women did not have the rights or the privileges that African women had in the pre-colonial era.
European women had no economic power, no religious power and no military power.
African women controlled the markets, served as Priestesses and wielded tremendous power and commanded Armies.
This guy Abati, obviously is no Historian. He definitely needs the reeducation that he has called for the OhaNeze.

14. Finally, what between Abati's colomental fawnings etc - I perceive that the overall sauce in this OpEd is the same, old ugly one. It is the phenomenon of some Africans using their position as the "Heirs of whiteness" - in what strange and perverse sense that may occur - to bash other Africans against whom they have a grudge! It is cheap, ridiculous and infantile!
Neither Abati nor the Yoruba are in a position to lecture the Igbo about what Civilization is or is not, what Human rights are, or are not and what Human digity is, or is not.
Western Civilization has never been a standard for any African and it will never be.
The Igbos have a civilization that is theirs - and as unfortunate as it is that they have been incorporated into Nigeria - so long as they have not committed crimes, the Okijians should be left alone!
Abatis attempt to isolate the Igbo Leadership from the Populace by creating an artificial disconnect in his writings is pathetic!
We are quite content to remain Africans; Thank You Very Much, Abati and Co - and if we will change, we will change because of forces from within, not without. And we will change because we want to, not because you tried to brainwash us or because you said so.

The Key issue in this case should be one: MURDER; with the subtext of Harm, Injury etc etc

In the absence of a proof of Murder (or a proveable subtext of Harm and Injury); Okija is protected under constitutional clauses guaranteeing Freedom of Religion and Freedom of Association. Period.

Abati should put a lid on his screeds.

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LAGOS, NIGERIA. Sunday, August 08 2004


Ohaneze And The Shrine At Okija
By Reuben Abati
The response of the Ohaneze to the discovery of a museum of human skulls and skeletons, a den of cannibals, an evil forest (as it has been appropriately described) in Okija, Anambra state exposes the serious crisis of thought, togetherness and development facing this society. Speaking through its Secretary General, Joe Achuzie, the Ohaneze, the umbrella cultural body for all Igbos worldwide denounced the police for trying to ridicule Igbo culture and tradition. We have been told that the Okija shrine has been in existence since a remote period of antiquity and that it is a traditional Supreme Court where persons in dispute go to swear on oath.

Incidentally this is the same shrine where Governor Chris Ngige purportedly entered into an anti-democratic pact with his Godfather, Chris Uba before he became Governor. The priests of the shrine, sitting like the justices of the Supreme Court, invoke their patron-deity to inflict punishment on the guilty. There is only one punishment: death. And when the guilty dies, he cannot be buried, he or she becomes the property of the deity. The corpse is dumped at the shrine, to rot away. The only dignity that is accorded the victim is the notation of his name in a register. This is the culture that the Ohaneze is defending! Achuzie went on to fulminate: why is the police targeting Igbos

Why is no one raiding similar shrines in other parts of Nigeria among other ethnic groups
He then concluded that this is yet another case of "ethnic marginalisation", and an anti-Igbo move by the Federal Government. On the strength of these arguments, the Ohaneze has warned the police to stay away from all shrines in Igboland, and to ensure that nothing happens to the priests of the Okija shrine who are custodians of the people's culture.
The position of the Ohaneze is so predictable and cheap; it is laughable and ridiculous. Is the Ohaneze speaking for Ndigbo or it is merely expressing the opinion of certain individuals who are packaging their personal preferences as the position of the entire group

The latter is more likely to be the case. So-called cultural groups often fall into this trap, namely the tendency to ethnicise every situation and seek to heat up the polity whereas the problem is their own failure to engage in rigorous thinking. It is not the police that is ridiculing Igbos, it is the Ohaneze that has ridiculed itself. On the matter of the shrine at Okija where there is a Satanic library of skulls and skeletons, the Ohaneze cannot possibly be speaking for the Igbo. If anything, Igbos at home and abroad have been jubilating since the police uncovered the shrine at Okija. They do not see it as an attack on Igbo culture, but as the end of the road for a cult of cannibals who hide under tradition to commit atrocities.
Indeed, the Ohaneze put its foot in its mouth when it tried to pass on this incident as tradition. Is the organisation aware that we are living in modern times under the rule of law

The laws of the land do not recognize any such tradition that is repugnant to natural justice, equity and good conscience. To set up a jungle court which administers justice outside the normal courts of the land is illegal and criminal. The fact that the people take their cases to an illiterate priest in the jungle and a metaphysical being called a deity does not legalise the offence. It does not in fact matter that they do so willingly and enthusiastically. When the priests of Okija are charged to court as they should, they would discover that tradition is not one of the defences available under the criminal code. The Criminal Code classifies as a crime, the possession of fetish objects, the use of voodoo, unlawful trial by ordeal, criminal charms (Sections 207 - 213) as well as the membership of unlawful societies (sections 62 -66). Would the Ohaneze recruit lawyers to argue other wise in a court of law
There is also involved in this, a question of human rights. The most basic principle here is the dignity of the human person. At the Okija shrine, this has been violated. Corpses are left to rot away, humans skeletons are turned into furniture, and the Ohaneze is saying that this is good

The reaction of the international community can be easily imagined. Photographs of those skulls evoke only a set of familiar images: Rwanda, Hitler's death camps, crimes against humanity! The existence of such shrines as the ones in Okija devalues our humanity. And I hope the Ohaneze after a fashion would not respond to this by arguing that there are terrorists in the Middle East, and worse atrocities in Sudan!
Tradition. Culture. Religion. Now, these three words have become unto themselves a kind of fetish with persons who would like to remain natives instead of citizens of a progressive society. They behave as if they are trapped in a post-modernist, post-colonial society whereas where they truly belong is the pre-colonial, indeed pre-historic, society. When these people talk about tradition, they make the past sound like an idyllic age when everything African was proper and purposeful. But the truth about that past is that it was imperfect in many ways. Human sacrifice and the romanticisation of human rights abuses (including widowhood rites, discrimination against women in general, and occultism) are some of those imperfections. For African societies to grow and play a more meaningful role in the world, these imperfect practices have to be abandoned, otherwise the African would continue to remain a victim of his own traditions. We need cultural re-orientation, and clearly, the Ohaneze leadership requires some urgent education.

I want to add that the Ohaneze needs to do some soul-searching. It is precisely the kind of comment it has made about the Okija shrine that encourages the view that there is a crisis of leadership in Igboland. But having said this, let me move on to some other preliminary conclusions. A tip-off from one fellow who has said he led the police to the shrine because he is prepared to lose his life in the process made the role of the police in the Okija event possible. A member of the Hare Krishna sect, he does not believe in the deity at Okija and he thinks the police should have a look at the death camp in the village. The import of this is simple: police work would be made a lot easier if people are willing to trust the police with information.

All over the world, the fight against crime in society is facilitated by the co-operation of members of the community. The man who blew the whistle on Okija has demonstrated some level of trust in the Nigeria Police. That trust must not be abused. Many Nigerians lost confidence in the Nigeria police in the past because of the way informants ended up. There are persons out there who know a lot more about other centres of evil and crime in our society who would be willing to assist the police. They would be interested in how this case is handled. The informant must be given adequate protection (already I think a mistake has been made with the disclosure of his identity so early in the investigations!) but even more important is the will of the police and the authorities to see that justice is done and expeditiously too.

The police has been receiving a lot of commendation for its pro-activeness in this case, but the integrity of the institution is also on trial. The public is already expressing fears about how the case is likely to be handled; those fears must not be confirmed. The three registers containing the names of the victims of Okija shrine must not suddenly develop wings and vanish into thin air. The Anambra Commissioner of Police must protect those registers, with his life if it comes to that! The investigation must be thorough and only the best men in the police should be assigned to this case. In previous criminal cases in court, judges have been known to express despair over shoddy investigation by the police and the disappearance of useful evidence.

And what about the blood-thirsty deity

There has been no news about it in the various media accounts. The deity should also be arrested; the shrine should be declared a crime scene and kept under vigilant watch. The priests must be made to name all their clients in high and low places. This must not become another Clifford Orji case which first drew our attention to the existence of cannibals trading in human parts in our midst. Clifford Orji was soon declared insane, and there has been no news about him since then. This must also not become another Otokoto trial. That particular case dragged on meaninglessly and the accused persons were almost escaping justice, until the people of Owerri insisted on justice or nothing and the state felt compelled to do its duty.
The people of Anambra have a role to play in this instance. In the last five years of democracy, there has been one bad news or the other from Anambra. The state has acquired a dubious reputation as the centre of election rigging, rituals, armed robbery, and the sanctuary of head-hunters and professional assassins. This is worrisome considering that Anambra is also the home of some of Nigeria's leading thinkers and citizens (Achebe, Emeka Anyaoku, Emeagwali, Chike Obi, Chukwuemeka Ike, Ojukwu, Zik, Nwafor Orizu, Ukpabi Asika, Okigbo, Okadigbo, Ume-Ezeoke, Ekwueme, Ekene Dili Chukwu). It is also, and this can be said matter-of-factly, the headquarters of Christianity in Eastern Nigeria. Fr. Cyprian Tansi, who was beatified a few years ago by the Pope and Francis Cardinal Arinze who is one of the likely successors to the present Pope, are both from this state. This irony explains the complexity of the Nigerian personality and the grey areas of human life. But the civil society in Anambra must stand firm, as the people of Owerri once did, and insist on justice, and by so doing reject the bad label that a corrupt leadership (cultural and political) is imposing on them.

The rest of us as Nigerians must be worried about Ohaneze's argument that many persons in the East rather than go to the regular courts of the land prefer to patronise shrines for the resolution of disputes. It is even a matter of public record that the incumbent President, General Olusegun Obasanjo as he then was once publicly asked that the "juju" option be applied to drive the racists from power in South Africa. One other Nigerian "big man" also once suggested that public officials should be made to swear with Ogun, or Amadioha or any other local deity on assumption of office as a way of stamping out corruption. These recommendations are made, and ritualism survives in our society as an expression of lack of confidence in due process, the modern state and its institutions, and particularly the administration of justice in our land. This is the bigger dilemma and challenge that the priests and cultists of Okija and their yet unknown clients have brought before the entire nation.

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I Love Nigeria
Aug 8, 2004, 05:40 PM
It is beginning to become clear, that no murders were committed in Okija.

There were criminal and fraudulent activities, the exploitation of the people's believe in the supernatural or superstitions, greedy priests milked the believers.

So that, persons who died of Malaria, natural causes, heart attack etc, had their corpses deposited at these shrines, as survivors feared repercussions, survivors delivered the corpses of their dead relatives and their personal belongings, belongings, that were then shared among the dubious priests or ministers of these deities. More crimes in the name of religion, abuse of religious powers-positions, all religions are guilty of.

These priests/ministers committed fraud and mistreatments of corpses or perhaps, they also endangered public health, by allowing corpses to decay in the open, without burying them in graves. But the adherents and the intimidated victims, delivered the corpses to the priests.

Autopsies, in all probabilities, would reveal cause of the deaths, have nothing to do with the priests. The priests were no honorable men, but they are unlikely to be found guilty of any murders... as forensic evidence would reveal cause of deaths to be outside the control of these propertied priests.

Aug 8, 2004, 05:52 PM
Bbalogun, Ebe and Wind,

Have you read this?

"David Koresh, Branch Davidian is Christian, Timothy McVeigh is a Christian, Reverend Jim Jones is a Christian, The Pedophiliac predators with bibles and cassocks are Christians, James Barker is a Christian, Jim Swaggart is a Christian, the hate mongering Jerry Fallwell is a Christian, so is David Duke the grand wizard of the KKK.

A lot of those who have given Nigeria bad name regarding corruption, are Christians, 99.9% of the perpetrators of 419 and all manners of scams are Christian. Olodu?

So many bad things have been done in the name of the Christian God! From Slavery to Colonialism to the Inquisitions and now, the so-called war on terror.

As Fela Anikulapo would have said, many, many bad, bad things, Jesus Christ our Lord!

Most drug dealers are.... You guessed it, are Christians!

People, give me a break! Holier than thou attitudes, irks me... especially as a retired Christians.... No, I am on sabbatical from Christianity, until a Nigerian, or an African or a person of African descent, preferably, a woman, becomes a Pope! Then, only, then, Christianity, would have proven its sense of fairness and justice to the world!" ILN

This is quite revealing, coming from a born-again Christian like ILN.

We shall all know the TRUTH, which will set us FREE!

Aug 8, 2004, 06:13 PM
It is beginning to become clear, that no murders were committed in Okija.-ILN

You don't know that there were no murders. You can't fly with what a suspect gives in self-defense.

There are nine yards of Police work to be done and only a forensic pathologist can conclusively determine causes of death. However, confessions and/or circumstantial evidence regarding each death may go a long way.

This is the mind of a cop: All corpses and skulls found in that shrine are potential indicators that a least a form of crime had been committed - it could range from murder through the abuse of corpse.

All stories in defense of brazen satanism is hog-wash and concocted to launder despicably sub-human behavior. Okija is ultra bad news just as similar shrines and practices across Nigeria are barbaric and from the pits of hell or Satan's lock down hole. How, in this 21 century, can any civilization tolerate this magnitude of evil? And some have the nerve to defend such weird primitivity.

Any group culture or person upholding/defending that darkness under the cover of African tradition and culture is just looking for any out. In a world of liberals where Harry Porter and any/everything is acceptable, am I surprised that Okija is being spiritedly justified and its evil capacities re-packaged as user friendly or culture compliant? NO!

I Love Nigeria
Aug 8, 2004, 06:46 PM

I alluded to the forensics ..... as well, as you have just done.

We must be reminded, despite our anger/disappointment, that some family members of victims/adherents, submitted corpses, already buried in cemeteries and the purposes for the exhumations, were to fulfill the required surrender of bodies of adherents/participants, to the deities or priests/ministers of these shrines.

Abhorrent practice from the perspective of pubic health/hygiene... yes, and what so far, appears as a conduit, through which the gullible were milked like fat cows, yes.

But as for serving deities, African religious obligations, and whether it offends Christians, who of course finds, anything other than Christ-practices uncivilized, I will leave that alone, it is subjective and I am not competent to question the reasonableness, of Christian religious practices, Islamic religious practices and Okija religious practices.

I do question abuse and extremisms in ALL religions, abuse and extremisms in ALL cultures....

We need to be careful, not to portray ourselves as having these superiority complexes, or Jesus Christ complex...., "my religion is better than yours and more civilized" type talk.

Aug 8, 2004, 07:38 PM
What is Brazen Satanism?

The Churches who get charms from Babalawos?
The Muslims who dont believe that Jesus is the Son of God?

The Bible clearly states - "The spirit of the anti christ denies that Christ Jesus came in the flesh"

"That which denies that Jesus is the Son of God is not born of God"

According to this Standard; Islam is also brazen satanism!

What is Brazen Satanism?

The Skull and Boners in the White House?

What is Brazen Satanism?

The Rosicrucians, The Grail Messengers, The Eckankites?

So of all the anti-christ sects in this world; only one - That of Okija is deserving of special excoriation!

Look; My Friends - If we cannot prove MURDER; then Okija is a legimitate Religious site; period!

I mean - Here you have celestials, C and S people; WICCANS in the US, self confessed witches in Europe and someone is complaining about a Liberal defense of Satanism with special reference to Okija!

So tell me - This subhuman primitivism that we are supposed to be on the guard against - how do we identify it?
Do we identify subhuman primitivism by the fact that Bodies arent buried?
Do we identify by an angry deity?
Do we identify it by the presence of skulls?

I mean - The Irrationality is just astounding!

If anything unchristian is subhuman primitivism - then Islam should be our number on target; with frequent snipes at the Catholic Church.

If Bodies left above ground is subhuman primitivism, then Jesus is a number one culprit; since he was buried in a Tomb above the ground.

If the presence of skulls is the evidence of subhuman primitivism - then please, look no further than the premises of Yale Univeristy and other cult indoctrination sects in the United States.

When people cannot advance a rational reason for the treatment meted out to the Okijians - it leaves much to despair about in the State of the Country!

Here you have a certain Prophet, TB Joshua open performing shaman like miracles on TV. Reuben Abati has not invoked the constitution against him.

To produce a rational basis for excoriating the Okijians - one must prove the following:

1. That is it improper for a Shrine to be in possession of Bodies - for whatever reason and whatever cause.

2. Prove that the corpses are the result of Murder.

In the absence of these Proofs - The Okijians are a normal, legitimate religious organization complete with the trappings, fraudulent and otherwise that one finds in many of the Big Churches and Mosques!

The entire episode is laughable!

I mean; this is a country where Abacha imported Shamans from Jamaica and 500 Marabouts from Saudi Arabia to secure his reelection bid! And some is talking fetishness.

Rank Hypocrisy, Gentlemen. Rank Hypocrisy and Xenocentric analysis.

This is the bane of Africa.

Aug 8, 2004, 08:23 PM

I personally wasn't defending the act of shrine worshipping neither its inherent tradition of murder nor abuse of human remains. I was only alluding to an alternative way of looking at the situation.

Aug 8, 2004, 08:24 PM

Must you always hide behind other people to make your points. Of course I read ILN's usual tired crap. I am used to him bending over backwards to pander to Muslim/Arab interest, which he feels is under seige from America and the West. I usually don't respond to his pretentious and deceptive political correctness. And I don't respect people who can't call a spade a spade.

But since you find his assertions above useful for your defense of Islam and Islamic terrorism, let me remind you--in case you have forgotten--that Osama Bin Laden is a Muslim, as is Saddam the butcher, as was Muhammadu Maroa, the leader of the Maitatsine Islamic cult, as are the hijackers of 9/11, as are the Islamic murderers of Northern Nigeria, as are the Arab murderers of the Sudan, as are the Indonesian Muslim extremists who murder Christians on the Archipelago, as are thousands of Muslim terrorists roaming the earth in search of non-Muslims to kill, as are the lawless, murderous Nigerian Taliban sect and the wife-swapping Gwagwarmaya Islamic cult in Kebbi State.

And speaking of imperialism and slavery, the Quran is a book that explicitly endorses slavery and imperialism. Subsequent Muslim imperial and colonial powers like the Ottomans, the Safavids, the Mughals, the Mamluk Sultans of Egypt, the Sa'adians of Morrocco, and the Persian semi-caliphate of Zanzibar, the Sokoto Caliphate, to mention a few have perpetrated some of the worst imperial atrocities in human history. The slave raids carried out by Arab and African Muslims against black non-Muslim Africans all over East, Central, and West Africa demonstrate just how faithful Muslims are to the Quranic endorsement of enslaving non-believers outside the so-called dar-al-Islam (the land of Islam). As we speak, the Muslim leaders of the Sudan are doing the same thing in the South of the country, raiding villages and enslaving the non-Muslim children and women of the South while murdering their males. In a twist of the Islamic madness that has come to characterize the Muslim peoples of Northern Sudan, they've now turned to Muslim Darfur people in the West.

The Hausa-Fulani followers of the Sokoto caliphate raided for slaves as far as present-day Kwara and Niger States. They were doing the dictates of the Quran, which clearly endorses raiding and enslaving non-Muslims.

In case you don't know, North Africa was Christian and "animist" before it was Muslim. The Muslim conquest was as imperial as they come, a colonial imposition which is now normalized as if it were an ancient reality. Please read up on the history of your religion. If you do, you'll thank me for opening your eyes to the evils of the Muslim faith thoughout history, evils which are being continued by the current class of Islamic terrorists and murderers.

Now back to the topic of this thread, which you are seeking to clutter with your defense of Islam and its terrorism through the construction of equivalence with Christianity.

If you have anything new to say on the subject of Islamic terror and the Quran and hadith's support for murder, hate, and intolerance, I think you can say it on the other thread, where you are so far taking the heat you and your religion are getting like a man.

Aug 8, 2004, 09:18 PM
As usual you make good points. The only problem is I personally do not doubt that foul play of some sort took place in this case. Am I unfair and hasty in coming to this conclusion? Maybe... but I am only human.I am already biased against those priests and have absolutely no sympathy whatsoever for them. This is a sentiment most people will express;- that is to believe these priest guilty (unfair but true). Too bad, it comes with the job when you deal in the macbre.Let them grin and bear it.
Though I'm no oracle and did not witness any foul play but do you really believe that those "priests" were innocent?. If so you are far more objective and less sentimental that I. Anyway Let the corrupt police investigate as best as they can and if muder or any sort of foul play was involved, Let these priests hang!

ILN: How do you know for sure there is no muder involved????
Anyone found with a skull (including the grave robbers otherwise known as Archeologists and even medical schools)
should explain till they drop to ensure that they came about these things "properly"

>>Any group culture or person upholding/defending that darkness under the cover of African tradition and culture is just looking for any out. In a world of liberals where Harry Porter and any/everything is acceptable, am I surprised that Okija is being spiritedly justified and its evil capacities re-packaged as user friendly or culture compliant? NO!<<

CIkpat: You raise good points. Though I identify more with your sentimentst I will still ask you the inverse of what I asked ILN; how do you know for sure that muder/foul play was involved?. Lets give these "priests" 0.01% benefit of doubt and lets pretend they are innocent till proven guilty then lets hang them..That is my subjective and emotional opinion.

My more objective opinion is this:Just as it is acceptable to most people in modern days to find bodies in a medical institution used for research and teaching purposes, it was acceptable in ancient days to find bodies at shrines. For foolish people who still chose to follow the gorier aspects of some African ancient faiths, taking their bodies to shrines is not unacceptable, hence you may possibly find skulls and bodies at some shrines which may be there through the consent of the practitioners of these faiths.Morally henious as this practice may seem to some (most) of us, the real legal question therefore is how did these skulls/bodies get there?. -Were they killed?Was anyone kidnapped and sacrificed? Was anyone coerced ?
-Were any laws of the land violated?
-Was foul play involved or were these bodies/skulls taken to the shrine after the demise of the owners with the informed non coercieve consent and free willingness of the followers of that faith??

Irrespective of if I or anyone like it or not, If sane adults/ people freely and knowingly choose not to be buried when they die but to be eaten or displayed in a shrine, whose buisness is that -so long as they break no law and do not constitute a nusannce/menace (hygine wise)to anyone or society.

(BTW:This is an argument I'm sure will be used and I 'm waiting to see play out in the Rotenburg cannibal case.

p221.ezboard.com/fnigeriadiscussionsfrm11.showMessage?topicID=43.to pic (http://p221.ezboard.com/fnigeriadiscussionsfrm11.showMessage?topicID=43.to pic)
I'm willing to bet this guy will be found guilty of a lesser crime than muder )
Please note my comments on that thread and see that is exactly what is happening here. No one is suggesting that the entire race of Germans are uncivilized. Already some of us here have seized on this as evidence of the babarity of non Xtians. Lets just wait and see how the foreign press will use this to stigmatize the who race of Africans

Let the police investigate as best as they can and let us know the truth if possible.

Having said all the above,I personally suspect foul play and would love to see these people hang.At the very least they constituted an hygenic menace to society and perpetuated superstition (although too bad you can't kill someone for being superstious or stupid. )

Now w.r.t the rest of your post:
Murder is not culturally justifiable in African tradition as far as I am concerned though I'm ashamed to admit that Ritual Killings did occur in African societies.As far as I know,these were not every day occurences,never done openly and usually criminals, enemies taken prisoner in war (or people considered so rightly or wrongly) were used as victims.Occassionally, innocent bystanders/strangers were kidnapped for thes purposes.Whatever the case and no matter what, I personally I regard such practices as criminal.I do not care what anyone thinks. I draw the line at human rituals and will condem this in any African religion.

However, not all African religious practices went this way. You need to realize although a religion may be said to be momolithic, neverthelss, there can be very different practices and norms emergent in the different subcultures of that religion. In other words, some traditional African religions gyrated towards the darker aspects of humanity than others but there are many aspects of African traditional beliefs that are pacifistic.

My take is that you regard all African religious practices as criminal simply because it is not Xtian.
This is not true. Not being a Xtian does not equate to being a criminal as you Christians (and Moslems) like to believe.
Let me conclude in this way: I cannot reasonably say that the entire religion known as Xtianity is evil on the basis of the actions of some of its practitioners, sects or denominations(cults). The same goes for any major religion. I could however reasonably recognize that particular,nominations,sects/cults, practitioners or persons within any religion can indeed be evil as I understand evil to be.You need to seperate the criminals and their criminality from African traditional religion as a whole if you can.

Danladi: So this is another opportunity to bring your religious wahala into this thread and attack Xtians? :rolleyes You are not even concerned about the possible victims of this development. U no get shame?

Aug 8, 2004, 09:19 PM
2. There is nothing wrong with decorating my house entirely with skeletons - if I so wish - provided that the Laws of the Land do not prohibit this.

This is priceless. I fear you O!

Butthis na serious matter. No trivalize this O. What If the bodies were victims of muder??

Aug 8, 2004, 10:06 PM
DT -

The whole object of my argument is to get people to throw away their irrational taboos and sense of what is "civilized" or "uncivilized".

Of course on a good day; I stand against ALL forms of Ritualism.

This includes Islamism, Christian Shamanism, Witchcraft, All occultic sects etc etc.

However; in a State where all of the above are practiced and allowed, who is to excoriate the Okijians?

These are some of the contradictions of our Borrowed systems of Government!!!

If there was foul play at Okija, let us see the evidence.

Let us see proof of Murder. Let us see the proof.

But if there wasnt - then case closed!

This is what we mean by abstractism - That is to say; most of our social senses make no sense. They are irrational.
Most of our Taboos, Western adulation, Gung ho americanism, Western standards etc make no sense.

Indeed, very few things in the world make any sense - and as far as harm and injury arent done to others - se fini.

If the bodies were victims of Murder - then I say Hang the Lot. Hang every Gaddem Okijian Priest!

But for Reuben Abati to start making his colomental value judgments talking about Cannibals and PreHistoric PreColonial nonsense - Now thats a pukeable offence.

I Love Nigeria
Aug 8, 2004, 11:51 PM
Apparently, the Ebe2 of this world have never heard of extremists, in other religions?
Ebe2 has never heard of abortion clinic bombings or the assassinations of abortion clinic operators by anti-abortion terrorists, operating in the name of the Christian God?

Obviously, Ebe2 is not interested in intellectual honesty and disclosure, in connection with extremisms in ALL religions?

Christians and Christianity represents civilization and all that is good, and other religions?

I am open to criticizing Islam and ALL other religions, without generalizations, as Ebe2 and others have penchants for doing, generalizations are prone to offensive falsities.

Aug 9, 2004, 01:42 AM
Can someone please offer this ILN man a contract?
he has earned his keep over and over again. Haba! it be anymore difficult than this in Abuja.

Aug 9, 2004, 06:20 AM
Dateline: 07/08/2004 23:28:26

How Ngige, Uba Visited Okija Shrine
By Lanre Issa-Onilu in Lagos and Charles Onyekamuo in Awka

Okija shrines may be strange to the rest of the world, but not to its prominent clients, which include the Anambra State governor, Dr. Chris Ngige and his erstwhile godfather, Chief Chris Uba.

THISDAY can exclusively reveal that the shrines in which police last week uncovered several human skulls and corpses of people believed to have been killed recently has been playing host to many prominent politicians who patronise them for various reasons.

THISDAY investigations specifically reveal that it was an Okija shrine that the Anambra governor was taken to by Uba early last year as a Gubernatorial candidate of the Peoles Democratic Party (PDP). The revelation about a visit to the shrine became public knowledge following the aborted abduction of Ngige on July 10 last year by supporters of Uba.

Four officials of the Anambra government last night confirmed to THISDAY that the governor and his assailants were actually at the alter of the Ogwugwu gods to swear on oath though they contradicted one another as to whether or not Ngige actually swore at the shrine.

Fred Chukwuelobe, Special Adviser on Media to governor Ngige, while not denying the report that Ngige was at Okija shrine, however, said that the governor actually stayed back in the car while the oath was being performed.

"The governor never went to the shrine with Uba. When the governor, as a candidate, was forced there, he refused to follow them and instead stayed in his car," said Chukwuelobe.

Curiously, this account of what happened at Okija contradicts the evidence of the governor who admitted meeting the priest who he claimed was speaking "rubbish."

Ngige, during a testimony at the Senate chambers on July 18 last year had stated: "... the truth is unshakeable... I had gone with Uba to Archbishop Chukwuma to pray on oath using the Bible and as a Christain, that was enough for me.

" (Hon Chuma) Nzeribe later suggested that I do an oath before a shrine and my deputy governor joined in the campaign and when I spoke with my bishop, he advised that if I must go, I should carry my Bible and annointing oil and follow them.

"We went at 3.00 am and we met one man that was speaking rubbish. When they finished, I left. It's the oath that they took that is harassing them, while my Bible is protecting me."

But distancing the Catholic arch-diocese of Onitsha from the statement credited to Ngige that he agreed to follow his captors to the shrine with the consent of his bishop, the director of Mass Communication of the Archdiocese, Reverend Dr. Bonny Asuzu had countered that the statement "I followed them to the shrine...My bishop said I should follow them with the Bible and holy oil" was not made in reference to the archbishop of Onitsha.

Asuzu in a statement said "If indeed the governor actually made the statement, in view of the embarrassing comments emanating from it, His excellency has the responsibility to tell the press and the general public who was precisely the bishop with whom he had the dialogue in order to dispel unwarranted speculations on the issue."

Asuzu said that there had been insinuations that the statement was made in reference to the Archbishop of Onitsha and stated categorically that "whoever may be the Archbishop in question is not and cannot be the Archbishop of Onitsha or the coadjutor Archbishop of Onitsha."

Meanwhile, as the saga unfolds, a lawyer to Okija, Osita Ndukwu, one of the detained priests of Ogwugwu, Barr. Okechukwu Okani told THISDAY in Awka yesterday that it would be wrong to charge the detained priests for murder as there is nothing that says in Nigerian laws that the minister of a shrine is responsible for the death of those whose corpses are found in the evil forest, adding that "only the gods are culpable."

He said his clients are contemplating heading for the court to challenge the police action in burning their personal effects and confiscating their property during the raid.

The Anambra Police Commissioner, Felix Ogbaudu, had last week alluded to the possibility of the police charging the priests for murder if found culpable at the end of investigations which the police initiated and suggested of an elightenment campaign to educate citizens of the state of other mechanisms for conflict resolution as a way of dissuading them from patronizing the deity's priests.

Curiously, while police may be celebrating the arrest of Okija priests, the culprits too are happy for the raid. Since the police invaded the shrines, several new adherents have been turning up from far and near, two of the priests have claimed.

Pa Edimuo Ndukwu, the priest to Ogwugwu Isi-ura and James Obi, who minister to Ogwugwu Akpu, two of the dieties in the three shrines found in Ogwugwu forest told THISDAY at the Central Police State, Awka that the raids conducted on their shrines have rather given popularity to the dieties and they have now been receiving many visitors.

Pa Ndukwu claimed that since the arrest of the priests, not less than 20 people he had never met have sought information on how they (priests) could be reached. He said these new people have complaints to make to the dieties over some transactions that had been breached by some people.

"Ogwugwu has been popularised, instead of (being) demystified. It has been sold to the world by the police through the television and newspapers. Those who didn't know about it are coming and making enquiries. It is now marketable. Since the raid and since we came to the police here, over 20 people we never knew had inquired from us how they can reach us because they had complaints to make to the diety about those who cheated them of large sums of money in the past and refused to pay up," he claimed.

Pa Ndukwu who told THISDAY that he has explained to the police what he knew about the Ogwugwu deity, and the Ogwugwu - Isi-Ura shrine which he particularly ministers to said that the corpses found in shrines were actually killed by the gods and that those who the gods had killed were countless.

Confirming that the worship of Ogwugwu by Okija people had been on since time immemorial, Pa Ndukwu explained that the deity kills only those who committed evil, or the greedy oppressors who disposses the poor of their land and were in turn reported to it to intervene.

He further explained: "The practice of worshipping the Ogwugwu had been age old. What we normally do is to ask the complainant to report to the deity; and we don't normally know where they come from and their reason for coming. But we warn them that the deity kills. Most times, we don't know when the god kills, but the relatives normally inform us, and we ask them to go and bring the corpse for the "arusi" (deity).

"It is not only the corpse but the victim's belongings, including his personal effects. You see, those who come to Ogwugwu are normally the poor who are usually oppressed by the rich and dispossessed of their land. The ogwugwu requires you to speak the truth. It kills only the greedy oppressors and those who come before it to tell lies. But if it turns out that you lied against the person you complained about, it kills you too for lying before it. Even some of us who minister to it, if we lie, kills us too.

"Politicians come here to enact convenant and even two or more people entering into a business patnership in case one of them wants to cheat or doublecross the others," he said.

He said that the Ogwugwu Isi-ura was registered with both the corporate affairs commission (CAC) and the state government as a cultural organisation with the powers to arbitrate over local and cultural matters and not in killing of people; adding that the certificate of registration is renewed yearly with the state government via the Ihiala Local Government Area with the sum of N50,000.

The Octogenarian also explained why they keep registers of those thrown into the forest, saying it is both for exoneration of the priests as the killers instead of the gods, and keeping accurate records. The registers which he said are now many have records of the names of the dead, the person who brought the corpse for deposition in the forest and the person who complained to the deity, adding that the complainant usually brings kolanuts, alligator pepper, spirits, (hot drinks) and a foul, and or goat as the case may be, and that he is required to also add a little money for drinks by the ministers before making his complainant to deity.

Describing Mr. Chukwumezie Obed Igwe who petitioned the police before the raid as a liar whose late father, actively participated in the ministration to the gods, Pa Ndukwu said they also keep records of those who had benefited from the deity, especially those who made vows to it. These he said, included businessmen, politicians, those travelling overseas, barren women looking for children, those in need and even policemen, and others who come to renew their vows with cows or anything at all.

He said that what is sacrified to the idol by the chief priest depends on what it demands, adding that it includes fowl, kolanuts, spirits, chalk and at times goat, adding that it has not demanded for human beings but kills by itself those who lie, "speak the truth before me, that's all". He expressed the view that the god will fight for itself but would not predict how and the nature.

The priest and agent of Ogwugwu Akpu, James Obi also expressed similar views as Pa Ndukwu.

Aug 9, 2004, 04:14 PM
He said that what is sacrified to the idol by the chief priest depends on what it demands, adding that it includes fowl, kolanuts, spirits, chalk and at times goat, adding that it has not demanded for human beings but kills by itself those who lie, "speak the truth before me, that's all". He expressed the view that the god will fight for itself but would not predict how and the nature.

Still guilty! Last time I read the CC, there is/are section(s) that deal with the use of charms and these kinds of rubbish that is making headlines now.

The Nigeria law does not recognize Ogwugwu as a person (an intelligent human) capable of committing murder. If indeed Ogwugwu kills as claimed by its evil prince, then Ogwugwu must have sent his prince(s) to kill and those princes are humans we must bring to justice according to the law.

And a dumb Ogwugwu idol founded in lies and born of Satan - the father of lies - demand or speak the truth? Yeah right! Only God is the Truth: Ogwugwu and the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob do not mix. Never, will never, and can never!!!!!

I have good reasons based upon past experience to predict the NPF and high political powers will kill this case. I know how some in my former unit recoiled into shells and skipped responsibilities at a time (1989) I picked up an Ogboni chieftain for something related to oil bunkering. But guess what, same man was thoroughly impressed by professionalism and expressed same to bosses. I know how the case ended...and don't bother to ask me.

Someday, a leader shall arise who will take these criminals and subhumans headlong and thereby restore sanity in the society...just someday.

Aug 10, 2004, 01:22 AM
Okija people will revolt against Shrines if they were used for ritual murders " Okija Prime Minister

By Anayo Okoli Awka
Saturday, August 7, 2004

Anambra State Police Command may have achieved a feat by raiding the dreaded shrines in Okija in Ihiala Local Government Area where shocking revelations of stockpiles of human skulls and dead bodies at various decomposing stages were made last week..

Okija indegenes see the raid from different perspectives. While the Police are saying that the shrines were used for Advance Fee Fraud (419) and ritual activities, Okija indigenes and some people from Ihiala Local Government disagree. According to them, police officers also patronized the shrines.

They therefore argue that if ritual activities went on in the shrines, police must have been part and parcel of the system. They believe that the shrines in their community which they said had existed for ages do not indulge in human blood sucking activities. With the interest generated by the police raiding of the shrines, Sunday Vanguard sought the views of Okija people and their neighbours in the same ward and local government.

Okija has no surviving traditional ruler after the death of their former Igwe, an architect. The issue of succession is currently in court at Ihiala which last two weeks restrained Chief Okeke from parading himself as the traditional ruler of the town. In the absence of the traditional ruler, the traditional Prime Minister takes charge of traditional matters. He is, Nnamuzie Obi, the Onowu of Okija.

Sunday Vanguard sought his views on the Okija Shrines and last week's police raids on them. He noted that the shrines he knows about were not used for rituals. However, he said that if the police are able to prove that these shrines were used for rituals, he would lead Okija people to revolt against them.

He explained: "The trouble is with us. Since I was born in Okija, there have been many shrines in the town. They include Ogwugwu Mmiri in Umuohi Okija, Uasi in Ubahu Okija, Ogwugwu Akpu and Ogwugwu Isiula in Umuhu and Ubahaezike Akpunanwa in Ubahu Umuonwem. Pagans go to these shrines to look for one thing or the other.

I as the traditional head of Ubahu has never been there but people come there from all over the country. I know that 75% of Nigerians are Christian's, but they don't practise Christianity. "Shrines are all over the country, it depends on the choice of the individual on what to worship. In Anambra State, we are aware that some people sacrifice at the shrines and eat whatever comes to the shrines.

They are outcasts, they eat whatever comes to their shrine. If somebody dies as a result of the oath taken of the shrine, they (outcasts) take his/her belongings. They are like the holy ghost fathers in Church. I am happy that Police said that they have seen the register of the people who patronize them, they will find out that they are mainly outsiders. Okija people have embraced Christianity. If the police confirm that ritual killings went on in the shrines, 99% of Okija people will revolt against them (shrines) and support the police to get to the root of the problem.

"As for the shrines, they are common in Igboland and other parts of Nigeria", the Onowu pointed out.

He appealed to the police not to arrest people indiscriminately but to arrest those who are really involved.

Obii maintained that most people of Okija know of the shrines as places where pagans worship their gods and use them to settle disputes. Apart from the Onowu, another person from Nnbesi, a neighbouring town, Mr. Emeka Obi, who teaches at Madonna University in Okija, believes that the onus to prove that the shrines were used for rituals lay squarely with the police.

According to Obi, issues to be raised include knowing what prompted the raid on the shrines in Okija as most towns in all parts of Nigeria still have shrines. A shrine, he said, is supposed to be a hallowed place, sacrosant . Though he has not been there because he does not believe in rituals, he believes that those who believe in them should be allowed to worship them. "If at all, because I no longer believe the police, they find out that the shrines were used for rituals, it is all well and good, but if it is not true, the police should publicly apologise to the shrines.

Invading a shrine is invading t`he privacy of the people who worship it. It is against their rights", the university teacher said. He urged the police to extend its search and investigation to the high and mighty who patronized the places like government officials and big time businessmen. Obi recalled the confession of Governor Chris Ngige of Anambra State that his estranged political godfather, Chief Chris Uba who allegedly took him to one of the shrines to give oath of loyalty. He therefore suggested that police should invite Ngige and Uba to seek their views on the activities in the shrines.

Obi however did not rule out the possibility of the youths setting up their own fake shrines in the area to make money. These things, he said, the police should expose. One thing is certain: The Okija shrines have been descrated but the big job is for police to piece together information as to who and who patronize them and the motives behind their existence. It is strongly believed here that high ranking policemen visited the shrines to seek native power and fame.

So the police should also beam its searchlight on itself. There is an unconfirmed report that the photograph of a senior police officer serving in the state was found in one of the shrines.

Aug 10, 2004, 05:51 AM
I thoroughly disagree with the baseless generalization by Okija leaders that, "most towns in all parts of Nigeria still have shrines". I find it disappointing that, rather than defend or justifiably explain away, the reasons for the Okija shrines, they have dishonestly engaged in self-delusion that shrines are everywhere in Nigeria.

As far as I know, there are absolutely no shrines in northern Nigeria, unless these people are saying that, wherever, Okija people reside, they secretly set up shrines for their people. That is the only way, they can authoritatively claim that, shrines are in "most towns in all parts of Nigeria".

I grew up in Makurdi, with majority of my family members scattered all over northern Nigeria - from kano to Otukpo, and I never, not even once, heard of shrines in any of the cities in northern Nigeria. Northern people are generally Pagans, Muslims, or Christians. While Muslims and Christians worship in Mosques and Churches respectively, Pagans generally have no common agreement on what and where to worship - they range from worshipping nothing to a variety of idols - therefore no reason for a common shrine, powerful enough to attrack business tycoons and politicians from far away places like Lagos. To a large extent, these idols worshippers do it in their respective homes individually as opposed to the Okija professional shrines which are registered with the Ministry of Trade and Industries and the Nigerian Business Bureau.

I personally do not care about what Okija people elect to worship, but they shouldn't be making any false generalizations to the effect that, all Nigerians are worshipping what they do.

Aug 10, 2004, 08:15 PM
Okija: Chief priests invoke spirits against raiders
-Ngige denies involvement


CHIEF priests of various shrines in the South-East said yesterday morning that those who raided the Ogwugwu Okija shrines should appease the deity or suffer impending doom.

They also kicked off a seven-day fast and one-hour a day incantation to protest the defilement of the Ogwugwu enclaves in Ihiala council area of Anambra State.

Also, the state government has denied claims that Gov. Chris Ngige was behind the raid on the shrines to cover up an alleged past involvement there, saying it was false.

The government instead said it is awaiting a police report at the end of its investigation.

Spokesman of the Anambra State chapter of the League of Chief Priests in the South-East, Chief Onuchukwu James Clark, told newsmen in Awka, that shrines are no hide-outs for evildoers, but places of worship of traditional religion, saying the present controversy over the Okija shrines was unnecessary.

The fasting and incantations would be simultaneous in all the shrines in the South-East, Clark said.

He alleged that Mr. Chukwuemezie Obed Igwe, who petitioned the police over the Okija shrines, runs the "Lord Symbad Temple at Amuwo-Odofin in Lagos State.

"He has a shrine in Lagos where he allegedly does all manner of things, yet, it doesn't mean that shrines are hide-out for evil doers; it's a place of peace and worship. If the police invite me, I will take them to his (Igwe's) house, he is not a born-again, he also worships Ogwugwu shrine," he alleged.

The chief priest said "let the police go to Lord Symbad Temple at Amuwo-Odofin in Lagos State and find out what he does there."

He urged those involved in the Ogwugwu Okija raid to immediately appease the goddess of Ogwugwu to avert impending doom.

Clark listed other shrines in Anambra State as Iyioji Odekpe of Ogbaru, Habba of Agulu, Ogwugwu Akpo Ozubulu, Edo Nnewi, saying that across the country such shrines exist even in greater abundance.

He said the shrines are altars where believers of the deities invoke spirits to fight for them.

Clark noted that traditional religion is not unconstitutional, contending that destruction of the Okija shrines is in breach of the freedom of worship by those who believe in the deities; but pointed out that ritual killing is not part of traditional religious practice.

Another Chief Priest, Chief Donatus Obiogbolu Abajui of Iheneri-Umuhu-Ihe shrine in Okija, told Daily Champion on telephone that his hands are clean of ritual accusations.

"My hands are clean and I must tell you that what the police did was injustice. Mine shrine is for the protection of the less privileged in the society. I stand for justice and that is all," he said.

Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity to the Anambra Governor, Mr. Fred Chukwuelobe, told Daily Champion that those behind the rumour that Gov. Ngige instigated the raid on the shrines were lying.

"We are aware that some enemies of the governor can go to any length to tarnish his image, including dragging his name into the Okija shrine debacle," Chukwuelobe said.

"But the governor is not bothered. He has made it clear that he never went into that shrine. When as an aspirant they forced him to go there, he refused to enter, he stayed in his car with his Bible and holy water in his hand," the aide stated.

He noted that "even as we speak, the governor doesn't know how the shrine looks like, all that they are saying is false, malicious and a calculated attempt to tarnish is good image."

"The governor is a Christian and had never and will never have anything to do with shrine. So, he didn't pay anybody to give information to the police regarding the shrine," he added.

On the feeling of the state government over such development in its domain, he stated that "the government is watching; the police is operating within the armpits of law. So, what government is expecting is report that will arise from the police investigation."

Aug 10, 2004, 09:00 PM
Those definitions are according to you. We all understand the cogent need for you people to categorize all Nigerians as Idol worshippers in order to appear as not doing anything out of the ordinary in the 21st Century. Unfortunately, Okija shrines are uncovered in Igboland, not Benue or elsewhere, so there is no amount of convolution you can tender here to argue otherwise. Until you statistically demonstrate that, shrines are everywhere in Nigeria, I believe your attempt to redefine shrine in order to identify it everywhere in Nigeria is a monumental waste of time. The fact of the matter is, whether shrines are idols or a tradition, or just culture, the qualifying word remains "Igbo", not "Nigeria" or "Benue".

Aug 10, 2004, 09:01 PM
Tuesday, August 10, 2004
Okija: IGP Gets Interim Report

Uba denies visiting shrine
From Chuks Okocha in Abuja and Charles Onyekamuo in Awka

The Anambra State police command yesterday said it has forwarded an interim report on its findings from the Ogwugwu shrine in Okija community which was raided last week.

Although detail of the interim report have not been disclosed, THISDAY, gathered that it contains names of prominent politicians, businessmen and traditional rulers found in the register.

The command's spokesman, Mr Kolapo Shofoluwe, who briefed newsmen on an update on the shrine where over 50 dead bodies and 30 human skulls were discovered in a shocking raid by the police last Tuesday, however, said investigations into the activities of the various shrines in the forest of Ogwugwu deity in Okija, Ihiala local government area of the state were still on.

He said one of the priests of the deity whom he identified as a principal player in the Ogwugwu saga, whose action called the petition leading to the raid of the shrine is on the run. The police spokesman said efforts were being made by the police to nab him.

He also said a special police squad had been on surveillance at the shrine.

Meanwhile, Chief Chris Uba, the estranged godfather of Chris Ngige, has described reports of his visit to the Okija shrine as untrue and unfortunate.

The refutal came in the wake of reports that Uba took Ngige to the Okija Shrine to extract an oath of loyalty from the governor.

However, a statement signed on behalf of Uba by one of his aides, Chukwuemeka Anyasi, stated that "For records purposes, Uba at no time visited the Okija shrine to extract commitment from Chief Chris Ngige who he sponsored to become governor."

"The fact that Uba's name is not in the so called register at the shrine is a testimony to his transparency. Also, none of the priests of Okija shrine has identified Uba as a patron of the shrine," Anyas stated.

The statement added that Uba only limited his role in Anambra state governorship elections to political and financial support and that the goodwill he built over the years was never induced in any form.

Uba in the statement said Ngige should answer the question whether he was at the Okija shrine or not.

"He was the one who said that he went to a shrine. You will also recall that Uba was the one who exposed the issue of swearing at a shrine.

"Being the main issue in Anambra politics, Uba has no business in going fetish to either draw support or attract loyalty from Ngige. The circumstances under which Uba emerged as a number one politician in Anambra State was borne out of patriotism than any selfish or fetish purpose," the statement noted.

The police in Anambra State had last Tuesday following a tip off raided a shrine belonging to two deities known as "Ogwugwu-Akpu," and "Ogwu-Isiala," in Okija, Ihiala local government area of the state. The raid led to the arrest of 30 priests including two chief priests ministering to the deities.

Anambra Police Commissioner, Mr Felix Ogbaudu who briefed journalists on the raid at the state police command, said he had on July 26 received information that some kind of ritual killings were going on somewhere in Okija.

Based on that, he said, his men including the Assistant Commissioner, Operations, Chief Superintendent, Gabriel Haruna and over 80 other mobile policemen stormed the location of the deities in Okija.

The sight according to the report was very sordid and the revelation shocking, leading to the recovery of about 20 human skulls, 50 corpses at various stages of decomposition in the thick forest known as the Ogwugwu deity.

Besides, about 10 registers of the dead who were thrown into the forest were recovered from the house of the 90 year old Chief Priest of the Ogwugwu Isiala, and Ogwugwu Akpu deities, Pa Charles Okolie Ndukwu, who police now said, was at large.

Following the raid on the shrine, Secretary General of Ohaneze, Joe Achuzie accused the police of ridiculing Igbo tradition. Ngige who said he was taken to the shrine by the Uba group before last year's elections, has denied entering the shrine.

Aug 10, 2004, 09:16 PM
What is a shrine? From Dictionary.com (dictionary.reference.com/...?q=shrine) (http://dictionary.reference.com/search?q=shrine)) I got these:


A container or receptacle for sacred relics; a reliquary.

The tomb of a venerated person, such as a saint.
A place at which devotion is paid to a venerated person.
A site hallowed by a venerated object or its associations: Independence Hall, shrine of American liberty.

tr.v. shrined, shrin·ing, shrines
To enshrine.

Shrine\ (shr[imac]n), n. [OE. schrin, AS. scr[=i]n, from L. scrinium a case, chest, box.] 1. A case, box, or receptacle, especially one in which are deposited sacred relics, as the bones of a saint.

2. Any sacred place, as an altar, tromb, or the like.

Too weak the sacred shrine guard. --Byron.

3. A place or object hallowed from its history or associations; as, a shrine of art.

[Free Trial - Merriam-Webster Unabridged.]
Source: Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary, © 1996, 1998 MICRA, Inc.


\Shrine\, n. Short for

Ancient Arabic Order of Nobles of the Mystic Shrine, a secret order professedly originated by one Kalif Alu, a son-in-law of Mohammed, at Mecca, in the year of the Hegira 25 (about 646 a. d.) In the modern order, established in the United States in 1872, only Knights Templars or thirty-second degree Masons are eligible for admission, though the order itself is not Masonic.

[Free Trial - Merriam-Webster Unabridged.]
Source: Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary, © 1996, 1998 MICRA, Inc.


n : a place of worship hallowed by association with some sacred thing or person v : enclose in a shrine; "the saint's bones were enshrined in the cathedral" [syn: enshrine]


A shrine is a shrine; it does not matter if it is in the living room or one special room that nobody opens. It does not matter how many adherents. A Rosicrucian (AMORC) with a particular room where nobody enters has a shrine, Roman Catholics have shrines with statues of Virgin Mary and other saints - they congregate, pray and bow down before the statues. It is a shrine. The Benue medicine man in this BBC report (news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world...28519.stm) (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/africa/3328519.stm)) had a shrine where he prepared his charm.

Those Hausa performers that run swords across their stomach and play with dangerous snakes got their charm from somewhere and that place must have a shrine. They don't pick the charm from Ministry of Acrobatis and Performances. Some medicine man prepared it. I helped an Idoma man on my way to Oturkpo. He gave an effusive thank you to me and my friend. He said he didn't have anything to give us but he would take us to his house and give us anti-bullet charm. We declined and thanked him. Where does he prepare the medicine? Somewhere with some idols and the location is a shrine.

What is the difference between a shrine and idol? Idols are the tangible things one sees at a shrine. For the Catholics the statue of the Virgin Mary is the idol while the place the statue stands with those dimming lights is the shrine. For someone who has a mobile idol, there is a place he keeps it when comes home. That place is the shrine. For Budhists, they have a place to keep Budha and based on the definition above, that place is a shrine

As for the Okija shrine, just like the Isrealites (not the Isrealis) in the Bible had the descendants of Levi (Aaron, Moses brother was the first Chief High Priest) as the priests, Ogwugwu has priests and it is hereditary. Ogwugwu is not a worship center where people gather to give praises and thanks to an unknown/known god, rather where an aggrieved individual takes a case in a quest for justice. The person is not required to come back to offer thanks and praises, there is no membership requirement. Unlike the priest in the terbanacle in Isreal, Ogwugwu priest is running a family business inherited from his father and not a business for his village. The villagers do not contribute to the upkeep of the shrine, they are not obligated to the shrine in any way or form except if the village decides to take a case there, or was called to answer to a petition.

Therefore, shrines are all over Nigeria; north, west, east, south.

Aug 11, 2004, 05:05 AM
I see dumb people. They can't read.

Aug 11, 2004, 05:15 AM
This one pass me O! (http://www.cnn.com/2004/WORLD/asiapcf/08/10/philippines.cannibal.ap/index.html)

I think the safest bet is to become a vegetarian

Aug 11, 2004, 08:42 AM
I see dumb people. They can't read

Not only are they dumb, and cannot read, they also have NO idea about generalizable limitations of findings such as Okijia shrines. The Okija findings cannot be generalized because:

1.) Respondents in the debacle were not representative of Nigeria.

2.) The nonprobability sampling method used by the police in making their discovery totally eliminates generalizability of their findings in Okija.

3). Respondents in the Okija debacle were all of one ethnic group, suggesting the motivation for idol-worshipping for this group of people might differ significantly from other ethnic groups in Nigeria.

4.) Respondents attested that shrines in their communities were passed down from generation to generation, and that the very ones discovered by the police existed for thousands of years before they were passed down to the present generation, and all who inherited them are originally from Okija and South Eastern environs; again, suggesting that, shrines are an inherited culture of this group of people, therefore the police findings in Okija cannot be scientifically generalized over the Nigerian population. :rollin

It's funny that people who have in the passed attempted in various ways to explain cultural differences between them and others would suddenly not see those differences when things get tough and nasty.

There are requirements for making generalizations even from research findings. The Okija findings of criminal shrines simply do not meet that threshold, therefore, it cannot be generalized that, there are shrines everywhere in Nigeria.

Aug 11, 2004, 10:24 AM
Zaiyol, now you have spoilt it.

I was reading your response to NdiIgbo and was enjoying your analyses until I got to number 3.

1.) Respondents in the debacle were not representative of Nigeria.

2.) The nonprobability sampling method used by the police in making their discovery totally eliminates generalizability of their findings in Okija.

Nos 1&2 are apt.

3). Respondents in the Okija debacle were all of one ethnic group, suggesting the motivation for idol-worshipping for this group of people might differ significantly from other ethnic groups in Nigeria.
Now you are generalizing the findings in Okija to one ethnic group. What percentage of that ethnic group is represented by the Okija population?
What is the evidence that people who were not from Okija and its environs took part in the going on there?

4.) Respondents attested that shrines in their communities were passed down from generation to generation, and that the very ones discovered by the police existed for thousands of years before they were passed down to the present generation, and all who inherited them are originally from Okija and South Eastern environs; again, suggesting that, shrines are an inherited culture of this group of people, therefore the police findings in Okija cannot be scientifically generalized over the Nigerian population.

Shrines/African traditional religion was always with us. What differs in most Nigerian communities is the acceptability of the practices which occur in these shrines. You may doubt it, but it is true that shrines abound in many parts of Nigeria, what is clear is that

1) I am unsure if there is any one of them where human remains are openly displayed.

2) because of the Acceptability/Unacceptability factor most of these shrines are personal and often discrete because of possible sanctions one would face from family/friends if it were known that one patronises the shrine.

Any way, I think the attempt at damage limitation by the Okija chief is very lame.

Aug 11, 2004, 11:28 PM

I was away in Maryland during all of last week, attending the 12th Annual convention of the Mutual Union of the Tivs in America (Mzough U Tiv hen America), MUTA. Partly due to the crowded calendar of the event, one was hardly in a position to engage in activities not directly related to the convention. It was almost impossible to even undertake the most routine of tasks like checking one's e-mail. That is how some of us were made to temporarily enjoy a news blackout regarding the horrors of the "evil forest" in Anambra.

I must say that I'm glad that instead of trying to sanitize the macabre aura hanging over the clearly criminal activities of these Igbo witch doctors, some of the conceivably Igbo forumites here seem to be making a serious effort at further informing us about this ugly phenomenon of cultural 419 with deadly consequences. Yet, we as a nation, should strive to go beyond finding the immediate culprits or personnages involved in what is no doubt an organized get-rich-quick scheme with peculiar local traits. The feeling of rage and indignation we are today witnessing in the media is an indication that what has been happening in the evil forests of Anambra is contrary to any sense of human decency and morality nomatter to what cultural/communal affiliations we may subscribe. What this means is that there must be a concerted move on the part of civil society in particular to fight similar forms of cultural depravity in our society.

It is perhaps instructive in this regard that, for instance, not long ago, media reports pointing to alleged criminal activities associated with the murders of innocent individuals whose heads were to be buried in primitive rituals with the deceased Oba of Lagos did not receive the required indignation and action on the part of the various judicial authorities at either the local or national level. Remarkably also, the usually loquacious Lagos-Ibadan press remained relatively "tame" concerning those reported acts of nauseating atavism. It is probably in the context of this apparent lack of symmetry in these matters that one should situate the rather clumsy remarks by the secretary-general of Ohaneze.

But the fact remains that Nigerian society is fundamentally a backward society where superstition, greed and criminal pursuits have converged in a most potent conflagration without the countervailing influences of a strong and viable modern state. As has been aptly pointed out earlier, symbols of the Nigerian state in the likes of President Obasanjo tend to inspire distrust and even ridicule when we as a people are confronted with aberrations like the skulls and bodies in the evil forests of Anambra. Or the countless limbs and severed heads of innocent Nigerians - victims of irrational ritualistic practices - in most of the South but also in much of Nigeria. While the state must assume its constitutional responsibility and defend the people from the criminal shenanigans of cultural 419ners and other devients or criminals, the citizenry in general, and especially its most educated segments, should endeavour to expose and discard those practices or tendencies which run counter to the defence and projection of human dignity as well as our collective self-interest. Reuben Abati's commentary has done a good job of helping situate the Anambra corpse factory in its proper social context, but we should move beyond that and seek broader, long-term solutions to this collective shame of backward ritualism and tradition.

Aug 11, 2004, 11:48 PM
But the fact remains that Nigerian society is fundamentally a backward society where superstition, greed and criminal pursuits have converged in a most potent conflagration without the countervailing influences of a strong and viable modern state. As has been aptly pointed out earlier, symbols of the Nigerian state in the likes of President Obasanjo tend to inspire distrust and even ridicule when we as a people are confronted with aberrations like the skulls and bodies in the evil forests of Anambra. Or the countless limbs and severed heads of innocent Nigerians - victims of irrational ritualistic practices - in most of the South but also in much of Nigeria. While the state must assume its constitutional responsibility and defend the people from the criminal shenanigans of cultural 419ners and other devients or criminals, the citizenry in general, and especially its most educated segments, should endeavour to expose and discard those practices or tendencies which run counter to the defence and projection of human dignity as well as our collective self-interest. Reuben Abati's commentary has done a good job of helping situate the Anambra corpse factory in its proper social context, but we should move beyond that and seek broader, long-term solutions to this collective shame of backward ritualism and tradition.


Welcome back from the Tiv meeting. I hope you sensitized your fellow Tiv a little on the need for an NC .:lol

Anyway, your contribution above, though belated ( I was wondering where you were) may stoke some fires here. Some have told us that no crime has yet been established and that the shrine and its activities do not prove that Anambra or Nigeria is a backward society. So tread carefully. There is, in the midst of these happenings, a tremendous outpouring of misguided(?) Afrocentrism.

Aug 12, 2004, 12:07 AM
Excuse me People; but I have to rouse me from my slumber yet once more.

Please, please - all our suave and svelte Africans on this board please enlighten me -

1. What is wrong with worshipping at a shrine?

2. What is wrong with worshipping at a shrine where Human remains are used for decoration - or for any other purpose.

3. Are the subjects of the 2 questions above prohibited by the laws of the Nigerian State?

4. And if they are (which I suspect they arent) - what would be the raison d'etre behind such a prohibition?

I really want to know the answers to these questions. I just cant believe what people have been saying on this topic.

Aug 12, 2004, 08:15 AM

At least we have agreed on two major points regarding generalizability of Okija shrines, namely: (a) respondents were not representative of Nigeria, and (b) the use of nonprobability method by the police precludes generalizability of the findings. I don't need to argue the rationale for those reasons you disputed because all you need is just ONE reason to disqualify the findings from being generalized over Nigerian population. Thanks for responding..

Elsewhere, Ohanaeze has vehemently rejected the notion being propounded by some people on this forum that, shrines are both an Igbo and Nigerian culture, and are everywhere in Nigeria.

Okija: IG gets presidential order, Ohanaeze disowns shrine

By Kingsley Omonobi
Wednesday, August 11, 2004

ABUJA " INSPECTOR General of Police, Mr. Tafa Balogun, received a presidential directive yesterday to personally take charge of the on-going investigation into the Okija Shrines, where the police last week recovered 20 human skulls and a fresh corpse. The IG is also to ensure that the brains behind the rituals, whatever their status, are brought to book.

The pan-Igbo socio-cultural group, Ohanaeze, in its first reaction to the Okija incident disowned a statement credited to its Secretary-General, Chief Joe Achuzia, to the effect that the police raid on the shrines was uncalled for, and that shrines are part of Igbo tradition. The Ohanaeze described the Okija discovery as a major tragedy, and alien to Ndigbo. Meanwhile, the man who assisted the police in unraveling the Okija shrines has cried out over alleged threats to his life.

Already, a detachment of about 70 heavily armed policemen from Mopol 44, Abuja, led by an Assistant Commissioner of Police, has left the Federal Capital for Awka and Okija to secure the 35 suspects already arrested, arrest more if need be and take along very important evidence to Force Headquarters, Abuja. Police sources told Vanguard that the president was personally interested in the matter, following the horrifying revelations, the interest it has generated worldwide and the need to use the Okija incident to send a once and for all signal to ritualists in the country that the time has come for an end to their blood sucking escapades. Two trucks, one Mercedez Benz 911 and one Tata truck, were seen loaded with mobile policemen singing war songs while a pick-up van carrying officers and another 504 salon escort car were seen heading to the Anambra State capital, Awka at about 6p.m. yesterday.

Vanguard also learnt that the action of the presidency might not be unconnected with the position of the Anambra State Police Commissioner, Mr. Felix Ogbaudu, that the shrines were used for advance fee fraud purposes to dupe people and not any form of worship or judgement as claimed by some people. According to sources, nobody has been able to explain how the four fresh heads of people got to the shrines if indeed, the shrines and skulls found there have been in existence for different reasons other than ritual killings or 419 purposes. Besides, findings of the police showed that almost all the suspects including the priests, the servants, and errand boys all boast of multi-million naira mansions in Awka and Okija which convinced the police that the shrines were used for 419 purposes. Sources said a building belonging to a servant of a chief priest which the police visited during investigations was valued at over N100 million.

*Ohanaeze reacts

And in a statement yesterday, the Ohanaeze said its Secretary-General, Chief Achuzia, was not speaking for it when he tried to justify the existence of the shrines.

Its words: "Ohanaeze Ndigbo and the dynamic, humane and civilised Igbo race that it represents, totally and completely dissociates itself from the statements and allegations contained in these reports attributed to Colonel Joe Achuzia (rtd), its Secretary-General. Ohanaeze does not believe that its Secretary-General made these unauthorised statements, which unjustly portray Ndigbo as primitive, inhumane and barbaric, especially as these statements do not represent, even remotely, the official position of Ohanaeze Ndigbo. In any event, all the information and allegations contained in the said reports are totally alien to the leadership of Ohanaeze and to millions of reputable and responsible Ndigbo who are busy carrying on their businesses within the provisions of the law.

"Whilst Ohanaeze is investigating the authenticity of these reports, we state below the official position of Ohanaeze Ndigbo on each of the main allegations as expressed in these reports.

"Ohanaeze Ndigbo is a responsible law-abiding organisation totally committed to the modern concepts of democracy and the rule of law. It endorses and recognises the duties and responsibilities of the police in the enforcement of the laws of the land. Ohanaeze and the millions of law-abiding Ndigbo whose interests and aspirations it represents, will never support any attempt to restrain the police or any other law enforcement agency from carrying out, justly and equitably, its legitimate functions aimed at detecting crimes and protecting the rights and interests of the people.

"Ndigbo in the 20th and 21st centuries are amongst the most humane and civilised beings, not just in modern Africa, but in the world. All they demand is justice for all, a level playing field and freedom under the law so that they can exercise their skills and carry on their legitimate businesses peacefully. Ohanaeze maintains that there is no truth whatsoever in the allegations contained in these unfortunate reports that it is part of the culture, history and tradition of Ndigbo to deal in human skulls in shrines in the manner described in these reports and in the alleged interview.

"To the best of our knowledge, the existence of the said shrines and their procedures as described in these reports are totally alien to Ohanaeze as a body and to Ndigbo in general, and neither the present leadership nor those before it seemed to have any knowledge of such shrines.

"In line with their commitment to the modern principles of justice and the rule of law, Ohanaeze and the millions of Ndigbo that it represents recognise, and subscribe to the jurisdiction of the regular courts as prescribed in the laws of the land. To this end, Ohanaeze and Ndigbo are not in support of any other 'parallel' judicial system presided over by 'priests and gods' that dispense instant justice, including the death penalty as described in these shocking reports. Ohanaeze Ndigbo believes that the Okija discovery is a major tragedy that calls for serious reflection by all right-thinking Nigerians.

"In the light of the foregoing, Ohanaeze Ndigbo will continue to work with other Nigerians to eliminate all those factors that create and sustain the kind of society that harbours the negative factors, which impede our transition to the modern nation of our dream.

"In view of the serious issues raised by the Okija shrines issues and the reports that followed, the President-General of Ohanaeze has directed that an emergency meeting of the principal organs of Ohanaeze be summoned to deliberate on the subject. Thereafter, a major press conference would be addressed on behalf of Ohanaeze Ndigbo."

lnformant cries out over life.

Meanwhile, Chief Chukwumeze Nwachinemelu Igwe who said he assisted the police in unravelling the Okija shrines has written a petition to the police, alleging threats to his life.

He said: "Ever since the matter was blown open, my life has been put in danger. I have been receiving threat letters and strange telephone calls from different quarters. Attached are photocopies of some of the letters.

"I implore the Federal Government of Nigeria through the Nigeria police or her security agents to give me and members of my family protection so that I will not regret helping the Nigeria police in carrying out their civic responsibilities. There are other startling revelations I can make about the Okija shrines which I will not make until I am convinced that my life, family and property are safe and possibly if I can be made to see the president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria."

Aug 12, 2004, 08:39 AM
"2. What is wrong with worshipping at a shrine where Human remains are used for decoration - or for any other purpose."


Aug 12, 2004, 04:30 PM
Thursday, August 12 2004

Ngige drove us to Okija shrine - Nzeribe - They took me there at gun point - Ngige

Onyedi Ojiabor and John Ameh

Fresh details of how Anambra State Governor, Dr. Chris Ngige, his estranged political godfather, Chief Chris Uba, and four others visited the controversial Okija shrine in Ihiala Local Government Area emerged on Tuesday night in Abuja.

A member of the House of Representatives, Mr Chuma Nzeribe, who admitted being on the trip, claimed that it was Ngige who actually drove the party of six to the shrine.

He said the visit to the shrine was at the instance of Ngige.

Nzeribe named the former Deputy Governor of the state, Dr. Okey Udeh; Senator Ikechukwu Abana; and Chief Okechukwu Odunze as the others that accompanied the governor to swear to an oath of allegiance to Uba and his group.

Abana has, however, denied being part of the team.

The police in the state raided the once dreaded shrine last week, recovering 20 human skulls, 50 decomposing bodies and registers believed to contain names of suspected patrons and victims.

Nzeribe who represents Ihiala Federal Constituency told journalists that they watched from a point close to the shrine, as the governor who he alleged was a friend of the shrine's chief priest, took the oath.

The lawmaker said, " A few days to the governorship election, I stopped over in Chief Uba's house in Awka where I met the then Senator-elect, Abana; Ngige, Udeh, and Uba. They were in the room discussing the apparent lack of confidence in Ngige due to a possible betrayal of trust.

"Ngige was being asked to step down and he was crying profusely and pleading with everybody in the room to forgive him when I stepped in.

"Ngige was saying that he was ready to swear to an oath of allegiance to Uba and his group and that even if it meant going to the shrine, that he was prepared to take them there."

Meanwhile, Ngige has confirmed going to the Ogwugwu shrine with Chief Chuma Nzeribe, a lawmaker from the state in the National Assembly and others only under duress.

Speaking with our correspondent through his Senior Special Assistant, Media and Publicity, Mr. Fred Chukwuelobe, in Awka, on Wednesday, Ngige said that he was forced to go to the shrine before his inauguration in 2003 by his estranged godfather, Chief Chris Uba, in the company of Nzeribe, whom he said was the link man between the priests at the shrine and interested clients.

Ngige said, "I was helpless at the time, as I had no security. These people were deadly, they had guns and other deadly weapons. Well, we went, they tried to force me down from my car, but I said, no, I would remain in my car.

"So, I remained in my car, while Nzeribe and those guarding them, went into the shrine and did whatever they wanted to do. That is all, I had my Bible with me."

Accoding to Nzeribe, Ngige specifically requested that Udeh should accompany them to the shrine.

He added that a heated argument ensued between Udeh and Ngige when the former reminded the governor that it was not his (Udeh) loyalty that was in question.

The lawmaker claimed, " Ngige himself offered to take us to a shrine in Okija. I think by this act, he was trying to solicit indirectly, my backing being that Okija is in my constituency.

"But no true son of Ihiala can go to Okija Shrine. In a matter of public morality, in a matter of ancestral consideration, I cannot subordinate myself to an Okija Shrine. So I could not have taken Ngige to Okija shrine.

"Dr. Ngige was not drunk, he was not forced. It was his entire suggestion and he went there. He drove the car himself. Chief Uba never went there. It was Ngige who drove the car himself and the time I'm talking about was 3 am.

"I am not from that town, I didn't go to the shrine with him. I was in the car, Senator Abana was in the car, and Dr. Okey Odunze was in the car. I am not a member, so I refused to go up there.

"When we got up to a point, Ngige came down from the car and walked up to the shrine because the chief priest is his friend. He went up there and took his oath. The distance between the car and the shrine was at least 50 metres, half the size of a football field.

"If Ngige acknowledged that he went to the shrine, which means that he saw dead bodies and human skulls, as a responsible citizen of Nigeria so to say, as a medical doctor, as a former federal civil servant, as a governor in waiting (then) and as a Christian, a Catholic that he professes to be, did he notify the police or any security agency about the existence of human remains in Okija shrine, if he was so forced to go there."

Nzeribe, who said Ngige remained the "fit and proper person" to assist the police in their investigation into the fetish activities in the shrine, explained that in the past one year, he had refused to be dragged into the controversy surrounding the governor's visit because of the ''babel of voices, half truths and outright lies of Ngige."

Abana also dismissed Nzeribe's claim, saying he was not on the team to the shrine.

"I never went with them. Whatever Chuma Nzeribe told you was what he did, not what I did. I never went with anybody to the shrine. I know nothing about it," he told our correspondents on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, Chief Chukwumezie Obed Igwe, the man who provided the information that enabled police raid the shrine has alleged threats to his life.

In a letter dated August 9 and addressed to the Inspector-General of Police, Mr. Tafa Balogun, he implored the Federal Government and the police to save his life.

Igwe who attached photocopies of four handwritten letters which, according to him were sent to him by unknown persons, added that he was prepared to provide the police with "other starling revelations about Okija Shrine" once he was sure that his life would be protected.

The fresh details of the visit to the shrine came as a contingent of riot policemen arrived the state on Wednesday morning to take over the investigation into the activities of those behind the Okija shrine.

Our correspondents gathered that the team on arrival in Awka , the state capital at about 10am immediately headed for the office of the Ogbaudu.

Ogbaudu was said to have briefed the members of the team on the latest developments on the Okija saga, before formally handing over the investigations to them.

The command's Public Relations Officer, Mr. Kolapo Shofoluwe, described them as "team and not a reinforcement, as had been speculated earlier"

Shofoluwe said, "They have arrived. Abuja has formally taken over the matter; it is no longer in our hands. We have handed over everything on the Okija issue to them.''

The arrival of the team was hailed by two of the state's prominent and respected traditional rulers - Igwe of Nri in Aniocha Local Government Area, Obidegwu Onyeso and that of Enugu-Agidi in Njikoka Local Government Area, Davidson Ikeanyi.

The Punch, Thursday August 12, 2004

Aug 13, 2004, 06:35 PM
THE GUARDIAN - Editorial
LAGOS, NIGERIA. Friday, August 13 2004

The shrines at Okija

EVEN as it raises several posers begging for thorough exposition, the discovery and revelation by the police of the Ogwugwu Isiala shrine in Okija, Ihiala Local Government Area of Anambra State last week deserves total condemnation. Findings in the shrine are not just horrific; they are demonic, inhuman, barbaric and illegal. Certainly the findings cannot be justified under the guise of culture and tradition.

In the present age, there is no acceptable Nigerian culture that revels in death, sorcery and mystery of the type that characterised the Okija shrine. Yes, myth and certain beliefs are enshrined in culture. But it should not be to the extent in which a whole community or society is held in fear and psychological captivity; or a situation where a handful of people, who call themselves priests, arrogate to themselves the power of life and death over other citizens. The Nigerian culture is not a merchant of death that operates silently, arrogantly in the dark and in secrecy. That is the way of Okija shrine. It therefore has no cover under culture or tradition.

It was traumatic for Nigerians to say the least, when a team of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) of the Nigeria Police, led by Anambra State Police Commissioner, Felix Ogbaudu stormed the Okija shrine. Acting on a tip-off, along with investigation of a petition written to the Inspector General, Tafa Balogun, the Police reportedly uncovered at the shrine 50 corpses, some of them fresh. They also found about 20 human skulls and 10 registers of people believed to have died at the shrine or whose corpses were deposited there. At the state police command in Amawbia near Awka, 30 arrested men aged between 30 and 60 and described as priests of the dreaded shrine, were paraded before newsmen along with an embalmed corpse of a man in a white coffin.

The sight in the Okija shrine is better imagined than experienced. Even with the police narration, it was gory and does not belong to any community in the 21st century anywhere in the world. One of the chief priests, Osita Ndukwa, reportedly said there are more shrines apart from the discovered one and that he and his people simply used the shrine in the business of settling disputes, apportioning blame through the deity and in the process, causing the death of the guilty. Indeed, the police have uncovered 10 more shrines in the environs. From the totality of findings, the practice in Okija points to ritual sacrifices, murder and illegal transaction in human parts. Many of the corpses discovered had no heads and their other vital parts are presumed to have been tampered with, for ritual purposes.

The discovery calls for concern and a major investigation. Fair enough, the police have shown a reasonable degree of seriousness, going by the massiveness of their onslaught on the community. It is surprising however, that such disdainful pastime had thrived for so long before being unearthed. Could that be a result of some ineptitude by the Police

Or is the occultic activities so dreaded that the victims and law-abiding citizens of Okija had been afraid to speak up
Perhaps a combination of the two factors, and more, has been at work. The police have a duty to unravel the mystery and speak up to the public. Indications are that powerful rich people from Anambra and possibly neighbouring states are entwined in the morbid saga. Who are these people
The police should find and name them whether dead or alive.
Nigerians also want to know what the stakes are. Obviously, they must be high. Why else would the accosted priests appear so bold, so calm and so unremorseful about their deeds

The fact that they are looking well maintained should raise questions about their livelihood. What are they getting from their priesthood and how
Is it true that the material property, sometime human survivors, of their victims revert to them upon the victim's death
What property if any have the priests amassed and what is the source of their wealth
These questions and more require urgent explanation. The police should also go after other priests and their associates who are reported to have fled their villages following the police raid. If the suspects truly believe that they are innocent of any wrongdoing why are they fleeing
What kind of people are they who live among unburied corpses and routinely tamper with them
What kind of culture permits such weird disposition
The Okija shrines constitute a sad pointer to the human degradation in the land. It is even sadder that more sinister and dastardly shrines exist in practically other parts of the country. What else could be responsible for daily reports of human sacrifice for ritual purposes

Why are suspects being daily apprehended for possessing fresh human body parts
What is the explanation for countless incidents of missing persons who simply disappear from the face of the earth with no trace whatsoever
Why are citizens' eyes being plucked after they have been drugged or simply overpowered by fellow citizens
What sorts of persons live on these despicable undertakings
What joy, what money do they derive from the evil venture that can justify the desecration of nature and God's work
It is the duty of the police to prevent, detect crime and bring criminals to book. The people who engage in ritual practices are not ghosts. Many of them were reportedly arrested, but hardly does the public know of any eventual legal punishment being meted out to them. The general perception is that soon after the euphoria of their capture, the culprits and their associates buy their way to freedom. In the present instance, this should not be the case.

Largely too, the society has failed for being too materialistic and for worshipping money, without showing a corresponding interest in its source. That is why otherwise decent people resort to self-help at the expense of the society. That is why people no longer have faith in due process, but prefer a relapse to primordial instincts at a time they should be distancing themselves from such. Sadly, the gross majority who are God-fearing and abhor evil fetishes have folded their hands and allowed themselves to be cowed by the tiny minority who would stop at nothing to be rich. It should not be so. Nigerians owe themselves a duty to help the police to help them. Criminals of all sorts live among us. We must call their bluff to expose them to law enforcement agents. The basic task ahead is how to develop the people's confidence in the state and its systems, in order to draw them away from a blind dependence on shrines, priests and occultism.

In the present case, the police should do everything to protect the source of their information. Indeed they must protect their information at all times if they hope for meaningful cooperation from the public. But the greatest challenge for them now is to carry out a complete mop up operation on the culprits in the Okija episode. They must all be rounded up, charged and tried accordingly. There are enough laws in the criminal code to deal with offences so far uncovered. It is instructive that the pan Igbo socio-cultural organisation, Ohaneze Ndigbo has debunked the statement credited to its Secretary General, Col. Joe Achuzie blaming the police for the raid on the Okija shrines.

Among other things Achuzie had claimed that the incident was purely cultural and that the police was attempting to smear the Igbo reputation. But the organisation, through its National Publicity Secretary Emmanuel Ajoku has refuted the group's alleged aversion to the police action. He stressed that the organisation is not in support "of any other parallel judicial system presided over by priests and gods that dispense instant justice, including the death penalty as described in these shocking reports." We cannot agree more with the organisation. The saga is far from being symptomatic of the Nigerian way of life.

If the public authorities at the highest level are seriously concerned about Nigeria's image to the outside world, this is one evil whose roots must be wholly removed to prevent the spread of a leprosy nuisance.

Aug 13, 2004, 06:50 PM
Daily Independent Online. * Friday, August 13, 2004.

Those killed by Okija shrine are criminals - Chief priest

By Chris Agbambu (Abuja)

David Odey, Sebastine Ebhuomhan (Lagos)

and Okey Maduforo (Awka)

Hooked on the barbarism he has probably spent all his life practising, the chief priest of Okija shrine, Eddy Ndukwu, says the killings there are justified and vowed to continue the horrific vocation if he regains his freedom.

Ndukwu, who claims to be a devout Christian, said the victims were criminals.

When asked in police custody in Awka if he knew that the killing of human beings is unlawful, he replied: "Nobody has ever told me that it is unlawful. My forefathers, my grandfather, and my mother never told me that it is against the laws of the land. Nobody told me that if somebody is cheated, or offended and runs to the shrine for assistance, it is unlawful. I am just hearing that for the first time".

Backing him, South East Council of Chief Priests in Anambra State have started a seven-day fasting, prayers and hourly incantation over the raid on the shrine.

Their representative, Onuchukwu James Clerk, said in Awka that the practice of traditional religion is not against the Constitution and that the raid is a breach of their freedom of worship.

Meanwhile, all the 31 suspects arrested in connection with killings at the shrine were on Thursday moved to Abuja from Awka.

They arrived Abuja at about 4:15 p.m. with an escort of about 100 mobile policemen led by the inspector general of police monitoring team commanded by Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) Yusuf Ahmed.

The team also brought registers containing the names of the victims who died at the shrine as well as those who visited it.

Police believe that there are other shrines in Anambra and in the neighbouring Imo State, which they want to storm.

It is a hunch buttressed by claims by the Movement for the Actualisation of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB) that it had discovered about 200 shrines in Anmabra State long before the police swooped on Okija.

A member of MASSOB who pleaded anonymity, said the body had, in December last year, told its members to get the names of all the major shrines in Igboland with a view to praying for their destruction.

It was in the course of this exercise, he explained, that 200 shrines were discovered in Anambra State alone, and that it was after MASSOB members went into marathon prayers that the police swooped on Okija.

The operation was long overdue, as the shrine had been exposed five months ago by Daily Independent Breaking News.

On March 4, it published an exclusive story on the preservation of the corpse of the late Igbo billionaire, Victor Okafor, alias Ezego, at the shrine, years after his death and purported burial.

Aug 15, 2004, 01:29 AM
I think I'm gonna to take it easy on the veritable blockheads. USA is a land of freedom. This is a statement. Of course there are people who are denied freedom in USA.

There are shrines all over Nigeria. This also is a statement. It does not mean that everybody in Nigeria has a shrine; it does not mean that every town has a shrine and it does not mean that every Nigerian worships at a shrine. It is a statement, a statement made based on our history before the arrival, and even after the departure of the jihadists and the crusaders. Some of these shrines are dormant, some are active, some have become thick forests. But, but many of them are still there with little or no patronage and few adherents. Some are even a one-man operation.

In my part of Nigeria majority is Christian and Christianity is eating deep, converting "idol" worshippers and shrine devotees. However, there are people who serve two masters; they go to the shrine and still go to church.

For those who are aloof, lazy and incapacitated, they don't know jack about their environment; they just open their mouth and make claims based on their limited ability. But does that make my statement a false one? No!

In Onitsha where I was born and raised, there is a shrine by the name Otumoye or Nwangene on Bida Rd (a very busy street leading to Onitsha Main Market). Many grew up in Onitsha and still don't know about it but people who cared to know about their enviroment found out that sacrifices were made to the shrine by some Onitsha traditional institution.

On August 8, 2004 Zaiyol wrote and I quote:

I thoroughly disagree with the baseless generalization by Okija leaders that, "most towns in all parts of Nigeria still have shrines". I find it disappointing that, rather than defend or justifiably explain away, the reasons for the Okija shrines, they have dishonestly engaged in self-delusion that shrines are everywhere in Nigeria.

As far as I know, there are absolutely no shrines in northern Nigeria, unless these people are saying that, wherever, Okija people reside, they secretly set up shrines for their people. That is the only way, they can authoritatively claim that, shrines are in "most towns in all parts of Nigeria".

I grew up in Makurdi, with majority of my family members scattered all over northern Nigeria - from kano to Otukpo, and I never, not even once, heard of shrines in any of the cities in northern Nigeria.

In March 2004 there was an incident in Benue state. This is the Benue state where Zaiyol lived. His family members live/lived in Otukpo and I wonder if he spoke to them before his statement above. The links below will help on the incident in Benue State:

odili.net/news/source/200...31/29.html (http://odili.net/news/source/2004/mar/31/29.html) (Benue State)
odili.net/news/source/2004/may/9/37.html (http://odili.net/news/source/2004/may/9/37.html) (Benue State)

The statement below is from the second link and not my words:

"March 2004, another communal crisis exploded in Otukpo local council. In the wake of the crisis, the unholy combatants burned down over 100 houses. According to report, the crisis that erupted at Otukpo Kho, a stone throw from Otukpo town, the seat of Odi Idoma was a fall out of disagreements between two factions in the village. It was learnt that shortly after a traditional festival, both factions began a struggle over who was to take possession of the ancestral shrine"

I don't have to argue much but I will post some of the references to existing shrines that are outside of Igboland I found on Nigeriaworld.com. It was just a small search on nigeriaworld; not a search that took me to everywhere in Nigeria, not a search on google or yahoo. Below each link is a useful quote from the link.

odili.net/news/source/200...8/606.html (http://odili.net/news/source/2004/aug/8/606.html) (Calabar, Cross River State)

It would be recalled that the Cobham Town Combined Council had on February 24, 2004, announced the dethronement of Edidem Henshaw from Efik stool "following the performance of necessary rituals at the Efe Asabo," the kingship coronation shrine for his alleged refusal to present himself again at the shrine to "tat mbobo efe", (remove the leash of the shrine) and free him to rein over the Efik kingdom.

odili.net/news/source/200...2/311.html (http://odili.net/news/source/2004/aug/2/311.html) (Calabar, Cross River State)

In his statement on the reunification, the Obong said, "It would be recalled that during the wee hours of this morning, we visited our Kingship shrine, "Efe Asabo" in support and confirmation of the ascension of Hensaw VI on Efik throne. We appeased our gods and renewed that old Efik spirit with which our ancestors ruled the Calabar realm. And it covered the entire present Akwa Ibom State, parts of Abia and Imo State, Biase, Akamkpa, Ugep Eburutu to Ikom and Western Cameroon, including the offshore island of Fernando Po (now Equatorial Guinea).

odili.net/news/source/200...6/408.html (http://odili.net/news/source/2004/jul/26/408.html) (Somewhere in Western Nigeria)

His words: "In this therefore, for the people to now appreciate our efforts, we now come out with this solution though it might look unrealistic hence ordinary stone'; it is tested and confirmed. Those who have faith in traditional healing and prevention should always have it with them no matter how small it may be and those powerful forces rendered in word shall never befall such a person". The stone, according to the association, can be picked wherever it is seen once it is identified stressing that it would definitely work irrespective of whether it has been blessed from the shrine or not.

odili.net/news/source/200...19/24.html (http://odili.net/news/source/2004/jul/19/24.html) (Rivers State)

Dokubo, leader of an armed militia group whose photographs and his men in a local shrine located in the forest at an undisclosed spot in the Niger Delta were published in the newspapers last month has been declared wanted by the Rivers State police command.

odili.net/news/source/2004/jul/5/7.html (http://odili.net/news/source/2004/jul/5/7.html) (Edo State)

The state's Police Commissioner, Mr. Paul Ochonu, while fielding questions from newsmen in Benin in the wake of the robbery incident at the local foreign exchange market, said the Command had closed in on the bandits who were in military and police uniforms. said the robbers came in from outside Edo State and were taken to a shrinere they offered sacrifices before moving to the market where they carted away large sums of money.
The police chief explained that the driver of the bus used for the operation, the keeper of the shrine where the suspected criminals offered sacrifices and the leaders of the eight-man gang had so far been identified.

odili.net/news/source/200...18/46.html (http://odili.net/news/source/2004/may/18/46.html) (Edo State)

THE traditional head of a community in Edo State, chief priest of the community's shrine and six other suspects have been arrested by the police in the state in connection with the May 7 robbery of a Bureau de Change in Benin City in which eight Hausa money traders were shot dead in cold blood and foreign currency and naira, running into millions, were carted away in a daylight operation.
Commissioner Ochuno had while briefing journalists, last Wednesday, in his office, stated that the robbers, who disguised in army and police uniforms, made sacrifice to the gods at a shrine, belonging to the community. He said that both the Odionwere and the chief priest had been identified and placed under surveillance by the police.

odili.net/news/source/200...24/22.html (http://odili.net/news/source/2004/apr/24/22.html) (Akwa-Ibom)

Initially, an attempt was made to repair some of the shrines where the Ekpu figures were housed but later removed some of the carving for safe-keeping. His task was difficult because at that time the Ekpu cult had declined to the extent that the art of making them was virtually extinct and the shrines neglected, yet the owners were in general reluctant to part with them.

odili.net/news/source/200...10/19.html (http://odili.net/news/source/2004/apr/10/19.html) (Ondo State)

Besides, the main shrine located at Okitipupa described above is also found in many places- individuals who seek protection from Aiyelala have small shrines in their home. There are also public shrines erected in open places, especially, where Ilaje people are found in groups. Possibly, over-looking a river i.e. about 10-20 metres away from river. Along side such shrine there is a long pole bearing a piece of white cloth as a symbol of purity representing the purity of life required by Aiyelala.

odili.net/news/source/200...8/322.html (http://odili.net/news/source/2004/apr/8/322.html) (Lagos State)

was also alleged that the chiefs have repeatedly warned the Alfa to desist from desecrating their shrine by fixing his crusades and lectures each time there was a traditional festivals in the town which involves night processions and rituals, as the Alfa's presence will be viewed as challenge to the authority of the god they worship.
Daily Independent gathered that Alfa Safurani Bello Akodo allegedly violated the orders of the high chiefs when he ventured out of his house during such traditional rites at night and was subsequently killed and his corps was taken to the shrine for rituals, as nobody has been able to locate the remains of the Alfa till date.

odili.net/news/source/200...1/328.html (http://odili.net/news/source/2004/mar/31/328.html) (Osun State)

Two days later, after attending an international conference of the African Mathematical Association at the University of Ibadan, Dr. Burns was on his way to visit the famous Osun shrine at Oshogbo. "I have been told that a white priestess lives in that shrine. I want to see her," he said to a couple of journalists who spoke with him just before he departed, and then, he added rather humorously: "May be, I'm gonna get bitten by the religious bug, too".

odili.net/news/source/200...22/76.html (http://odili.net/news/source/2004/mar/22/76.html)

Nigeria has attractive natural spots. From the aesthetic Yankari Games Reserveto the scenic Mambilla Plateau, Obudu Cattle Ranch, Jos Plateau, Ikogosi Warmsprings, Bolikisi Sugbon Shrine, Kukuruku Hills and Lake Chad sanctuary. Anambra State has the awesome Ogbunike Cave. Many other fascinating natural beauties are scattered all over the federation.

Peronal Note: I think that Bolikisi Sugbon Shrine here is Birikisu Sungbo Shrine in Ogun State. She was regarded as Queen of Sheba. I read a report that that Moslems gather at the shrine to pray and ask favour from the spirit of the woman.

odili.net/news/source/2004/mar/16/2.html (http://odili.net/news/source/2004/mar/16/2.html) (Ondo State)

The trio should also proceed to the Ogwa shrine to appease the deities of Idepe people for any wrong doings and that the native drummers should be cautioned to stop further drumming.

odili.net/news/source/2004/mar/7/21.html (http://odili.net/news/source/2004/mar/7/21.html) (Osun State)

To express the full meaning of the title, a peacock was presented to Odili after the swearing in and the presentation of staff of office at the traditional "Ile Ase" Shrine in a ceremony which lasted about 50 minutes.

odili.net/news/source/2004/feb/29/9.html (http://odili.net/news/source/2004/feb/29/9.html)

Iyasere listed the "Ebu Wonder," the 'Edjo Enu' of Okpara, 'Ekene' of Agbarha-Otor, 'Ogidigbo' shrine of Kokori, the 'Igbozo' festival of Olomu and the colourful boat festivals common with the Itsekiri and Ijaw as some of the traditional festivals that offer so entertainment.

odili.net/news/source/2004/feb/29/3.html (http://odili.net/news/source/2004/feb/29/3.html) (Bakassi)

The people said they would not accept the Federal Government's plan to resettle them. Consequently, they warned that they would resort to the use of a legendary shrine serpent to chase away the Camerounians should they attempt to take over the land.

odili.net/news/source/200...7/226.html (http://odili.net/news/source/2004/feb/27/226.html) (Kwara State)

Dust raised over the siting of Moremi Shrine beside the Central Mosque in Offa, Kwara State, is yet to settle, as the muslim community rejects the peace and reconciliation committee set up by Alhaji Mustapha Olawore, the town's mornach.

odili.net/news/source/200...18/62.html (http://odili.net/news/source/2004/feb/18/62.html) (Delta State)

Liaise with elders of the community to appease the respected Okpe deities of Ovho Shrine, Orha meeting, Egbe and Ogiedi shrines.

odili.net/news/source/200...8/333.html (http://odili.net/news/source/2004/feb/18/333.html) (Gani Adams speaking)

I am a free man. I operate within the three religions with open mind. I am just coming from the open air praying ground for the Eid el fitri and I prayed with my Muslim brothers. That does not mean if I want to go to the Ogun shrine, I cannot go. Or if I want to go to the Obatala shrine& I don't see the difference.

odili.net/news/source/2004/jan/10/6.html (http://odili.net/news/source/2004/jan/10/6.html)

OGUN is the Yoruba god of iron. He is the fiery orisa (diety) of war. He is the deity who introduced iron, and all who use the metal worship him.
His devotees include those who make a living by working with iron. Every devotee has his personal shrine which contains iron (the symbol of Ogun). To this metal he makes his sacrifice.

odili.net/news/source/200...13/18.html (http://odili.net/news/source/2003/dec/13/18.html) (Moro'a land is in Kaduna State)

Anwayi discusses Ancestral Worship And Skull Cults In Moro'a Land in a seminar held at National Museum, Jos. From the tone of his discussion it is still practiced today.

odili.net/news/source/2003/oct/25/6.html (http://odili.net/news/source/2003/oct/25/6.html) (Adamawa State)

Totemism in Bachama (Adamawa)
The bush cat is the totem animal for the Mbamo kindred. They treat the bush cat as a kind of deity. They even have a shrine for the bush cat where they carry out harvest rites. They see themselves as children of the bush cat and believe that all the property they accumulate in their life come as a gift from the bush cat ... The priest will take some cotton and pass it round the offender's head and the matter will end there. Meanwhile the restored stolen goods will become the property of the priest. If on the other hand, the thief did not confess his crime, the bush cat will pursue him, mess up on the floor of his house, poison his food and bring sickness on his family. If he dies without confessing, the bush cat will pursue his descendants until, though a diviner, the cause of the problem is determined, and reparations made to the offended Mbamo person.

odili.net/news/source/200...3/216.html (http://odili.net/news/source/2003/may/3/216.html) (Ijaws in Niger-Delta)

Ijaw traditional religion centers around water spirits who inhabit the numerous rivers and swamps of the area. Tribute is also paid to ancestors who are often represented in wooden shrine figures or memorial screens known as Nduen Fobara by Kalabari Ijaw. Funeral ceremonies among the Ijaw are often quite dramatic, with greater attention accorded to members of the community who have reached a combination of advanced age and high prestige. Extensive funerals are held for both women and men in preparation for sending them on their final journey away from the village to the spirit world across the river.

odili.net/news/source/200...10/25.html (http://odili.net/news/source/2003/may/10/25.html) (Kogi State)
Ogani Festival in Kogi State

At the shrine, the villagers were told pointedly that only the strangers could resolve the problem. It is believed that this affliction followed the stranger from his village, but he was not aware ...

odili.net/news/source/200...16/42.html (http://odili.net/news/source/2003/mar/16/42.html) (Edo State)

THERE is a story making the* * * * rounds in some quarters in Benin-city: that one day, an elderly man was seen in front of Emotan shrine at the Ring Road of Ekenwan Road, reciting incantation to the effect that whoever votes the incumbent governor of Edo State, Chief Lucky Igbinedion, in the April polls, his first son would die.

odili.net/news/source/200...9/227.html (http://odili.net/news/source/2003/jun/29/227.html) (Badagry, Lagos State)

Badagry, the popular border in Lagos, famous for its slave heritage and its distinct history as the cradle of Christianity in Nigeria has a flip side of the coin which presents the people as staunch adherents of traditional religion ... Today, it is not uncommon to find a shrine in the compound of every Badagry family. Even those who claim to be Moslems and Christians find no contradiction in paying obeisance to the gods of their forefathers.

odili.net/news/source/2003/jun/17/5.html (http://odili.net/news/source/2003/jun/17/5.html) (Delta State)

FOLLOWING the assassination attempt on the life of the interim chairman of Uvwie Council of Chiefs in Delta State, Chief Com Agbofodoh, by suspected assassins, the police have raided and destroyed the Ekpan Shrine in the council.

odili.net/news/source/2003/feb/8/29.html (http://odili.net/news/source/2003/feb/8/29.html) (Delta State)

Like Pa Umuko and Uweja, another family that will not forget the Warri crisis too soon were the Edremodas who lost two sons in Bemigho and Rone to the Friday mayhem. During the invasion, the Okere Shrine and the Okere market were not spared by the arsonists.

odili.net/news/source/200...7/319.html (http://odili.net/news/source/2003/feb/27/319.html) (Gov. Alamieyeseigha visited Egbesu Shrine)

Another attacking line for Alamieyeseigha is his alleged visits to Egbesu shrine in Ajakurama, at Egbema in Edo State. It is being alleged that the re-election seeking governor went to the shrine of the Ijaw deity to acquire powers with which to perpetuate himself in office for the next four years.

odili.net/news/source/2003/aug/9/20.html (http://odili.net/news/source/2003/aug/9/20.html) (Ekiti State)

These bowls depict all sorts of happenings within the community. Some of these carvings are called Olumeye (one who knows honour by the Ekiti people). It depicts a woman who is a messenger of spirit. These bowls are used for the kolanuts offered to visitors, as shrine containers for offerings to an Orisa and to hold the palm nuts used in Ife divination.

odili.net/news/source/2003/aug/8/31.html (http://odili.net/news/source/2003/aug/8/31.html) (Lagos State)

There is a popular Elegbara shrine at Iworo in Awori area and the Iworo people were contacted and Opeoluwa and Olofina people were initiated into the cult and granted permission to establish an Elegbara shrine and grove at Iddo.

odili.net/news/source/200...1/310.html (http://odili.net/news/source/2003/aug/11/310.html) (Osun State)

Over 5000 members of the Gani Adams faction of the Oodua Peoples Congress (OPC), Friday, stormed Osogbo, Osun state capital, to worship the goddess of Osun river .... Governor Olagunsoye Oyinlola expressed the need to get the United Nations Education Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), to confer a world heritage status on the Osun shrine and grove.

odili.net/news/source/200...6/208.html (http://odili.net/news/source/2003/apr/26/208.html) (Cross River State)

The petition signed by Mrs Lawrencia Effiong, Akamkpa women leader, Ntufam Michael Effiong, cclan head of Ekarebe North, Akamkpa youth leader and Ntufam Dickson Asuquo, clan head of Ekarebe South alleged that the "sole purpose of the police was the violent invasion of the community including burning and raiding of the village shrine called "Efe Ekpe Hall."

odili.net/news/source/2003/sep/25/7.html (http://odili.net/news/source/2003/sep/25/7.html) (Delta State)

It is on record that in 1952, after the Western Region government under Chief Awolowo changed the title of Olu of Itsekiri to Olu of Warri, there was a fight between the Urhobo and Itsekiri. Near the Agbassa (one of the owners of Warri) juju shrine in Warri, the Urhobo attacked an Itsekiri procession. The Urhobo may have seen the procession as an act of provocation. The violence that followed soon spread to places like Sapele, Eku, and Jesse, etc. The issues were not resolved and have resurfaced again in the first decade of the 21st century. Certainly, all the parties involved must be ready for dialogue as a way of ending the needless and costly crisis.

odili.net/news/source/200...14/19.html (http://odili.net/news/source/2003/sep/14/19.html) (Abati on Solomon Lar of Plateau State)

Born to very humble Tarok parents in the middle Belt area of Nigeria, the young Solomon was a village boy, surrounded by love and affection, brought up with great discipline but whose immediate prospect was to become a cattle rearer, and a priest in the family shrine. At birth, his father had in fact dedicated him to the god, Daushep, with the hope that his son would follow in his footsteps and become a great hunter and priest, watering the shrine with blood and other offerings.

odili.net/news/source/2003/sep/3/7.html (http://odili.net/news/source/2003/sep/3/7.html) (Lagos State)

But there was a mystic explanation to the collapsed of the building. According to some of the residents, the said property had been a subject of contention between some members of the family of the original owner. "People have been warned to steer clear of the building, because it is located over a powerful shrine. So, anybody who takes possession of the land is doing so at his or her own risk," a source told The Guardian.

Aug 15, 2004, 01:30 AM
Well done, Ndigbo. That was a robust and thorough rebuttal of an ill-considered statement.

Aug 15, 2004, 11:09 AM
think I'm gonna to take it easy on the veritable blockheads. USA is a land of freedom. This is a statement. Of course there are people who are denied freedom in USA.. . . . . . .Ndigbo

www.gamji.com/nowa78.htm (http://www.gamji.com/nowa78.htm)
www.gamji.com/nowa1.htm (http://www.gamji.com/nowa1.htm)
www.gamji.com/NEWS1103.htm (http://www.gamji.com/NEWS1103.htm)

Being a complete *****, what you have presented has satisfied your battered ego about what qualifies a finding to be generalized, but to a well educated person you have not. You probably need to take a course on Research Process or Research Foundation or simply ask Bunch17 for a crash course on generalization of findings. You simply cannot understand my argument without further training. Have a nice day.

Aug 15, 2004, 12:53 PM
Well done, Ndigbo. That was a robust and thorough rebuttal of an ill-considered statement. . . . Anuwada


Which of my statements do you find ill-considered? Either you are not following this discussion or you are simply being biased. I guess you should quote the statements you find offensive so that people will know what you are talking about. Is it offensive or ill-considered to say Okija shrines cannot be generalized over Nigerian population? Discuss.

Tell me which of his links that has anything to do with the topics of shrines? I weep for your patiality or is it tribalism

This is his first Link about Benue State It has nothing to do with the argument of shrines on this forum. However battered his ego may be, the Police have proven once and for all that, the biggest criminal shrines in Nigeria are in Okija, Igboland - the hoopla about Igbos being predominately christians is a ruse.

odili.net/news/source/200...31/29.html (http://odili.net/news/source/2004/mar/31/29.html)

Wednesday, March 31, 2004
Fresh crisis erupts in Benue town
From Simeon Nwakandu,

A FRESH communal crisis has broken out in Otukpo Local Council area of Benue State, with over 100 houses burnt by the combatants.

An eyewitness told The Guardian that the crisis, which erupted at Otukpo Icho, a few kilometres from Otukpo town, the seat of Odi Idoma, at the weekend, was a fallout of disagreements between two factions in the village.

It was learnt that shortly after a traditional festival last week, both factions started struggling over which was to take possession of the ancestral shrine.

And when one of the factions succeeded in taking over the shrine, the other faction allegedly struck, burning the houses of members of the faction that took possession of the shrine.

A source said that the reprisal attack from the other faction left the entire Otukpo desolate as almost all houses were torched.

When The Guardian visited Otukpo yesterday, inhabitants of the area could not be sighted as they had escaped to take refuge in the houses of their relatives at Otukpo town.

The Interim Administrator of Otukpo Local Council, Mr. Alexander Ifu, in company of policemen, visited the area and assessed the damage.

He said the council, in conjunction with the police, would work hard to stop the crisis from escalating.

The Guardian however, gathered that no lives were lost in the crisis.

Only last week, crisis over a piece of land in Makurdi claimed over 20 lives.

If political crises can be interpreted as SHRINES so that the Okija Idol worshippers can shamelessly claim that shrines are everywhere in Nigeria in order to look good, then they will always look bad, because one can equally contend that, the BIAFRAN WAR, being a political crises represents unprecedented SHRINE, which can still be found only in Igboland, NOT Benue or elsewhere in Nigeria

Below is his second Link about Benue State. Again it has nothing to do with the topic of shrines, yet, it is a GOOD rebuttal by your own account - what a guy! While I will not be the first to leave the topic and go after someone for telling the fact, I will ALWAYS strike back if attacked. He attacked in his previous message, I did not respond, instead I tried to give him the reasons why Okija findings WILL NEVER be generalized in academic circles. He came back this time calling me a " veritable blockhead". Who is a blockhead - the man who does not know that, there are certain research factors that govern generalization of findings or one who is explaining them to him? before you tell him again that, he has presented a "robust rebuttal", let him know that he is a complete ***** He can continue to display his ignorance as long as he wants, but if he attacks me, I will attack back with immediate effect.

He should first think about the Biafran war before getting into topics of political violence in other states. If an ordinary political violence is a SHRINE by his own definition, then what will the BIAFRAN WAR represent?

odili.net/news/source/2004/may/9/37.html (http://odili.net/news/source/2004/may/9/37.html)

Sunday, May 9, 2004
Crises With Political Undertones

For the Middle Belt, anarchy has been let loose upon the people as they engage one another in battles to resolve their differences. CHARLES ADINGUPU chronicles the series of clashes that have turned the geopolitical zone apart
THE offshoot of the communal feud in the Middle Belt has political undertones with both traditional rulers and politicians blowing the trumpet for war. Political considerations arising from the fear of Tiv votes and domination were proffered as the most fundamental cause of the spate of civil unrest in Benue, Nasarawa, Plateau and Taraba States.

This declaration was contained in a 48-page memorandum submitted by the Benue State government to the panel investigating ethnic/religious clashes in the area.

The memorandum, which was also endorsed by the state Attorney General and Commissioner of Justice, Aondoaver Angweh alleged that "to those who felt threatened politically the solution was to destabilise the Tiv population in order to disenfranchise them and neutralise their voting power."

According to the memorandum, the crisis erupted almost simultaneously in Nasarawa, Plateau and Taraba States, owing to the expectations that local government elections were due in April 2002 and preparations were expected to commence in 2001. The government further submitted that the anticipated conduct of a national census was also a contributory factor to the conflicts.

Benue State, in furtherance of its allegations of "systematic marginalisation" of the Tiv in Nasarawa State, noted that the crisis in Nasarawa South secretarial district was based on the foregoing factors of the fear of Tiv domination and population.

In an apparent bid to further destabilise the Tiv and neutralise their numerical strength, a conspiracy was allegedly hatched and mercenaries were hired to eliminate and displace them.

"In spite of all distress calls and complaints, no action was taken by the law enforcement agents to nip in the bud the atrocities committed against the Tiv race in Nasarawa State."

Also on Taraba crisis, Benue State government alleged that "well-armed militia" systematically executed the killing of Tiv and the stealing of their property running into millions of naira.

Beyond this, even though the politics of Benue is a contest between the Tiv and Idoma, there is an undeclared belligerence between the two senatorial zones in Tivland. The first two elected civilian governors of the state, Aper Aku and Moses Adasu are from zone 'A,' made up of Vandeikya, Kwande, Konshisha, Ushongo, Katsina-Ala and Ukwum Councils. The incumbent Governor, George Akume is from senatorial zone 'B' made up of Gboko, Biruku, Tarka, Makurdi, Guma, Gwer and Gwer West Councils but opposition to his continued stay in office is mainly from zone 'A'.

But in a soul-searching mission to the Benue State debacle, Nigeria flown in an ex-colonial official to help resolve the impasse in the state. Britain, as one of the actors in pre-independence era, raised questions on how the once peace-living ethnic nationalities became mutual antagonists, 42 years into nationhood.

A one-time District Officer (DO) of the then colonial government in Nigeria, Dr. Martin Dent, occupied the centre stage at the Justice Okechukwu Opene-led Judicial Commission on the bitter ethnic feud in some parts of Benue, Plateau Nasarawa and Taraba States. Citing the Tiv nationality, Dent expressed dismay that they have been stereotypically tagged a cantankerous people, arguing that on the contrary, he knew them to be peaceful, industrious and accommodating.

The four states had in 2001 enmeshed in a bitter strife, with the Tiv, who are spread all over the four states, being a recurring decimal in all flashpoints. Some peacekeepers were later reported killed by some of the feuding communities, leading to the deployment of troops to the area.

Dent, however, called for a constructive dialogue among the diverse ethnic groups in the four affected states, and advised Nigeria to jettison the phrase "son of the soil", ploy being used to drive away the Tiv-speaking people from the Wukari and other parts of Taraba State.

"The violence among the ethnic groups would not have been there if the British are in charge in this country," Dent said. However, he added: "But it is not as if I want British colonialism to continue. The Tivs are peaceful in nature but may fight if provoked."

Consequent upon this development, both the Federal and the affected state governments have raised a peace panel to settle the rumpus once and for all.

But the resurgence of militia in Plateau State during the week, need much to be desired. Although investigation within historical ambits have shown that pockets of crisis within the state have been tied to religious rancour.

Within the period under review, violence had erupted again after peaceful breaks in Benue State. Last month, peace eluded the people as some suspected Minda Youths continued their attacks in different parts of the state capital, Makurdi. Not even the presence of security operatives was able to save the city from the hands of the youths as Agboghoul village, where the offensive started was deserted with thick smoke from burnt houses filling the sky. Mostly affected are the Community Secondary School and the Modern Market in Makurdi.

The rampaging youths ignored overtures from security personnel as they continued to unleash terror on the residents. At the end of this section of the violence, no fewer than 500 persons have been displaced. According to the report, the invading Minda Youths relocated from Agboghoul village to Adaka village, an outskirts of the town.

Consequent upon the development, the Benue government in a swift reaction, announced the suspension of three traditional rulers and Special Adviser on Local Government Affairs to the state government, Mr. Boniface Torbunde. A statement by the State Security Council explained he suspension of the quartet was with immediate effect.

However, as the fighting continues to spread to neighbouring villages, available reports indicated that violence broke out when indigenous inhabitants of Makurdi began a peaceful protest over alleged appropriation of land (Agbovo village) by those they claimed have been (Tiv youths) profiteering from it at their expense.

April 2004, about 15 persons were reportedly massacred in fresh communal feud that broke out in parts of Benue North East senatorial district. At the noon of the crisis, not less than 300 houses were torched by arsonists. The two warring communities are Ugambe clan in Ronsigha local council and the Ullan clan in Gwer local council. Trouble started when one of the communities launched a surprise attack on the other after the first rainfall in the area. The feuding clans were at daggers' drawn over fertile portions of land situated between them. One of the two communities felt the other was taking an undue advantage over its quiet posture to the ownership of the land.

March 2004, another communal crisis exploded in Otukpo local council. In the wake of the crisis, the unholy combatants burned down over 100 houses. According to report, the crisis that erupted at Otukpo Kho, a stone throw from Otukpo town, the seat of Odi Idoma was a fall out of disagreements between two factions in the village. It was learnt that shortly after a traditional festival, both factions began a struggle over who was to take possession of the ancestral shrine.

Eventually, one of them gained supremacy over the other faction, which allegedly struck, burning the houses of members of the faction that took possession of the shrine. But a reprisal attack from the other faction, however, left the entire Otukpo desolate as almost all houses were torched.

Late 2003, Zaki-Biam was the scene of another disturbance when some youths clashed with the police and burnt down the Divisional Police Station. This followed the report of a missing organ, lodged at the police station by a commercial motorcycle operator. The cyclist had reported that he lost his organ when his passenger had body contact with him in the course of the journey. Consequent upon his complaint, the police decided to take him to a doctor who examined him but could not confirm the claim of missing organ.

However, the complainant remained adamant as he insisted on the arrest and prosecution, by the police, of his passenger, described as a trader who had just arrived in town. The police reluctance to detain the suspect apparently angered the cyclist, who stormed out of the station, threatening to deal with all policemen in Zaki-Biam. Shortly afterwards, youths in the area mobilised themselves and swooped on the police station located on Katsina-Ala road and set it ablaze.

April 2002, three persons were killed in cold blood and several houses razed in a clash between the Tiv people of Konshisha and their neighbours at Igede in Oju local council. Trouble started when an Igede sawmiller cut a tree, which fell on a farmland belonging to a Tiv person from Ikyuran Tier of Konshisha local council. As a result of this development, the Tivman seized the powersaw from the Igedeman, who on getting home, reported the matter to his kinsmen who waded into the matter and held five Tiv persons captive while the Tiv also held nine Igede people captive.

October 2007, about 19 soldiers were gunned down by some suspected militant youths. And in what appeared as a reprisal attack, soldiers arrived at several towns and villages in the state between October 19 and 24, 2004 in coordinated operations that took residents by surprise. Survivors and witnesses told the Human Rights Watch that they felt tricked and deceived by those they said came to make peace but turned against the residents.

The soldiers first arrived in Gbeji on October 19, 2001. They asked residents which day the market usually held and then went away. They returned on October 22 and asked as many people as possible to assemble for a meeting. They told them they had come on a peace mission and wanted to discuss ways of restoring peace in the area. Eventually, the soldiers separated the men from the women and children. They reportedly opened fire on the unarmed men, shooting indiscriminately, the human right body said.

And in a swift reaction to the said development, the state government dissociated itself from the rampaging soldiers.

However, the Justice Okechukwu Opene Judicial Commission of Inquiry into Inter Communal conflicts in Benue, Taraba, Nasarawa and Plateau States heard that the superior fire-power, including sub-machine guns (SMG), general purpose machine guns (SPMG) and AK-44 rifles allegedly used by Tiv militiamen to kill Captain Aliyu Mustapha and 18 soldiers of the Nigerian Army might have been imported into the crisis area during the tenures of two Tiv ECOMOG Commanders in Liberia.

Testifying before the commission in Abuja, Col. Danladi Kaka of the Nigerian Army during the crisis period, also decried suggestions that the soldiers were killed because they were thought not to be Nigerian soldiers but Jukun militia. According to him, the Army received intelligence report that the Benue State government was giving money to the Tiv militiamen at Gbeji to prosecute the crisis.

Aug 15, 2004, 06:57 PM
This is his first Link about Benue State It has nothing to do with the argument of shrines on this forum. However battered his ego may be, the Police have proven once and for all that, the biggest criminal shrines in Nigeria are in Okija, Igboland - the hoopla about Igbos being predominately christians is a ruse---Zaiyol

Oh yea! So, this whole argument for you is to prove that Igbos are idol worshippers? Hahahahahahaha!

He should first think about the Biafran war before getting into topics of political violence in other states. If an ordinary political violence is a SHRINE by his own definition, then what will the BIAFRAN WAR represent?---Zaiyol

Chineke o! How come Biafra enter dis topic? He even posted links on Biafran War that has nothing to do with this argument - nothing to do with the thread. Everything to this psychopath is about Igbo and Biafra. Forumites, I have an answer to his confusion. This c-o-c-k-sucking monkey is suffering from hallucination. He killed a pregnant Igbowoman during the pogrom of 1966 and he is constantly trying to fend off the spirits that are torturing his conscience. I have news for you *****, your illness has been diagonized. Please check your retard ass into a mental institution before you commit suicide. I hope you don't have a gun c-o-c-k-sucker.

Uncle Sam
Aug 15, 2004, 06:58 PM
"...he is constantly trying to fend off the spirits that are torturing his conscience., .. you illness has been diagonized. Please check your retard ass into a mental institution before you commit sucide." Ndigbo.

This is what I got from the above.

1. Ndigbo believes in spirits. Hmmm- this goes to show why some believe in those shrines.

2. Checking into mental institution? So you believe in science too?

Now how can we jive #1 and 2? From #1, Ndigbo should have suggested that Zaiyol check himself into the Okija shrine provided he comes out alive.

Aug 16, 2004, 01:06 AM
h yea! So, this whole argument for you is to prove that Igbos are idol worshippers? Hahahahahahaha! . . . . . .Ndigbo

So you didn't know? You must be clinically psychotic to be asking the question that Nigeria Police have already answered quite thoroughly. Only well deranged people and highly pluralistic ignorants like you still delude they can check into Okija Shrines and come back here to fool people that they have been to a Church, and even argue that Okija is NOT in Igboland - the land of erstwhile christians, now evil doers like Ndigbo.

Chineke o! How come Biafra enter dis topic? He even posted links on Biafran War that has nothing to do with this argument - nothing to do with the thread. Everything to this psychopath is about Igbo and Biafra. Forumites, I have an answer to his confusion. This c-o-c-k-sucking monkey is suffering from hallucination. He killed a pregnant Igbowoman during the pogrom of 1966 and he is constantly trying to fend off the spirits that are torturing his conscience. I have news for you *****, your illness has been diagonized. Please check your retard ass into a mental institution before you commit suicide. I hope you don't have a gun c-o-c-k-sucker.

Your problem is one of linguistic relativity hypothesis syndrome, but that is entirely your problem, I am not a Shrine Priest, so I cannot help you Sir. You probably need to visit Okija Shrines in Igboland, maybe, kissing one more dead man or corpse at the Shrine will clear your chronic psycholinguistic disorders.

In any case, I still have a responsibility to respond gaver to gaver to whomever elects to get in the dirt after failing woefully to debate his way out of a controversy, be it on matters of godfatherism in Anambra state, or Okija Shrines also in Anambra state. When you equated the political crises in Benue state to Okija Shrines, what effectively did you think you were doing, gaby? Below are your links for all to see:

odili.net/news/source/200...31/29.html (http://odili.net/news/source/2004/mar/31/29.html)
odili.net/news/source/2004/may/9/37.html (http://odili.net/news/source/2004/may/9/37.html)

Was Biafran War not a Political crisis? You introduced the war into the topic through your psychotic intelligence. Only a fool would do that without thinking Biafra would quickly become a topic of discussion. Battered ego!.

However you cry- whether with your mouth or ass- is your business. On top of losing the war, you lost the debate time after time on the Old Forum, yet you still want to introduce the war into other topics. You must be a professional loser!

They killed Igbos because Okija Shrines failed to produce the magic wand that Warlord Odemegwu Ojukwu had heavily relied upon in declaring the war. Before you declare another war, make sure, the god of your shrines approve of it, otherwise the shrines will fail again. You get it, dote!

Aug 16, 2004, 01:41 AM

With the unfolding macabre drama in Okija, it has become apparent that despite denials by his acolytes, that pathetic clown of Anambra politics, Ngige, cannot credibly claim that he was not aware of what was going on in the evil forest fiefdom of Igboland's 419 witch doctors. Ngige's erstwhile political godfather, Chris Uba, cannot lay claim to non-involvement in some of the eerie activities of the ghastly cult operating from the sanctuary of the Igbo countryside.

Now, the reported involvement by a significant section of the current Anambra political leadership in the criminal activities of a homicidal syndicate masquerading as traditionalists should be very worrisome indeed. There are equally troubling indications that the saga of the Okija Shrines of Death may already have fallen victim to the so-called Nigerian factor. Some of the "attendance" registers of the various shrines which were raided by the police are reportedly missing! The investigation into these Shrines of Death is probably compromised already. Instead of making idiotic noises about presumed Igbo marginalization, Ohaneze Ndigbo and other pro-Igbo voices should help the local community get to the truth at the heart of the collective scandal which the sinister shrines have come to represent for the average Anambrarian. Baba Iyabo should not be seen as using his office to shield his allies in the likes of that thug called Chris Uba and any roles they may have played in the sustenance of the murder asylum in Anambra. Police investigations should eventually tell us if there are parhaps tens or hundreds of other Okijas in Igboland today. And importantly also, this whole sordid matter is an indictment of not just the murderous "priests" of Okija but also the entire Igbo for having allowed the gruesome shenanigans of the murder syndicate to go on unperturbed for so long. One of the contradictions which the Igbo as a people must grapple with , as should other Nigerian social groups faced with similar existentialist questions, is the fact that despite their mythical image as a forward-looking, enterprising and cosmopolitan group, their society still harbours some of the most retrogressive trends which have sometimes manifested themselves by way of violent criminal engagements, cultural hangovers of dubious value like female genital mutilation and a tendency to present culture from the point of view of 'glamorized fossilism'.

Finally, I believe it is neither far-fetched nor fanciful to posit that President Obasanjo has himself, at least unconciously, played a key role in the nurturing of the voodoo politics associated with bloody shrines in Anambra. His active support for a known "area boy" - Chris Uba - whose political behaviour reeks of mafia-style gangsterism has marked him out as an ally of those nebulous forces undermining the stability and development of that region.

Thisday Online
Dateline: 15/08/2004 01:49:00

Anambra Lawmakers: We Swore at Okija Shrine
By Collins Edomaruse


Majority Leader of Anambra State House of Assembly, Hon. Humphrey Nsofor, yesterday admitted that he and 21 other members of the House were forcefully paraded before the Okija shrine's chief priests, to take an oath of allegiance.

Giving a graphic detail of the exercise over the telephone last night, the lawmaker, however, denied acceeding to the terms of the oaths administration as: "I opted to swear with the name of the Almighty God."

The lawmaker who said the exercise, at the instance of their enstranged godfather, Chief Chris Uba, was mainly to extract a definite commitment that the members of the House would be loyal to him.

"He cajoled us, at some point, intimidated us, but assured us that if we remained loyal to him, he would ensure that President Olusegun Obasanjo does anything he wants him to do for us in the course of our duty.

"He also told us at the shrine that if we fell short of being loyal to him, the deity would take our lives."

Giving more details of the incident, Nsofor said that he and others elected to tell Uba that rather than being loyal to the deity, they would rather reserve their loyalty for the president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, their political party, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) "since it was all party affairs," he added.

He further said that the practice of swearing before the shrine has been an agelong one as political godfathers in the state have been using the deity to perpetrate their dominance of politics in the state.

"You can't have access to the grassroot, no matter how politically strong you are.

"They used it to ambush the former governor, Chinwoke Mbadinuju, and in the process hijacked his government. They also introduced it at the beginning of the present government, but failed when their abduction attempt on Governor Chris Ngige failed.

"Uba wanted to use the shrine to hold us in bondage and we thank God that the whole thing is crumbling," he added.

"But when heh realised that I was serious, he asked me to recommend a clergyman that could handle the exercise. It was at that point that I suggested Venerable Stanley N. Anwuzia, of St. Andrews Church, Nnewi.

He jumped on it when he was convinced that the man was an Anglican like himself," the lawmaker revealed.

Meanwhile, a vivid account of how the chief priests fed fat on the state's crises has been unveiled.

Giving details at the weekend, a top politician and close watcher of the saga told THISDAY that major players in the shrine saga paid the chief priests staggering sums ranging from N.5 million and N1 million monthly upto the period of the failed abduction bid.

"They were paying the shrine Chief Priest N500,000.00 monthly after the July 10, 2003, failed abduction, to 'pray' for Governor Chris Ngige's death.

"Following the accident involving the Governor's convoy, the Chief Priest told them that Gov. Ngige escaped narrowly and that with more "prayers" to the gods, he will die.

"They also asked the Chief Priest to "pray" for them so that whatever they tell President Obasanjo to do for them he will do.

That was why they panicked when the arrests were made. They are very unsettled because they know they were deeply involved in the shrine business."

The politician frequently mentioned as the hatchet man for all the dirty jobs is Hon. Chuma Nzeribe.

Nzeribe, a House of Representatives member representing Ihiala Constituency comprising Okija town, had last week asked the police to interrogate Ngige if they hope to get to the root of the killings in the Ogwugwu shrine in Okija.

Nzeribe said in Abuja that Ngige had before the April 2003 gubernatorial elections, suggested that if Uba was in doubt of his loyalty, he should be taken to the shrine to swear an oath of allegiance.

Ngige had in the wake of his abduction saga claimed that Uba made him swear an oath at Okija shrine. Uba has, however, denied escorting Ngige to any shrine.

Nzeribe, who praised the police for the raid, however, said Ngige lied that he was forced to the place and did not come down from his car.

"Sometime last year Dr. Ngige admitted publicly that he went to the Okija shrine to take an oath of allegiance and thereby was inducted into the cult. It would be important for Nigerians to take another look at this issue. He accepted publicly that he went to the shrine and that the priest was muttering certain things, what he called speaking in tongues, thereby confirming his presence in the shrine. The time has come for us to ask certain questions.

"If the chief priest there has acknowledged and the governor has acknowledged his presence in the shrine, I wonder what a Christian, a medical doctor, a governor is doing inside a shrine. Must he condescend so low to be a governor? I therefore urge the police that Dr. Ngige is the fit and proper person in further inquiries into the evidence of murder and death. The Igbo people do not worship with dead bodies," Nzeribe said.

It will be recalled that the ugly development was unveiled following a petition to the Inspector General of Police, Mr. Tafa Balogun, by mr. Chukwuemezie Obed Igwe, to the effect that lives were lost to the naferious activities of the chief priests of the Okija deity.

This led to the police raid of the shrine where scores of corpses and human skulls were found.

Recalling the circumstance leading to the administration of oath on Ngige at the shrine, Nzeribe, who is the member representing Ihiala Federal constituency in the House of Representatives said, he was coming back from "field operation" before the elections when he stopped at Uba's house in Awka where he said he met Senator (Ikechukwu) Abana, impeached Deputy Governor of Anambra, Okey Udeh, Ngige and (Chief Okey) Odunze discussing Ngige unreliability.

The Punch
Sunday, August 15 2004

Okija shrine: Confusion over registers ...as more priests go underground

John Ameh and Bukola Ojeme

A CLOUD of confusion on Saturday enveloped the actual number of registers recovered so far from Okija shrine by the police, even as priests of similar shrines have gone underground to avoid arrest.

There are fears that two of the registers said to have been recovered when the police raided the Ogwugwu shrine are missing.

The police, in their earlier statements to journalists after the raid, said they first recovered two registers. But 24 hours later, the figure grew to three, while days later, they said that the number had risen to 10.

However, at the presentation of 32 suspected Ogwugwu priests in Abuja on Thursday, they displayed only eight registers.

There were insinuations thereafter that the two registers might be the ones containing the names of the influential clients and patrons of the shrine.

An attempt by Sunday Punch to get the exact number of the registers from the Commissioner in charge of the command, Mr. Felix Ogbaudu, failed, as he said the police did not at any time in the course of their investigations reveal the number of registers recovered from the shrine.

"I don't know how many registers were recovered and we did not at any time give the number of registers. The police only said registers were recovered and we handed over what we recovered to the investigation team from Abuja, which is now in charge of the investigation", he maintained.

Ogbaudu added that the police were not concerned with speculations concerning who went to the shrine or who did not go, but the reported ritual killings that took place there and the corpses found at the shrine.

Sunday Punch gathered on Saturday that some of the priests, who had until lately, regarded themselves as untouchable, considering the caliber of influential personalities said to be backing them, had initially viewed the raid on the Ogwugwu shrine in Okija, as something that would fizzle out soon.

In another development, more priests of similar shrines in state, have gone into hiding in other states, as the State Police Command, moves to close in on similar shrines still existing in the state.

Sources told Sunday Punch that the police were only awaiting a formal directive from the Force Headquarters before launching another onslaught against the priests of such shrines.

But in order not to be caught napping, most of them had reportedly fled to other states.

According to a police source on Saturday more of the priests began to flee vacating their shrines, following an indication to carry out similar raids at the appropriate time.

The source, who did not want his name in print, said, "signals coming from some of the local government areas in the state, indicated that there was an exodus of some of these priests because of the fear that their shrines might be the next target.

He said, "Some of them may just be mere herbalists who cure simple ailments, but hearing what happened in Okija and the readiness of the command to storm mores shrines on directive, they are scared, they are relocating.

"Initially, they had thought that the development in Okija would fizzle out, but they are no longer sure."

The police also continued to guard the identities of those listed in the registers, maintaining that it was left for Force Headquarters to publish the names on conclusion of investigations into the matter.

The development came just as the command again, made a u-turn on the actual number of registers recovered from the Okija shrine in Ihiala Local Government Area of the state.

Two of the registers are believed to be missing.

Meanwhile, at least 1,258 names are contained in the three registers recovered at Okija shrine in Anambra State where 20 human skulls and a decomposing corpse were found during a recent raid by the police.

Security sources told Sunday Punch that the names included some notable Igbo politicians whom sources, however, declined to reveal their identities, pending the outcome of investigations.

Sunday Punch, August 15, 2004

Aug 16, 2004, 02:01 AM
Uncle Sam,

I like your analysis of the logic of the man from Okija Shrines.

Meawhile, the Nigeria Police are on the move rounding up Evil Doers from Okija Shrines where Mr. Ndigbo is a visiting Evil Priest.

Friday, August 13, 2004
Police move Okija shrine chiefs, exhibits to Abuja

Anambra govt welcomes raid

From Godwin Ijediogor, Chuks Collins (Awka), John-Abba Ogbodo (Abuja) and Lawrence Njoku (Enugu)
SUSPECTS arrested in connection with the Ogwugwu shrine in Okija, Anambra State, have been taken to Abuja along with the exhibits recovered during the police raid.

The move is in fulfilment of a pledge by the Force to speedily investigate the matter and bring the culprits to book.

The Guardian gathered at the Force Headquarters in Abuja yesterday that the suspects arrived in handcuffs, escorted by heavily armed mobile policemen.

They are being detained at the Force Criminal Investigation Department (FCID) headquarters in Area 10, Garki, Abuja.

The development came as the state government welcomed the raids and destruction of the shrines, which it described as the "last vestiges of bad governance."

Barely 24 hours after their arrival in Awka, a special squad despatched by the Inspector-General of Police (IGP) from Force Headquarters, Abuja, to take over further investigations into the shrines, took the suspects to the Federal Capital yesterday.

The crack team, which arrived in the early hours of Wednesday led by a Commissioner from the IGP's office, was received on arrival by Anambra State Police Commissioner, Felix Ogbaudu, in his office.

The team comprised officers from special units such as lawyers, doctors, psychologists and anthropologists. They looked tired and sleepy, having apparently driven all through Tuesday and Wednesday night in three trucks that brought some of them while those of senior ranks came in cars and other vehicles. They were about 200.

After a few hours of rest, they were briefed by Ogbaudu and later taken to the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) unit which had been handling the case.

There, they saw the suspects and some of the gory looking exhibits which included human skulls, (about 20) four of them fresh, a casket bearing the body of a middle-aged man dressed in a sports jacket and a pair of faded blue jeans trousers. The body, which appeared fresh, may have been subjected to some forms of local embalment. The police team, The Guardian learnt, also left with some of the suspects especially those considered as the ring leaders and priests.

Also taken away were those who have been forthcoming with coherent information regarding their activities at the shrines as well as their 10 operational registers, which were confiscated during the raid on Wednesday last week.

Other items taken away were pictures, the various certificates of registration purportedly issued to the Ogwugwu priests by the Corporate Affairs Commission, Abuja and other documents including receipts with which the suspects have been renewing their operational licence from the Department of Herbal Medicine Operations, Ministry of Health Awka. Some of the officers stayed back.

The Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO) and SARS refused to comment on the latest development.

The Government of Anambra State also reacted yesterday to various media reports and insinuations regarding the raids and arrest of the` chief priest and others.

It said that following the interim report on the matter by the State Commissioner of Police and other security agencies, it fully supports the raids and the destruction of the shrines.

"Government wishes to further reiterate, in the interest of the public, that the raids, the subsequent destruction and removal of the shrines, represented the removal of the last vestiges of the bad governance and inglorious era in the state," according to a statement by Mr. Fred Chukwulobe, Senior Special Assitant to Governor Chris Ngige on Media and Publicity.

"We also know that for some people, it represents a loss of one of their veritable tools of fraud, 419, and their unrepentant manipulation of fainthearted and ignorant members of the various communities in Anambra State and Igboland in general as can be evidenced by the tango between a member of the House of Representatives and the late Chief Victor Okafor, alias Ezego in 1997", the statement said.

It added: "For people like the erstwhile boss of the defunct Bakassi Boys, and his co-travellers, it also represents a big loss as the arrested Chief Priest and the shrine represent the last hope of their foothold to foment trouble in the state and for Governor Chris Ngige.

"The Government of Anambra State sees the development as a good riddance to bad rubbish and at the appropriate time, Government will come out with a proposal for the acquisition of the said large expanse of forestland which the shrines had occupied for various Government projects."

The statement said Anambra people know who the real patrons of the shrine are and accused them of "diverting attention with the hope of escaping the doomsday, which surely awaits them."

Secretary-General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Col. Joe Achuzia (rtd) has reiterated his earlier stand on the raid, saying that the measure should not be used to tarnish the image of the Igbo.

He spoke in a telephone interview just as former Chairman of Anambra State Council of Traditional Rulers, Igwe Alex Nwokedi, justified the raid and lashed out at prominent Nigerians who patronise the shrines.

Achuzia who was reacting to an unsigned statement allegedly issued by the socio-cultural organisation disowning his earlier position on the matter, said that he maintained his stance on the issue that Igbos should not be singled out for castigation over the presence or worship of shrines at Okija.

He claimed that the handling of the raid had portrayed the entire Igbo race as cannibals and idol worshippers, stressing that there are similar shrines all over Nigeria and all of them should be given similar treatment by the Police.

"I am not defending whatever the chief priests and the worshippers did but people should not say it is peculiar to Ndigbo," he said.

The secretary-general stated that his position on the matter was being twisted and misinterpreted by those who did not really understand the issue, adding that he never supported idol worshipping in any form.

But he declined comments on the reports that Ohanaeze disowned his position on the raid, saying: "I am not interested: all I have said is that this thing should not be made an Igbo issue, there should be a limit to everything."

Igwe Nwokedi who is the traditional ruler of Achalla Community in Anambra State, blamed prominent Nigerians for the prevalence of idolatry in the country, saying that if such people do not patronise the shrines, the operators would not engage in such practices.

He challenged the IGP to release names of prominent Nigerians who associated with the Okija shrines, stating that the measure would help to stop people from engaging in such practices.

He said: "You don't blame the priest or the worshippers of the shrine. We should blame the elite, the educated and prominent people amongst us who go there. Are we not ashamed of ourselves

Anybody who had been there should be ashamed of himself. What is the point that on Sunday we go to church and on Monday we go to shrine and swear. What point are we making."
He reaffirmed his support for the Police action, adding that since human lives were involved, there was nothing wrong in police raiding the area to prevent further deaths and to bring the culprits to book.

Meanwhile, Force Headquarters will brief the media today on the exploits of the Anambra State police command. The briefing will be done by Deputy Inspector-General of Police in charge of administration, Mr. Sunday Ehindero, at the Louis Edet House Headquarters of the Force.

The Guardian also learnt that in line with the directive of the IGP, Tafa Balogun, to the state commissioners of police to begin unscheduled raiding of suspected shrines nation-wide, those who operate and patronise them have started surreptitious relocation to avoid being exposed.`

Acting Major Benbella
Aug 16, 2004, 03:44 AM
It is amazing the extent so called "educated" Nigerians will go to to escape what posits for intellectual or scholarly discussion with the attendant lessons to be drawn from such sublime inquiry.

The Okija Shrine discovery and investigation is a case in point. Take how some who are supposedly educated and seasoned have interpreted these finds. "There are no shrines in Nigeria except Igboland", forcefully being argued by Zaiyol despite others attempt to point him on the way of correct and deep perspectives to be gained. Of course, shrines or what passes for them exists in other parts of Nigeria. These shrines may not involve the depositing of bodies in its "evil forests" as in Okija but they do exist. The links posted by Ndigbo I thought and as Anuwada noted, should have been sufficient to distract Zaiyol from the slippery slope he egregiously embarked upon without due assistance by clear thinking.

I would think that when our errors are pointed to us and clearly demonstrated as tedious it become the responsibility of one who is educated to recognize these errors and correct their assumptions built on fancy or animosity. Rather silly arguments are piled upon earlier silly arguments as if the amount of grammar we can muster i the heat of defending a bankrupt and fallacious position will stand as evidence. These are the kind of symptoms that has given rise to a decrepit republic as exists in Nigeria today. The "immediate effect" declaration and behavior that allows a company or platoon commander to think he can command Nigeria and its intellectual elites by organizing a coup and when he gets there , implementing an economic policy that only promotes his well-being.

But this harm of shoddy thinking is not restricted to where it belongs, on a heap of garbage, rather we find postings as the recent one made by Mr. OneNaija that reads like a communist editorial. Now, tell me, Mr. OneNaija, our resident rabble rouser and refusenik, how and why Igbos should be ashamed of the Okija Shrine? How many Igbo people did your "excellent sources" intimate to you participated in a pilgrimage to those shrines? Or are you as always interested in grasping straw arguments so long as it allows you to emante heat rather than light.

Should I say that everybody from your area is a particpant in carnage as evidenced by the recent slaughter of the mallams that live among your midst? Or should I go further and say that the massive slaughtering of close to three thousand persons in Plateau in 2002 is representative of the violent temper of your folks and your culture? You see why it is necessary to be careful before making blanket aspersions borne out of ignorance and half-baked education? Can we, using your paradigm, not be qualified and correct where we to assert that the North is full of dunces because of their gross capacity for misrule that has taken a well endowed gift of a country and turned it into the economic and social pariah of the world where laughter bellows each time the name of the country is mentioned in polite circles? Maybe, we can be correct if we assert that your inability at comprehension and drawing similaritties only when and where similar characteristics exists has prompted to you to generalize about a whole race based on a religious practice that only a few members of that race follow.

How about the greater shame that could be alluded to a country where some of its citizens choose to follow a different path of seeking justice because the corporate entity endowed with this previlege does not deliver anything that comes close to reminding participants in and observers of the its judicial process of justice? You see how fuzzy reasoning generates confusion and dilutes its perpectives?

I am sure that you and Zaiyol are "correct" in your juandiced and and sophomoric conclusions. Shrines and the practices of occultism only exists in Igboland and no where else in Nigeria because the Igbos who are supposedly Christians are truly shrine worshippers and animists. Now, we can rest and move on to other lesser issues like how to extricate the mess of a country that you and your cousins and fellow pilgrimage travellers in the north have thrust Nigeria into. Afterall, we have satisfied the yearnings of the mob and the Jejunes by identifying their problem - it is the Igbo shrines.

Uncle Sam:

You know all you need to do is do a simple goggling and you will find that shrine worshipping and science are not mutually exclusive. The traditional religion of the Japanese is Shintosim and it is still practiced by many of that country's citizens. Whom incidentally are greatlt interested in science. In psychology, you may want to get acquainted with the works of Carl Jung. The point is that the questions you posed lack historical or observatory relevance. Many countries, that we often associate with modernity and sciences, do engage, at least among some of its citizenries, with ancestral worship, divination and making pilgrimages to designated shrines. Japan, as I had noted earlier is one. So also is Ireland, Iceland, Russia.

Aug 16, 2004, 06:32 AM
Zaiyol the Resident Chief C-o-c-k-Sucker,

When people say don't serve two masters at the same time they know what they are saying, Zaiyol my patient. You were c-o-c-k-sucking and at the same time typing up the post that claimed that there was no shrine in Benue and no shrine in Northern Nigeria. But a resourceful Ndigbo went to work to produce some statement from a memorandum submitted by the Benue State govt. Yes, Benue State govt of Nigeria. According to the memorandum:

"This declaration was contained in a 48-page memorandum submitted by the Benue State government to the panel investigating ethnic/religious clashes in the area ... March 2004, another communal crisis exploded in Otukpo local council. In the wake of the crisis, the unholy combatants burned down over 100 houses. According to report, the crisis that erupted at Otukpo Kho, a stone throw from Otukpo town, the seat of Odi Idoma was a fall out of disagreements between two factions in the village. It was learnt that shortly after a traditional festival, both factions began a struggle over who was to take possession of the ancestral shrine" ---odili.net/news/source/2004/may/9/37.html (http://odili.net/news/source/2004/may/9/37.html)

That was the clincher. But Ndigbo did not stop there. He produced some other news articles to show that there are shrines in Kogi, Kaduna, Kwara, Plateau states all in Northern Nigeria. Anuwada loved that and he posted:

"Well done, Ndigbo. That was a robust and thorough rebuttal of an ill-considered statement."---Anuwada (8/14/04 19:30)

Zaiyol the killer didn't like it. He shed tears and cried to Anuwada: "Either you are not following this discussion or you are simply being biased."

Before that the psychopath responded to my resourceful work by posting links that had to do with 1966 coup. Yes, Zaiyol El-Zakky did that. What is the connection between the coup and the argument that there are shrines in Kogi, Kaduna, Kwara, Plateau states? My post cut what remained of life out of his already dead body. Like someone drowning, he looked for something to hang on to and what he found were links that had no bearing to the current thread.

However, I am getting good at being Zaiyol's headshrinker. I knew the buffon wanted some attention. So, I did some research and I found out that we crossed path on:

DECLASSIFIED US INTELLIGENCE ON NIGERIA 1964-1968 (http://p221.ezboard.com/fnigeriadiscussionsfrm2.showMessage?topicID=597.to pic)

For people who are interested:


he posted on this thread is the same content as these three (combined) he posted on that thread:




Of course the psychopath used a different link and added some other links to throw us off. You can see how his brain is working. His brain is not well-formed. He thinks he won on that thread - he thinks and acts like a goat. He is mentally challenged.

In a nutshell,

Zaiyol El-Zakky says no shrine in northern Nigeria.

Ndigbo proves shrines are in Kogi, Kaduna, Kwara, Plateau states all in northern Nigeria.

Zaiyol El-Zakky gasps for air and posts Military Rebellion of 15th January 1966.

Saddam Hussein and 911: no connection


Zaiyol the billy goat, I am just happy reading your confusion. If not for anything at least I am understanding the depth of your insanity. So, you see double? And you saw yourself making good arguements ... and you saw yourself winning? Oh, you even won on the old forum? Dream on candy boy. That's all you can win; candy bars. Mr Maggot, I was going to do a psychoanalysis but I don't spend a lot of resource on a charity case like you. Anyway, I will try my best to help. You see, one of the symptoms of your sickness is delusion. That was why you f-u-c-k-e-d a goat when you were 15 thinking that the he-goat was your boyfriend. Sometimes, it is accompanied by dementia. That is why your are so retarded and clumsy. Of course the deterioration caused you to join a sect and pimped your wife, Mr. Wife-swapper:


Maybe you don't need her anymore since you learnt c-o-c-k-sucking.

Btw, I heard that in your part of Benue State the custom is to offer your daughter or wife as a welcome token to a visitor. Your people are really backward. No wonder you act strange. Probably a visiting gorilla's sperm fertilized the egg that formed Zaiyol. Have a good week my wonderful patient.

Aug 16, 2004, 07:01 AM
It is amazing the extent so called "educated" Nigerians will go to to escape what posits for intellectual or scholarly discussion with the attendant lessons to be drawn from such sublime inquiry... Benbella

Maybe you should discusss

The Okija Shrine discovery and investigation is a case in point. Take how some who are supposedly educated and seasoned have interpreted these finds. "There are no shrines in Nigeria except Igboland", forcefully being argued by Zaiyol despite others attempt to point him on the way of correct and deep perspectives to be gained. . . . .Benbella

If your main intention here were not to defend a tribal cause, you would have explained the context in which that statement was made. As a matter of fact, I tried single-handedly to make this an intellectual debate by arguing consistently that, to generalize the findings over Nigerian population, standard criteria for generalizability of findings must be applied. Because that did not favor you people, you were bent on claiming that shrines are everywhere in Nigeria without scientifically explaining how you arrived at that generalization, yet you wanted people to buy your baseless arguments. As an intellectual, which standard generalizable criterion did you apply to arrive at the conclusion that shrines are everywhere in Nigeria? I am terribly disappointed that, rather than dispute my position with a set of criteria and a standard methodology that suggest crude findings such as the criminal shrines in Okija could be scientifically generalized over a given population, you have merely come out to show solidarity for a tribal cause and to attack the only person who has insisted that scientific measures be applied to determine generalizability of the findings. I am at loss as to what is intellectual argument in your opinion.

What you are essentially suggesting is that, if the police had picked up a YEN on a street in Okija, then the obvious interpretation would have been that, there are YENS everywhere in Nigeria. I definitely do not know about that being intellectual argument. What I do know for sure is, you cannot generalize from findings that are obtained through non-probability approach, and you cannot generalize if the sample used in obtaining the findings is not representative of the population. This is the basic criteria for determining whether findings can be generalized or not. Okija findings do not meet this basic threshold, therefore cannot be generalized. When findings cannot be generalized, they are technically limited to where the discovery was made, in this case, Okija. Therefore, I can comfortably attest, based on available evidence and records, that, there are no shrines in Nigeria except in Okija. You may dispute it, but that is the fact of life. You have no official record attesting that shrines are everywhere in Nigeria, but I have official records from the Nigerian Government attesting that shrines are ONLY in Okija, Anambra State.

Of course, shrines or what passes for them exists in other parts of Nigeria. These shrines may not involve the depositing of bodies in its "evil forests" as in Okija but they do exist. The links posted by Ndigbo I thought and as Anuwada noted, should have been sufficient to distract Zaiyol from the slippery slope he egregiously embarked upon without due assistance by clear thinking. . . . Benbella

If you were not very biased you wouldn't even mention his links in relation to this discussion. What has the military invasion of Benue State and the Zaki-Biam massacre got to do with Shrines? This is how you people lose your respect by jumping into discussions without reading what people are writing. How many of those LINKS did you check? What do you mean by slippery slope? I know precisely what I am talking about. Generalization is not made on the basis of hear-say, logic, familiarity or just by taking a tribal position, it takes a vigorous statistical process to determine whether a given finding can be generalized, and even when that determination is made, the exact probability and confidence level of getting the same thing elsewhere are clearly stated. Now, if someone asks you to state the probability of getting shrines in Kano, what would you tell the person?

I would think that when our errors are pointed to us and clearly demonstrated as tedious it become the responsibility of one who is educated to recognize these errors and correct their assumptions built on fancy or animosity. Rather silly arguments are piled upon earlier silly arguments as if the amount of grammar we can muster i the heat of defending a bankrupt and fallacious position will stand as evidence. These are the kind of symptoms that has given rise to a decrepit republic as exists in Nigeria today . . .Benbella

You do NOT believe in science, but I do. In science, you cannot just be telling people that something is everywhere in the country without supporting such statement with statistical evidence. I am not here to sound politically correct in order to please anybody. If you believe that shrines are everywhere in Nigeria and you want Zaiyol to believe you, you must provide official statistical data from an accredited source, supporting your position, otherwise you can only look forward to convincing street people in Nigeria who do not know anything about generalization of findings.

The "immediate effect" declaration and behavior that allows a company or platoon commander to think he can command Nigeria and its intellectual elites by organizing a coup and when he gets there , implementing an economic policy that only promotes his well-being. . . . Benbella

Are you kidding? So you do not even want me to respond to insults because they are coming from an Igbo man? It is your behavior that guarantees that, if you became a leader, you would set aside established rules, and rule by fiat. Your refusal to use established criteria to determine whether Okija findings can be generalized tells much about the type of person you are.

I am sure that you and Zaiyol are "correct" in your juandiced and and sophomoric conclusions. Shrines and the practices of occultism only exists in Igboland and no where else in Nigeria because the Igbos who are supposedly Christians are truly shrine worshippers and animists. Now, we can rest and move on to other lesser issues like how to extricate the mess of a country that you and your cousins and fellow pilgrimage travellers in the north have thrust Nigeria into. Afterall, we have satisfied the yearnings of the mob and the Jejunes by identifying their problem - it is the Igbo shrines. . . .Benbella

If anything is sophomoric at all, it is your argument, that your convoluted word of mouth supersedes established scientific norms of treating findings. If you were not sophomoric, you would probably have been aware of research methods and how to classify generalizable and non-generalizable findings. I feel terrible for you guys - years of accumulated pride of predominant Christianity, have suddenly given way to Okija Shrines. It's a hard nut to crack, but you must learn to change with the changing environment. One way to do this, is to start by accepting the new reality - that Okija Shrines are deeply in Igbo hinterland not elsewhere; It cannot be said that, these shrines are everywhere in Nigeria due to generalizable limitations, therefore, you can henceforth expect to be rudely characterized by anybody anyhow they choose to do it, political correctness not withstanding.

Big Steve
Aug 16, 2004, 09:23 AM
That shrines pervade the Nigerian cultural landscape is a given. No one can argue against the latter. As Wole Soyinka said, there are two types of shrines: beatific and criminal.

The bone of contention in this thread should focus on the human sacrifice and the countless corpses whose heads were severed from the body, and whose genitals were missing a la Ogwugwu shrine in Okija. Sane people have condemned this outrageous and barbaric act. It is useless ascribing the crime of a few fellows to a whole race. This discussion ought not degenerate to the level of ethnicity, neither should anyone be in denial.

What should bother the mind of all is why despite the generations of existence of this shrine, no one ever blew the whistle until now? Various government officials we are told have visited the Ogwugwu shrine, these officials must have seen first hand the corpses and savored the stench from the "Evil Forest." It is really saddening to observe that we are not discussing the implications of the revelations rather we are into ethnic baiting and generalization.

Of course, no one should fail to observe that some vocal Ndigbo have been crushed by the barbarism in their neck of woods, especially given the cacophony of false superiority and christianity which for long has been claimed as the religion of the 'civilized' group of Nigerians. I guess it is in the latter that Zaiyol's writings should be looked at. For now, no group is immuned from the insanity that has bedevilled Nigeria and the latest revelation should be a check to the noise-makers that hypocrisy does not pay in the advancement of one's cause.

Aug 16, 2004, 10:38 AM

Aug 16, 2004, 06:45 PM
This is what I got from the above.
1. Ndigbo believes in spirits. Hmmm- this goes to show why some believe in those shrines.
2. Checking into mental institution? So you believe in science too?

Uncle Sam,

I am not sure what you were trying to do. I hope you were merely trying to be funny and not trying to stoop to the level of the retarded soul, Zaiyol. Three religions I am familiar with - Christianity, Islam and African religion all believe in spirits.

Igbo religion believes in evil spirits - ajo mmuo. Exorcism or sacrifice is required to break the influence of evil spirits.

Islam beleives in evil spirits or genie. Genie in Koran is an invisible spirit believed to inhabit the earth and influence man. In one of the histories I read, Tafawa Balewa got his facial marks because they thought he was too handsome and therefore susceptible to genie. The marks were to make him less handsome and unattractive.

Christianity believes in Holy spirit and evil spirits - demons. Pentecostal churches cast out demons just like Jesus Christ did in the New Testament. Roman Catholics do exorcism. Christianity teaches that christians should be possessed by the spirit of God (Holy Spirit) and not the types that are in possession of Zaiyol - he has legion of demons. Look at it from Christian angle, Islamic angle, African religion angle, he still need deliverance. It is up to him and his family to decide where to take him.


And importantly also, this whole sordid matter is an indictment of not just the murderous "priests" of Okija but also the entire Igbo for having allowed the gruesome shenanigans of the murder syndicate to go on unperturbed for so long.


I think that was a dangerous statement to make. The priests have not been found guilty of any offense. The priests claim that the dead bodies were brought to the shrines by the deceased families. Since they have the registers the Police should investigate on that. Another error I have noticed in some news articles is that people were given concotions. That is a lie as far as I know.

I was talking with a friend who lives in Boston and he confessed that he believes that his uncle was killed by Ogwugwu-Akpu. The uncle became a zealous pastor in a Sabbath church. Ogwugwu-Akpu is in his village. He went to the shrine and destroyed all he could see against the advice of his immediate family members to leave the dead to bury the dead.

After many days his stomach stareted protruding. They say that before Ogwugwu-Akpu kills a victim, the victim develops a protruded stomach.

Note: Ogwugwu-Isiula at the heart of this shrine invasion could kill by any means according to those involve. Police invaded both shrines because they have a proximity. If there was any shady affair like 419 going on, it must be in the shrine of Isiula.

Back to my story, the pastor was told to go to the shrine and assuage the shrine but he refused claiming that the shrine had no power. He died days after and his family took his body there.

1. He never took concotion.
2. His body was taken there by his family.

Therefore you cannot accuse the priests of his murder.

Police investigations should eventually tell us if there are parhaps tens or hundreds of other Okijas in Igboland today.

There may be thousand but like I said before some of the shrines are unattended to or abandoned, some overtaken by huge forests, some are one-man or one-family operation. I don't expect them to go away because there are people who still believe in them and they have every right to do so.


Acting Major Benbella,

Excellent, but you have seen he is always in denial. It is a symptom of a psychiatric problem.


Big Steve,

Thank you. From onset I have called for proper investigation. I don't have anything to gain or loose but I just want people involve to get justice. I tried to post what I know, seen or heard. But some people here turned it into Igbo and the rest of us. I am from Okija and a proud one. I was not crushed by the "barbarism in their neck of woods" because I am aware of my enviroment. I have not seen any Okijan of my generation who thinks that any of the shrine is a compliment to our character and hardwork. I have seen abandoned shrines in Okija and I know it is a matter of time before the Ogwugwus go the way of others. Okija has a population of about 50,000. About 30 priests were arrested - 0.0006% that were running a family business. But the Benue liar painted Okija and Igboland with evil brush. So, when I go toe-to-toe with the Benue maggot I always give it back to him as he dishes it.

As for claiming superiority, I don't know about that. I haven't claim superiority and I am sure majority of Igbos don't feel that way. Personally, I don't think that practise of Christianity confers any form of superiority on anybody. The west might claim that but I have not heard that from an African. One thing I have heard though is that Igbos believe, based on what happened during the civil war, that given the necessary incentives, they have the potential to move Nigeria technology forward. Of course they never claimed that other ethnic groups couldn't the same.

If Zaiyol the bile-excreter wanted to argue or "demystify" some inferred, perceived or assumed Igbo superiority based on Christianity, he should come clean with that argument and desist from posting lies, deception and other false claims.

His lies caught up with him. He is floored, he is writhing in pain.

Aug 16, 2004, 07:18 PM
This link has nothing to do with this thread. I think it is worth to bookmark it.

nema.gospelcom.net/ow_nig....html#geo2 (http://nema.gospelcom.net/ow_nigeria/owtext.html#geo2)

Poetic Justice
Aug 16, 2004, 07:19 PM
Shrines are part of African heritage.

Shrines are scattered all over Nigeria, one wonders why the police are making BIG noise over Okija..

I am not an Igbo, but we have shrines in our areas...

Aug 16, 2004, 08:20 PM
This thread exemplies all that ails us as Nigerians.

A barbaric, medieval site of ancestral worship/practice was raided by law enforcement suspecting, as any reasonable person should in the light of what is known, murder and mutilation under the guise of ritual justice. And what is the reaction of our Village literati?

- A recourse to moral equivalence rather than denounce the evil of man's inhumanity to his fellow man in the name of tradition. Any wonder then that such despicable, yes despicable, beliefs as the Abiku/Osu caste system still holds the minds of many among us hostage, despite our Ph.Ds and enlightenment?

- An attempt to salve unnecessary group/ethnic embarassment by insisting on the obvious - the existence of similar practices elsewhere - as if the spread of a criminal/barbaric practice somehow makes it acceptale or less odious. I fear that the latter is no more than a bid for cold comfort - the "everybody does/did it" defence that never saved my behind from a deserved lashing from my parents.

- A denial, as Big Steve has alluded, of the rank hypocrisy in which many, including Ngige, claim Christianity by day but head to corpse-strewn shrines at night to mortgage their souls and pervert the very justice that some here raise as the cultural basis for the existence of these shrines. This gives a new meaning to serving God and Mammon!

- On this thread, we have read Villagers prefacing their posts with claims of Christianity before delving into a staunch defence of potential criminal occultism. We are now told that there is indeed little difference between drinking fruit juice and unleavened bread to commemorate the Lord's Supper with walking into a shrine filled decaying and dismembered corpses with the intent to invoke spirits to kill or fleece those not favoured by the priest/s. This is over a century after our forebears had to be educated that small-pox was merely a disease rather than the anger of the gods and twins were not an aberration but a biological equivalent of buy-one, get one free!!

Folks, we no longer need the white man or be spirit-filled with whatever religion to denounce this anachronism of evil masquerading as traditional culture.

Not too far from Ndigbo, in Salem, Massachussetts innocent people were drowned on charges of being witches. The French burned their witches at the stakes. As they gained enlightenment, they discarded these evil practices and their societies became better for it. In our own case, some of us appear too willing to hold onto or rationalize evil in the name of ethnic/racial traditions.

I cannot but wonder if many of us will not simply walk on by as often happened in Lagos when a mob stones an old woman to death because, like the Pastor in Ndigbo's post above, she "confessed" to being a witch - after what we now know about dementia or Alzheimer's disease. This is the same country where people exact mob justice over claims of disappearing genitals or the latest, killer cell-phone calls!!

And we get angry when others portray us as primitive savages. Is every Igbo a believer in this shrine worship - only an ***** would think so. Should every Igbo and the rest of us where similar rituals occur, be sufficently concerned to help stop evil paganism in our communities - I say yes.

narele okola
Aug 16, 2004, 08:33 PM
Good job foks...


After many days his stomach stareted protruding. They say that before Ogwugwu-Akpu kills a victim, the victim develops a protruded stomach.

Ogwugwu-Akpu must be on a tier with our politicians! Na so so protruding yansh and belle.

Even with the generality of the people, want notwithstanding!


Aug 16, 2004, 09:35 PM
Ndigbo, son of a DOG,

However battered your ego, things will never be the same again . It is officially proven to the whole world that, Igbos while disguising everywhere and claiming to be predominately christians, are infact, Idol worshippers with shrine world headquarters at Okija. Son of a Bitch, you cannot change the momentum set in motion by the police to totally prove that you are idol worshippers NOT christians. Your headquarters at Okija is under siege with names of prominent Igbos who hitherto paraded themselves as christians including Governor Ngige, Chris Uba, Nzeribe, amongst others being exposed. You are here with the dog-blood in your veins defending an evil cause.

Your writings as previously analyzed by Uncle Sam, suggest you are an Evil Priest of the worst order. Your writings filled with references of evil spirits and recommendations that people visit okija shrines is a demonstration of your evil beliefs.

It is pointless taking an academic path of discourse with a man who is not just totally illiterate but a complete ***** like you, Ndigbo, the son of a DOG who eats DOG. An illiterate who believes his unsupported word of mouth supersedes scientific norms and should be accepted as is. Even if people were still stupid enough to unquestionably accept unscientific arguments that are purely based on emotions, feelings, hear-says, etc, they would at this point have a serious reservation accepting such from people who for years paraded themselves as christians in other countries, regions and states while harbouring criminal evil shrines in their hinterland.

The arguments of "shrines are everywhere in Nigeria" were introduced right from the on-set to make Igbos look good and apt, they have nothing scientifically to support the assertion. That is why NO Igbo on this forum will accept my line of argument because it leads to a scientific approach that would consequently tear down the remaining evil mask which they feel is now protecting their integrity, namely, "shrines are everywhere in Nigeria". I will continue to challenge that unsupported and unscientific declaration that is criminally designed to protect multiple personalities of shrine executives and the Igbo pride while tarnishing the image of Nigeria.

Ndigbo, the Evil Priest, son of a Dog and a card-carrying member of Okija shrines has severally invoked the shrines to deal with people who argue against it, yet this same hooligan wants people to believe his unholy and evil stories of shrines are everywhere in Nigeria without providing any scientific data to support his criminal contention. This same Dog has supplied links to various political crises in Nigeria, claiming those crises were shrines. I believe, only a fool will take this Dog serious.

As far as official statistical evidence goes, Ndigbo can go to hell or go to Okija to kiss more dead bodies or rape them as usual, the fact remains that, there are no shrines in Nigeria except in Okija, Anambra State, where Nigbo remains an Evil Priest.

Aug 16, 2004, 10:29 PM
Can't you guys just blame this whole thing on CIA, FBI, Mossad or Western Europe?. I think it's a much easier thing rather than going this far.
As a matter of fact, this case will end just like that of Clifford Orji. It's Nigeria, thinks like that go in a familiar order. First the general shock, followed by some gossip and rumors in the absence of legitimate information. Everything starts and ends murky....afrostyle; and then life goes on as usual without questions being asked.

When was the last time anyone heard about Chief Alfred Rilwane's killers? Or any efforts to find his killers?. Maybe Clifford Orji even works as a teacher now, or is filing for an electoral seat somewhere.

Aug 17, 2004, 12:06 AM
2000 killed in Okija -Informant writes IG-Police recover 23 more corpses

The Police on Friday disclosed that the man whose petition led to the invasion of the Okija shrine, alleged that more than 2000 people were killed at the shrine within the last three years.

Deputy Inspector-General of Police (Administration), Mr. Sunday Ehindero, stated this in Abuja while presenting the police interim report on the recovery of corpses from the shrine.

The police chief said at the news conference that the petitioner alleged that his life was being threatened by some devotees who had obtained half a million naira from him for the purchase of a piece of land.

He stated that the petitioner wrote the police when he realised that the persons were neither ready to give him the land nor refund the money. Instead, they threatened that the deity would kill him if he ever said anything about the deal.

His words: "He became afraid and petitioned the Inspector General of Police who swung into action by sending a team of detectives to the shrine. The petitioner claimed that about 2000 people have been killed at the Okija shrine in the past three years."

Ehindero said that the police would also be interested in knowing how the deity killed its victims but assured that the force would abide by the law in conducting their investigations.

On the recovery of corpses, Ehindero, said the first raid on the shrine produced 60 corpses while a subsequent raid led to the recovery of 23 more corpses.

According to Ehindero, over 66 skeletons were scattered around the forests where the shrines in Okija were located.

He said: "Sixty of the corpses were at various stages of decomposition, many died with their clothes on.
"Some of the fresh corpses had been deposited at a mortuary in Enugu.

"A fresh corpse of a young man was also recovered."

Ehindero explained that one of the suspects under interrogation, who identified himself as Collins Obi, who said he had worked at the Okija shrine for 2 years, identified the young man's corpse as that of Onyekachi Ega, who was summoned to the shrine by one Kingsley.

The DIG said police initially arrested 31 suspects but nine additional suspects were apprehended later.

Only the 31 suspects earlier arrested had been moved to the Force Headquarters in Abuja.

He stated that the remaining nine were being expected on Friday (yesterday) evening.

The DIG said that the chief priests of the two shrines were arrested and were in police custody.

He said, "These chief priests are left back in Anambra State because of their age. They are about 90 years old, one of them is blind.
Ehindero said the Police pathologists had commenced investigations to determine the identity of the recovered corpses, their families, the cause of death and how the corpses became headless.
The police reiterated that they would also scrutinize the names in the register recovered from the shrines.

He narrated the modus operandi of the priests thus: "The custodians of the shrines ran a parallel system of justice.

"When somebody complains to the custodians that he has grievances against another, the custodians issue an invitation to the person complained against. If he fails to come, they threaten him that the deity would trace him and kill him.

"If he makes it there, they will give him a concoction.
"Evidence revealed that some of them died after taking the concoction.

"They created the impression that the one that died was not honest before the deity."

"We are worried that some of the corpses are headless."

Ehindero stated that the shrine in the time past must have been administered by honest priests but that the system became corrupted when a new generation of priests took over.

Aug 17, 2004, 02:12 AM
It is quite interesting how Acting Major Benbella has sought, by way of his apparently contrived indignation, to portray what must be an uncomfortable inquiry by myself into the evil in Okija as part of a stereotypical discourse on the Igbo. I have clearly indicated in my last post here why I believe Igbos as a group should be ashamed of Okija. So, any attempt to turn my well-reasoned position into a stereotyping enterprise targeting the Igbos should be seen as an exercise in futility.

And as for your bizarre allusion to "the recent slaughter of the Mallams that live among your midst", I've always maintained that the atomistic Plateau people should individually and collectively bear the brunt of the shame arising from the xenophobic politics of irrationality and animosity which has gripped much of their area and which is predicated on an atavistic 'settler'/'indigene' dichotomy. Again, this cannot rationally be perceived as an abusive generalization regarding a given social group.

It is curious how you have also sought to interprete what has happened in Okija as "...a different path of seeking justice" when there is every indication that we are confronted with a crime syndicate cynically exploiting the superstitious gullibility of a people for selfish political as well as personal objectives. The political and communal ramifications of the scandal of the Okija 'evil forest' are yet to be fully assessed. Yet, from the look of things, Okija, if pursued to its logical conclusion, may prove a much more far-reaching debacle of the Nigerian polity than the largely comic segment of the attempted abduction of Ngige - an episode of the PDP's rigging spree in 2003. But Okija's political significance may not be limited to the current Obasanjo era. Some of the powerful patrons of the priests of the 'evil forest' - dead or alive - are said to have wielded power during the Babangida and Abacha years. Sadly, the type of histrionics Tafa Balogun and his boss, Baba, are subjecting us to in the Okija saga may eventually lead us along the same discredited path of past "investigations" like the ones involving the murders of the late Ige and Marshall Harry.


I'm amazed that you seem to be ascribing the murders of individuals "brought" before the 'evil forest" 'justice' to a mythical "Ogwugwu-Akpu" instead of the 419 witch doctors. Some of these "priests" have already reportedly narrated how their scam operated: that all those dragged before them were told that any person found guilty would face death at the hands of the 'traditional' deity! So, the primary concern should be with determining the details of how those whose corpses were found at the evil shrines were made to depart from this world.

Aug 18, 2004, 12:28 AM
The pattern of discussion on this bored and how they always end up is a further proof to my earlier points that brothers are working too many jobs. Sending too much money via WU, paying too much on phone bills and going through the emotional consequences of choosing the kind of women they currently live with.

Aug 18, 2004, 09:24 PM
The good news is that Zaiyol El-Zakky, the snake oil seller is floored. His lies are thrown to his face. Half-man, half-gorilla, Zaiyol reminds us of Mike Tyson on June 8, 2002 after Lennox Lewis delivered the final punch. Blood is oozing from his eyes. Zaiyol is despondent about the failures of his lies; he is sickened with despair just like his idol, Mike Tyson on July 30, 2004 when he was mowed down by unknown Danny Williams.

Just imagine Tyson on the floor while the ref is counting. Yes, that is Zaiyol right there. Like his idol, Tyson, Zaiyol is psychotic and a deranged man; demented, incapable of reasoning properly. On top of that Zaiyol, the imp is a professional liar. Even his good morning greeting is a lie. Unlike Tyson, Zaiyol has amnesia and he cannot recall certain things in his past. But I am here to help because I am his shrink. I will help him remember.

Goofy head, I am going to give you prozac when we are done. Just relax. Sit down, sucker! We are going to do some meditation to help you remember. Stretch out your hands towards me. Close your eyes. Relax. Say ommmm. Say it gently. Again. Ommmm. Yea, that's good. Now go back to your childhood ... when you were nine years old in Makurdi. Yes, that's good. You are playing with your younger brother who is eight. Mohammed is there with you two. Remember you stole Mohammed's choco-milo yesterday. Yes, I know that you were deprived and abused as a child. Yes, I know because you looked like a boy-gorilla. It was not your fault. Let's not get into that today. I don't want us to be sidetracked. Just concentrate. That's good. Mohammed is mad now. He is beating you up for stealing his choco milo. He throws you on the ground. He is punching you. You can see your younger brother now. He is really pissed like Hulk in the blockbuster movie Hulk. He starts walking on four. You have never seen that before. He is barking right now. He is barking ferociously. He is running towards Mohammed now. He is amazing. Mohammed is confused, he tries to flee. Your brother is really good on his four. He gets to Mohammed, he bites him in the leg. Blood is flowing. Mohammed is crying, your brother is biting deep. Neighbours are coming. Mohammed is rescued, your brother is still barking like a real dog, like the British Bulldog you saw near the Government House the other day. Your mumsie comes out; with two other adults they are trying to subdue your brother. He is really feisty and strong. They now take him inside the house. Foam is formed in his mouth. They shackle him with the chain your father bought the other day. Your mumsie gives him some concotion. He is growling. He is out.

Zaiyol, are you still with me? Please continue. Your popsie comes back. He goes to the hospital with you to see Mohammed. Mohammed has rabies from the bite but they won't allow you near him. He is barking like your brother did in afternoon. You can hear it from the front desk. You are confused. You come home with you popsie and you tell him what happened in the afternoon. You ask him why your brother was on all four, why he barked. He says he thinks he is of the dog. He says his white friend visited the house when you were three months old with his dog. He tells you that there is a tradition that takes care of a good and important visitors with a daughter or a wife. Nine months after his visit, your mumsie gave birth to your younger brother.

Good Zaiyol. You are really doing great. You didn't understand what your popsie told you then but it started making some sense when the teacher started treating reproductive cycle in your secondary school. No wonder your brother looks like a British Bulldog, walks on all four when he is angry and barks like a m-o-t-h-e-r-f-u-c-k-i-n-g dog. And you, you look like a gorilla. It's all making sense to you. You are of the gorilla, your brother is of the dog. What a great tradition. You see, you confused me with your brother. Your brother is the son-of-a-dog and you are the brother to a son- of-a-dog.

You did great. Now you can take your prozac. Try to get some sleep. Your next appointment is 6pm Thursday.

Aug 18, 2004, 09:25 PM
Culled from Champion Newspapers Limited

All that frenzy about Okija


THE Okija shrines have suddenly hit the headlines and a lot of misinformation has been bandied about Ndigbo. It is important for the records to be kept straight lest the lies become the truth and the truth becomes the lies.

Before the coming of the Arabs and the Europeans, Africans had their traditional worship and methods of adjudication of disputes. Virtually every village had a deity, an evil or sacred forest (grove) that housed the shrine and nearby market. Everything about the village revolved around the deity. Some days were set apart for the worship of that deity. Sacrifice were made to that deity by the community. Disputes between kinsmen in the community were resolved by the people in an open arena. But where one party refused to abide by the terms of the resolution or where the community could not resolve the dispute, then, the issue is taken to the village deity. Here, the parties will swear to the veracity of their claims and that the deity should kill the guilty party. This oath may last for one year. Any part that dies during that one year is deemed to be the guilty one. A person who makes a false allegation against a person before the deity is also expected to be killed by the deity. The killing here is not by an attack from any person nor by poison. It is just believed to be an act of the deity where one dies in his sleep, or after a long illness or is attacked by an animal or slumps and dies or where the person goes insane.

The village deity acquires a reputation when people from another village go to it to resolve disputes or to consult it for solution to their problems or to uncover a thief or murderer in their mist. The deity is revered as long as the people believe it is still powerful or useful to them.

Quite often, lightning and thunder, a river, sea, lake, hill, mountain or a huge ancient tree was believed be the abode of a deity. That is why all those places were objects of worship. It is in this regard that we have the Long juju of Arochukwu, Okija, Igwekala, Ebino Ukpabi, Orashir, Mammy water of the South-East and South-South of Nigeria, the Oro, the Ogun, the Sango, the Ifa and the Oshogbo of the South West of Nigeria.

The whole of the North had different deities. The Jukuns, the Dekinas, the Tivs all had their own deities that led them to their various wars. The major object of the war led by Uthman Dan Fadio was to liberate the people of the Northern part of Nigeria from their idol worshippers. The division in the North rested between those who accepted the Fulanis and their religion and those who continued with their traditional worship.

Those who were killed by the deity were not buried because they were deemed to have been rejected by the land deity. By this it is meant that the dead person had committed a sacrilege against the land by asking the land deity to attest to a falsehood. The dead person is then dumped in the evil forest. His piece of land, economic trees and animals automatically become the property of the deity under the beneficial control of the priests. This system worked for them until the Arabs brought Islam and the European introduced Christianity into Africa. The traditional religion suddenly became known as juju or idol worship and the Ifa priests, dibias, the maiganis and the sangomas became known derogatively as the juju priests.

In today's Africa we have about seven categories of people: The real Christians who have nothing to do with juju worship and Islam; The real Moslems who have nothing to do with the Christianity and juju worship; The real Traditional religion people who have nothing with Christianity and Islam; The half Christians and half moslems who do not draw a line between the two; The half Christian, half traditional religion adherent. He is a
church goer, answers a Christian name but also indulges in and believes in juju worship; The half moslem, half traditional religion adherent. He is a moslem ostensibly but believes very much in juju worship and the maigani; and The last group comprises people who do not believe in 1-6 categories but adhere to Hare Krishna, Guru, Hindu, etc and those who do not believe in God.

As at today, those who are not into juju worship are the true Christians, true moslems and the last group (group 7). The others indulge in and carry out the practice of traditional worship as has been done by their forefathers. It is in this light that: You see objects of sacrifice all over the fly overs and bridges in Lagos; the killing and removal of the genitals in the whole of Nigeria for ritual sacrifices; the plucking of the eyes in the North for ritual sacrifices; the one-family-one-shrine syndrome in Benin; the dumping of dead bodies in the Agbara Okija in the South East; and the worship of mammy water in the Niger Delta from time to time, people revolt against such practices. Whereas it is common to see people passing by the mutilated bodies of victims of ritual murders in Lagos, the people of Owerri in Imo State uprooted those who were fingered in the mutilation as the notorious Otokoto case.

In the immediate case of Okija, this deity has a notoriety that transcends far and wide. The 419ners patronised it frequently to settle the sharing of their loot. In all cases, where the guilty person dies, the family of the dead man will not bury his corpse but will dump it at the shrine. It is also believed that the person's wealth will be acquired by the deity. I use the word "believed" because the activities of all shrines are shrouded in mystery and only the priests can give a true account of what happens.

The power of the juju does not affect the true Christians and Moslems. It only has a hold over the others. A prominent family I know in Imo State was reported to this Agbara Okija some years ago. This family refused to respond to the petition. Rather, it consulted the Catholic Bishop in the area who advised them not to respond and that prayer to God Almighty is the only answer. One year after, the petitioner went mad. It is also believed in some quarters that the priests actually pretend to have power in order to instill fear into the people. The Long Juju (Arochukwu) was unmasked in 1912 when the British soldiers stormed the shrine and the truth came out. All those who were supposed to have been killed were indeed sold into slavery through the Cross-River. Some of those who were not sold to the slave traders are today part of Calabar community. Governor Chris Ngige was not intimidated by the Agbara Okija and he has lived to tell the story.

Ezego was rumoured to have been a victim after he died in a motor crash. His widow is still in possession of his wealth. Abiriba people in Abia State lived peacefully together when they bound themselves to the Ebino Ukpabi (from Akwa Ibom) to guarantee honest dealings among themselves. Today, they are busy with cases of internecine disputes, arson and violence in the community. Medical science has shown to us that those who slump (cardiac arrest) or a sharp pain in the leg (thrombosis) or whose limbs are
paralysed (stroke) were formerly attributed to the deities and evil men.

Society has moved on but the adherents of traditional religion are still defending their right to freedom of worship. But it is important to delineate the boundary between religion and crime. I believe that the current frenzy over the Okija shrine which even made the CNN news will evaporate like a smoke. This is because the story of the complainant is more like that of one with malice (according to the Newspaper accounts). He has a good chance of assisting the police to find the truth if he wants. The shrine has a register. That will be the first time a crime world will have a register of its killings. If the priests believe they were committing a crime, they will not keep a register. They will not have lasted for this length of time especially when one realises that Anambra State has the highest density of police men after Lagos State.

This writer and other Nigerians will like to know what really has been found and since there is a register with all the parties names there, we expect the relations to come and lodge their complaints, make statements and carry their relation's corpse. I also expect the outcome of the investigation to be made available to the world news media as it is the
image of Nigeria that is at stake.

Finally, I find it curious that it is now when the campaign for an Igbo person to become the President of Nigeria that this "discovery" has been made. The truth must be told as there are insinuations of all shades going on against Ndigbo for this "discovered crime scene" which I expect the Police to guard round the clock so that nothing will be tampered with.

-Uwazurike is a Lagos-based legal practitioner.

© 2004 @ Champion Newspapers Limited (All Right Reserved). Powered By
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Aug 19, 2004, 12:24 AM
The article above by one Uwazurike is a good example of the type of strange drivel that passes for enlightened commentary. It is astonishing that for a supposedly intellectual piece which claims to elucidate the maze of criminal and dubious pursuits associated with the Okija scandal, Uwazurike's rant has ended up as a grotesque attempt at disculpation and cultural jingoism of the irrational kind.

A much more lucid effort at understanding Okija and its sins is the analysis by Okenwa Nwosu which can be accessed at the following link:
www.nigeriavillagesquare1...nwa-s.html (http://www.nigerialinks.com/Articles/Guest/2004/08/lost-between-two-worlds-by-okenwa-s.html)

Sunday, August 15, 2004
Lost Between Two Worlds
by Okenwa S. Nwosu, MD

Forwarded by C.F. Ikpatt

The chilling report about the police findings at Ogwugwu Okija shrine is only a premonition of the confusion and disorientation that has permeated the psyche of the contemporary African. No doubt, the CNN, BBC, AP, Reuters, UPI and a host of other foreign media groups are already making their way to Okija, Ihiala Local Government of Anambra state, to record this gruesome site for their worldwide audience. Exposure of the worst about us gives great pleasure and a sense of relevance to many who would seize upon any opportunity to showcase the African, and in this case the Igbo, as someone entrapped in a psychological abyss from which he cannot rescue himself. But before anyone of us hops on the bandwagon of those who have always longed to civilize us, we must first pause, take a deep breath and exhale slowly.

Yes, indeed, the reported account of police raid in Ogwugwu Okija is real and unfortunately, not new in Alaigbo. Acts like the one reported is not confined to Okija shrine nor is it a fetish practice that is confined to non-believers in Christ, rural folks or impoverished kith and kin. Sites similar to the Okija shrine can be found in, at least, two locations in Enugu state, for example and also in many other states in Nigeria. During the abortive Third Republic electioneering politics of the early 90s, political operatives in a faction of National Republican Convention (NRC) in the Old Anambra State were routinely sent to one of such shrines in Oji River local government area to swear allegiance to one of the party's financiers of the time. The incumbent governor of Anambra state was alleged to have been a guest of the Okija shrine priests before he was sanctioned as PDP gubernatorial candidate in 2003 elections. Another news account of the police raid at Okija shrine suggested that one of the decomposing bodies found there was that of a wealthy Igbo Lagos-based businessman named Chief Okafor. It is no secret that the preponderance of sponsors of the likes of Okija shrines in Alaigbo and elsewhere in the country are mostly professed and practicing Christians.

What has gone wrong, one would ask? Many things have indeed gone awry. The masses of our people are trapped between two worlds; the new one that they haven't fully understood and thus unable to appreciate and the old one which they have been persuaded to abandon and disdain. When superimposed upon uncertainty about future prospects in our decrepit environment and widespread economic decline, many regular folks have incrementally lost faith in the so-called new way to modernity and are willing to give the past methods a try. If the police cannot successfully investigate and prosecute crimes with punitive sanctions meted to well known offenders, the hapless villager would not mind to resort the likes of Ogwugwu Okija oracle to seek retribution. Furthermore, since swearing by the Holy Bible has not been shown to elicit compliance in a predictable manner nowadays, the firm hand of Ogwugwu Okija priest has become a better choice for parties that are intent on entering into solemn undertaking that must not be broken. Nature allows no vacuum to exist under normal circumstances. That the likes of Ogwugwu Okija are thriving and doing hectic business today is an admission and clear evidence that those charged with leading us in the new way, after we have been de-linked from our past, have failed woefully in delivering expected results.

Without belaboring the issue, shrine priests have unwittingly been given de facto judicial powers that should otherwise belong with the police and our courts of law. Is justice then better served by going this route? Certainly, not. As further investigation on this matter shall uncover before too long, we shall learn how lethal potions are routinely administered to oath takers who flock to that shrine, sometimes based on underhand information provided beforehand regarding potential suspects or just by random pickings. Savage and horrifying, isn't it? I had a close-up view of an incident decades ago which began to make more sense to me since acquiring my medical education. A typical oath was given to prove one's innocence or guilt in a given case, for example, stealing or surreptitious ill will to neighbors, relatives and friends popularly termed witchcraft. Adult members of an entire village often volunteer en masse to visit the shrine to eat the Okija shrine's "chalk" as means of self-exculpation. The wily priests of Ogwugwu Okija usually prepare parcels of powdery stuff for each person to chew and swallow completely. The gullible oath takers never suspect that these priests selectively spike some parcels with potentially lethal concoctions while leaving the rest to function as placebo. The unlucky ones who get the spiked powder usually begin to hallucinate shortly afterward thereby publicly demonstrate their "guilt" for all to see.

Some folks end up dying acutely from complications of these potions while others could die slowly over weeks and months as their organ system functions sequentially shut down. In recent years, Ogwugwu Okija oracle has extended its claim to include the remains of its dead "guilty" clients as well as all their lifetime belongings. The majority of human remains found during police raid of the Okija shrine sites could belong to the deity's victims whose corpses were taken to the oracle out of fear of possible retribution to rest of the household and extended family. Those who manage to recover from the ordeal usually live out their lives tainted in the eyes of even their loved ones. Maintaining a regular stream of casualties amongst those who throng the shrine for oath taking is a sure way of sustaining the fear and deep reverence which the populace has for such shrines. Before delving into possible solutions to this shameful and dehumanizing scourge inflicted on our people in this day and age, it is important to first obtain greater insight into what's actually happening. A better and fuller understanding of this phenomenon is a crucial first step in finding lasting solutions.

The average Igbo lives concurrently in two spiritual worlds that are anchored in both the authentic indigenous and the imported religious belief systems. If the assertion quoted above is true, then it is easier to comprehend why the revelations from Ogwugwu Okija shrine should be seen as a realistic depiction of the dichotomous spiritual world of the average contemporary Igbo. As many have now corroborated, the Okija shrine is but only one of many of its kind that exist today in Alaigbo. The greed and excesses shown by the oracle of Ogwugwu Okija have drawn public attention to that particular shrine but other deities in Alaigbo operate in ways that are not remarkably different. Quite often during my extended period of medical practice in Nigeria, some of my sick patients' relatives would plead with me to permit them to consult with oracles about the patients' illnesses so as to facilitate the healing process. The most popular destinations in most parts of Alaigbo are the "nail removers" who are usually renowned traditional healers or oracles. On occasions, I had to reschedule surgery because patients' relatives were extremely reluctant to cooperate until the "nail removers" have had their input. Some of them firmly believed that operative intervention for diagnosed intestinal blockage, for example, could turn out badly unless the sorcerers first neutralized the "poison" willed into the patients' body by imagined enemies.

The OSU issue lingers in Alaigbo because the overwhelming majority of Ndigbo still fear that meddling with rights of people whose ancestors were dedicated to the service of deities was simply a potentially dangerous act. The Igbo ruling elite and intelligentsia have instead preferred to adopt a see-nothing hear-nothing attitude toward the most important human rights issue that confronts Alaigbo today. The common excuses proffered are that such issues should die a natural death with passage of time and that the combination of Christianity and modernity through Western education are well on course to obliterating the last vestiges of an antiquated practice that only meant anything in a bygone era. These lame excuses provide essential comfort zones for contemporary Igbo elite, the cream of who have since gone into voluntary exile overseas in search of greener pastures. Ndigbo talk so emotionally about advancement of the lot of our kith and kin but, as we speak, this generation of Igbo elite and intelligentsia have no coherent means of re-investing their intellect, skills and financial resources into enhancing a cultural heritage that we profess to love very much. Just like partisan politics, commerce and entrepreneurship in Alaigbo have virtually been abandoned to the Igbo 2nd-eleven personnel, spiritual life of the average Igbo, both ancient and modern, is now also in the hands of the less endowed amongst us. Those who are keen on apportioning blames should first spend a few moments in front of the mirror.

Foreign conquest has made a zombie of the authentic Igbo value system, particularly indigenous religious belief and practices. Our mindset has been reprogrammed, through our upbringing, to feel that Western education and profound understanding of our indigenous value system are mortally opposed to each other. This has led to a scenario where little or none of the best minds that the Igbo can produce for the past several decades are engaged in any meaningful intellectual foray into the Igbo value system, particularly in realms of religious belief and cultural practices. Alaigbo has ample numbers of seminaries that undertake profound studies in many aspects of Christian faith, for example, but our indigenous Igbo religion and cultural practices are left to the whims and caprices of village upstarts who, because of illiteracy and immobility, have little or no knowledge of the world that exists outside their places of birth. Something as important as the belief system that inspired Igbo culture for thousands of years has now been abandoned in the hands of the likes of the notorious oracle of Ogwugwu Okija. What do we expect when we are not willing to re-invest our talents and resources in pursuit of enlightened study and understanding of a belief system and practices that have defined Igbo cultural heritage as we know it today?

There have been a lot of reactions to the Ogwugwu Okija revelations. Most are outraged and would like to see precipitous action to cleanse the mess while some assume a defensive mode in what they see as a deliberate orchestration to demean the Igbo culture by those who have no business meddling in indigenous religious belief and practices of Ndigbo. But up till now, little more new information has been provided beyond the breaking news that reported the initial police raid at the Okija shrine sites. These reactions or lack of them, have helped to further shed some light on the quandary that Ndigbo face in this era. Some have correctly pointed out that the Igbo are not the only group in Nigeria that have ever engaged in ritualizing death of fellow humans. This fact notwithstanding, it is extremely difficult for one to find a rational basis for mitigating the widespread revulsion that many have shown since the report that indigenous religious shrines of Alaigbo are now being converted into warehouses for unburied human remains.

Just as the modern ways and methods are open to abuse, indigenous practices are equally vulnerable. This is a situation where the belief system of traditional Igbo society has been corrupted and exploited for purposes that are irreligious and immoral, to say the least. Before the arrival of European colonialism in Nigeria, the indigenous Igbo society was defined by strong religious belief system and practices that bind the individual in a dynamic relationship with the land, ancestral spirits and the Supreme Being, Chukwu/Chineke. Deities, which could be in the forms of animate and inanimate things, including rivers, lakes, streams, hills, caves, creatures and even renowned ancestors, functioned as intermediaries between the mundane realm inhabited by mortal humans and the spirit world of our ancestors and the Supreme Being. There is hierarchical order amongst deities which is determined mostly by their scope of influence in the society. Priests are mere messengers who assist individuals and society, at large, to better utilize the intercessory functions of their respective deities. The high priest also functions as an oracle who sometimes becomes the mouthpiece and chief executive officer of the deity's shrine.

In indigenous Igbo religion, the individual has no reason to fear the powers of any deity unless one has clearly committed an abomination. Even after committing an obvious abomination, the individual can still negotiate to have his deeds cleansed by undergoing well delineated rituals that are usually overseen by a deity's high priest. A mere disagreement between two individuals has never been regarded as an abomination in Alaigbo. The Umunna, which is the paternal extended family, deliberate upon and resolve most of such disputes. In complex cases, the wider community could be involved. That the oracle of Ogwugwu Okija was converted into the police and court of law for handling sundry cases, both civil and criminal, is a gross bastardization of the role of deities in an authentic Igbo society. It is sacrilegious for a genuine Igbo oracle to claim one's head because one is presumed culpable in a business dispute or social crime. What we presently behold in the Okija shrine is a blatant abuse of people's trust in the deity's high priest; an act which, by itself, ought to be seen as an abomination. In the indigenous Igbo belief system, Ogwugwu Okija and its high priest are subject to reproach by superior deities and the society at large. Where the extent of violations is deemed to be extremely damaging, the deity could be obliterated as a minimum price to cleanse Alaigbo of such a heinous abomination.

Unfortunately, Igbo indigenous religious practices have been in relative decline even though the belief system still thrives in the heart and mind of the average Igbo. Furthermore, the Igbo lost their sovereign authority over Alaigbo with colonial conquest. The British eventually transferred this authority to the Federal Government of Nigeria at Independence. The federal government thus has a legitimate right to play a leading role in dealing with reported findings at the Okija shrine according to the laws of Nigeria since it is likely that capital crimes could have been committed by those involved. I have strong doubt that the law-enforcement and legal system, as presently operated in Nigeria, shall alone be capable of providing satisfactory answers to all aspects of this conundrum. There is a clear role for Ndigbo to play in this, starting with indigenes of Okija community and surrounding area. There is a great temptation to politicize this matter as shown by reported pronouncements by the Ohanaeze chief scribe. The Ohanaeze, even though it was originally designed to function as an apex Igbo socio-cultural organization, has since charted a course that portrays it as a quasi-political outfit. This fact should disqualify it from playing any leading role in resolving this intricate matter. I support the view that Ohanaeze scribe's approach to this unfolding case is wrong and any statements made by him so far on behalf of this apex body on this matter ought to be rescinded.

There are no easy answers to the dilemma posed by discoveries at the Ogwugwu Okija shrine. Even after the potential criminal aspect of this bizarre matter must have been disposed of in coming weeks and months, Ndigbo and rest of their compatriots must come to terms with stark reality of the conflicting belief systems that compete for the heart and mind of the average 21st Century Nigerian. Foreign religions, including Islam that arrived centuries ago, have yet to fully penetrate the superficial layers of the typical African mindset. As the legendary reggae superstar, Bob Marley, sang in one of his hit songs, "the rain a fall but a touch the top". Paraphrased; the rain many have fallen but only superficial layer of the topsoil is barely soaked. Nigerian political and intellectual elite are presently consumed with the illusion that the average compatriot is constrained to evolve into the models predetermined by our conquerors from Arabian peninsular or Western Europe. This generation of Nigerian elite has failed in their responsibility to usher our society into modernity through layering of the new way to dovetail with our indigenous African value system. The average African is presently launched on an evolutionary trajectory in which alien value systems are expected to completely obliterate the indigenous one.

Contemporary African elite have become willing accomplices in this grand scheme to remake the African in other people's image. Perhaps, just as willed by our proselytizers, we are all holding our breath waiting anxiously for the day when our indigenous value system must have died completely, never to rise anymore. But based on the reality in Alaigbo today, such a day shall not come anytime soon.

Upper Marlboro, Maryland, U.S.A.

Aug 19, 2004, 01:56 PM
Thisday Online
Dateline: 18/08/2004 22:48:51

Two Nigerians Arrested in Ireland for Ritual Killing

Okija priests to be prosecuted - Balogun
By Moses Jolayemi in Lagos and Charles Onyekamuo in Awka with agency report


Barely one month after the conviction in the United Kingdom of a Nigerian, Kingsley Ojo for the brutal murder of a five year old boy named Adam, police in the Republic of Ireland are questioning two men arrested in Dublin in connection with the murder of the daughter of Malawi's chief justice.

The headless body of Paiche Unyolo Onyemaechi was found last month in the south of Ireland, where she lived with her Nigerian husband and two children.

Her killing may have had a ritualistic motive, according to the police.

Detectives have been keen to trace her husband, Chika, who is currently missing.

The two men being interviewed by police were arrested in Dublin on Tuesday.

They can be held for up to 72 hours without charge under the Offences Against The State Act.

Ms Onyemaechi, 25, arrived in Ireland more than three years ago. Her body was found in County Kilkenny on July 23 and she was buried in Waterford a week later.

Her father, Malawi's Chief Justice Leonard Unyolo, travelled to Ireland after receiving news of her death.

He has taken his granchildren back to Malawi to be cared for by family members.

Meanwhile in Nigeria, Inspector General of Police, Mr. Tafa Balogun yesterday in Okija, Anambra state, said the chief priests and the over 30 priests of the different shrines of Ogwugwu deity arrested on August 4 would be prosecuted for ritual killings at the end of police investigations.

The police, he also said, would involve forensic experts in the examination of the skulls and corpses recovered from the deities' shrines to determine if there were peculiarities in the pattern of the dead victims.

Balogun who led about 500 policemen to the different shrines of the Ogwugwu deity in Umuhu and Ubahu-Ezike villages, Okija, expressed confidence that the laws of the land would be able to take care of those arrested. He also described the practice of ritual killings and cultism in the name of traditional religion as "barbaric".

He said sections 207 and 208 of the criminal code are against the possession of dead bodies and section 34 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria is against being members of secret cults.

He added that outside those provisions, many other enabling laws governing the country attack the practice of cultism and ritual killings directly in different ways.

While decrying ritual killings and occultic religious practices at this stage of the country's development as unencouraging, Balogun ruled out the possibility of exonerating the two elderly chief priests of Ogwugwu Isiula and Ogwugwu shrines where over 20 skulls and 50 corpses at different stages of decomposition were found during the police raid.

"The law is no respecter of age," he said.

The IGP had on arrival at Umuhu and Ubahu-Ezike villages in Okija gone to the shrines to see things for himself. At the Ogwugwu Isiula shrine where he first visited, putrefying decomposing corpses and skeletons in decaying coffins littered the two sides of the path way leading to the stronghold of the shrine. Trees in the entire forests were wrapped in white and red cloths depicting scenes of idol worship and veneration.

Inside the forest enclave, were make-shift homes also decorated in white and red cloths as well as mats with skulls and skeletons of decayed corpses. Personal effects of dead victims including disused radio and cooking pots were deposited there.

The same scenery was replicated at the "Ogwugwu-Akpu" and Ogwugwu Idigo" shrines where the IGP also visited.

But Balogun who spoke to journalists shortly after the tour of the shrines assured that the police will leave no stone unturned in getting to the root of practices at the shrines.

He said the command headquarters was already in possession of the registers kept by the priests of the shrines containing the names of their patrons and the dead. He added that the police would look into the registers in the course of investigations to determine the involvement of the people mentioned, promising to make the outcome public.

"I assure Nigerians that no stone would be left unturned in getting to the root of the practices in these shrines. We have a lot of registers containing the names of the patrons. We will look into them to determine their level of involvement.

"We will involve our forensic experts to see if there are peculiarities in the pattern of killings. The information leading to police raid to these unholy places is not unconnected with the wickedness of the act and involvement of human lives. We will not hesitate to make the contents of the registers and findings from our investigations public after the process", he said.

Assuring that those found culpable at the end of investigations would definitely be prosecuted, Balogun said he did not initially believe the contents of the register and the shock finds in the shrines, but that his visit had dispelled all that.

"The old chief priests won't be exempted from prosecution if found culpable. The law is no respecter of age. We shall determine their involvement. People are atimes used as innocent agents. That would also be determined to fish them out", he said. He added that those other priests of Ogwugwu now on the run would eventually be caught by the long arms of the law as the police are on their trail.

The IGP would not like a situation in which what he called wicked occultic practices would be misrepresented as people's culture and tradition. He said any system supportive of destruction of lives is barbaric.

"Take tradition out of it. Those in hiding shall be fished out and the law of the land will take care of them. Any system that kills human beings, any deity that authorizes the killing of human beings will certainly be described as barbaric. To me, this is barbaric and should be routed out. The law of Nigeria is above the custom. Any culture that encourages the destruction of lives is barbaric" he said.

He commended the police informant, Mr. Chukwumezie Obed Igwe whose complaint led to the raid of the shrines and said he is a patriotic Nigerian who needed to be protected and encouraged. The IG noted that something concrete had to be done to remove the horrifying sights of the shrines from the psyche of the people of the area.

But the chief priest of Ogwugwu-Akpu, in Ubahu-Ezike village, Okija, Okonkwo Chukwuneta, an elderly man who could not say his age told journalists that the Ogwugwu-Akpu is a "goddess" and the wife to the Ulasi deity in Okija.

He said he had made three statements to the police since the August 4 raid, and that he was arrested and bundled into the bus on the first day of the raid and taken to the house of the chief priest of Ogwugwu Isiula in the negbouring Umuhu village. Although, he could not say how the worship of the deity started since he was born into it, he nonetheless said it has existed for ages. His duty as the deity's chief priest, he said, was to listen to complaints from people who come to report how they were oppressed and dispossessed of their land and other property by the rich.

The process of the oath taking, he said, begins with the complaint which is followed with a summon to the "oppressor". Upon his receipt of the invitation, he is expected to come and tell his own side of the story for the priests to hear in his house which serves as "his court". When both parties consistently insist on their version as the truth of the matter without any conceeding, the oath is administered as the last resort after they had been reminded of the deity's killing powers.

He confirmed that a popular business man, from Ihiala known as Chief Victor Okafor, a.k.a Ezego was killed by the Ogwugwu-Akpu deity, but said he would not know if his corpse was deposited in the evil forest.

According to him, somebody he did not name had earlier dragged Ezego to his court to swear to an oath over disagreements in business and financial dealings and that when he died he was brought a report about the death.

"That was in December of 2000 or thereabout", he said. Later Ezego's mother and the wife whom he said was chauffeur-driven to his court came to say that the businessman sometime swore on Ogwugwu-Akpu and wanted to know if the deity was responsible for his death.

This, he said, prompted his resort to divination, a kind of consultation with his god to know if it was responsible. The god, he said confirmed its responsibility, and that it needed the corpse. But he said that was the last he saw of Ezego's people. He suggested that if the business man's corpse was deposited in the forest, his agents, none of whom was around to answer questions, would be in a position to know.

He also said that outside businessmen, politicians going into alliance and people going over-seas for greener pastures come to him to administer oath of allegiance on them. He added that successful ones amongst the patrons come back later to offer sacrifice of cows or goats to the deity as the case may be.

But he would not confirm if Anambra State Governor, Dr. Chris Ngige, was among the people who visited the shrine last year as according to him, his agents who record names in the register would know better.

Acting Major Benbella
Aug 20, 2004, 04:11 AM

I apologize for my delay in responding to your last post dated 8/17/04. I hope you understand when I say that I have too engaged in making life liveable. Also, I have this tendency to avoid arguments whose purpose are not to inform or enlighten but to say the last word and advance crudity. The former not the latter was responsible for my delayed response.

You noted in your post of 8/17/04 that my response to your uninformed statement that Igbos should be ashamed for allowing Okija Shrines to exist among them was contrived to present you as stereotyping the Igbos. In a nutshell, that I was making it all up inorder to register what you called a "contrived indignation. Really! But this was what you wrote in the main of your 8/17 posting to elicit my "contrived indignation".

"... And importantly also, this whole sordid matter is an indictment of not just the murderous "priests" of Okija but also the entire Igbo for having allowed the gruesome shenanigans of the murder syndicate to go on unperturbed for so long. One of the contradictions which the Igbo as a people must grapple with , as should other Nigerian social groups faced with similar existentialist questions, is the fact that despite their mythical image as a forward-looking, enterprising and cosmopolitan group, their society still harbours some of the most retrogressive trends which have sometimes manifested themselves by way of violent criminal engagements, cultural hangovers of dubious value like female genital mutilation and a tendency to present culture from the point of view of 'glamorized fossilism'." ------ MrOneNaija

You see, we may quibble over the point you are trying to make here but one thing that is clear is that you commited a grevious error by intuiting what all the Igbos should feel "ashamed" based on the activities of a few. This is a line of reasoning that I disagree with. Where the actions of some are extended to the whole group. Assuming that you really believe in what you wrote, not simply producing one of your "editorials" the I have some disappointing news for you and those who may share the same faulty reasoning, I feel not one iota of shame and do not know any Igbo person who does. Of course, I condemn the nasty parts - the ways bodies were deposited around the "Evil Forest of Okija without any sense of honor accorded the bodies. My condemnation of that arises not from shame, mind you, but on personal, cultural and public health grounds.

If you had confined yourself to condemning the Okija Shrines, its priests and its patronizers, I wouldn't have felt the desire nor the inclination to respond. It was also in the same vein that I responded to Zaiyol Karl, whom despite my best efforts, is intent on indulging and dissolving in the vice of Igbophobe. I still believe that you, though, can still be salvaged from the course of sitting near the fire, cracking wood for the flame and cackling with laughter that is often the harvest of those who hate. Therefore, I ask, do you still believe in the maddening assertion you made as illustrated above or the new stance you are shaping to assume?

Because if we are to debate this and give it the time that would need to be sacrificed in our back and forth it very important we understand what point you are making. Whether it as was you wrote the post that prompted my response to you or the one you titled "Squelching...." I will await your response. Until then, take care.

Aug 20, 2004, 07:42 PM
You see, we may quibble over the point you are trying to make here but one thing that is clear is that you commited a grevious error by intuiting what all the Igbos should feel "ashamed" based on the activities of a few. This is a line of reasoning that I disagree with. Where the actions of some are extended to the whole group. Assuming that you really believe in what you wrote, not simply producing one of your "editorials" the I have some disappointing news for you and those who may share the same faulty reasoning, I feel not one iota of shame and do not know any Igbo person who does.. . .. .. . . . . . Acting Major Benbella,

Acting Major Benbella,

Ironically, you have disagreed with MrOneNaija for seeking to generalize Okija shrines over Igbo population for what you called ". . . . the actions of some are extended to the whole group". Really? How come, you still want that same "actions of some" to be extended over a larger Nigerian population without applying any standard scientific measures? Do you now see the incongruity of your baseless argument?

Elementary commonsense suggests that, before you ever think of generalizing Okija shrines over Nigerian population, you MUST FIRST generalize it over IGBO population, which is exactly what MrOneNaija has done. You cannot bypass Igbos and start making hopeless claims that shrines are everywhere in Nigeria. Killer-shrines must first be everywhere in Igboland (based on available sample) before they will be everywhere in Nigeria.

Aug 20, 2004, 08:44 PM
Acting Major Benbella,

Zaiyol has brilliantly responded to your last post (Thanks, Zaiyol), but let me just add a few comments of mine.

Let me start by saying that you have erroneously sought to establish a distinction between two of my posts by implying that there is a shift in position on my part. As a matter of fact, the two posts which you have alluded to are basically expressing the same viewpoint which I believe is articulate and rigorous as far as this Okija issue is concerned. Between both posts, the second is a clarification on the first.

I repeat, I don't see any unfair stereotyping or denigration of the Igbo on my part. Saying that the Igbos as a group should be ashamed of the Okija Shrines of Death should not be interpreted to mean that, as you put it, "...the actions of some are extended to the whole group". Nobody is suggesting that all Igbos are 419 ritual murderers. The point I'm making is quite a simple one, namely, that Okija, like the discriminatory Osu caste system or the primitive female genital mutilation practice, should rightly be seen as an abomination whose (continued) existence - thanks to the complacency, if not the active connivance of the immediate Igbo society - must be seen as a source of "great disappointment" (www.dictionary.com) not just by Igbos but also by humanity in general. Surely, saying that Igbos as a social group should be ashamed of the perpetuation of the obnoxious Osu caste system cannot be understood to mean that all Igbos subscribe to the Osu caste ideology. Yet, every Igbo must share in the indictment of that backward practice as well as assume primary responsibility for its much-needed demise. Okija should be approached in similar fashion. Ascribing igbophobic motives to people with uncomfortable views is a lazy way to squelch dissenting opinion on this understandably emotive subject for certain individuals.

Aug 20, 2004, 08:45 PM

Aug 21, 2004, 06:31 AM
Inside Nigeria's 'evil forest'

By Joel Olatunde Agoi

wo weeks after a police squad raided a group of fetish shrines in the dense jungle of southern Nigeria, dozens of partially decomposed bodies still littered the groves of Okija's "evil forest".

Open wooden coffins lay abandoned in the dense undergrowth as spooked cops continued an investigation which has scandalised Nigeria and prompted a bout of national soul-searching over the persistence of traditional African belief.

"It is fearful and dreadful. Ordinary mortals avoid the vicinity of the shrines like a ghost," said 25-year-old Austine Ogbuche, one of a courageous group of villagers who followed Nigeria's police chief into the woods.

'Ordinary mortals avoid the vicinity of the shrines like a ghost' "It is only the government and its agents that can dislodge the shrines. Nobody can dare the gods," he said, as Inspector General Tafa Balogun and a heavily-armed squad of officers set off into Ogugwu Akpu's dreaded groves.

Despite the protection of their body armour and assault rifles, the investigators were visibly disturbed by the sights that awaited them as they pushed a kilometre (half a mile) into the woods.

Voices dropped to whispers.

"I cannot believe my eyes. That this barbarism is still possible in Nigeria of today, it is simply unpardonable," one officer muttered as the first of more than 50 bodies began to appear alongside the forest trails.

"This is stranger than fiction," agreed police spokesman Chris Olapke, while some of the curious villagers and one or two the huge team of journalists who joined the party began to think better about heading further into the gloom.

'We don't kill. The deity kills' "I have seen enough. I don't think I can go further from here. That body is not more than one month old. You can see it is still decomposing," one reporter said, pointing at a neatly-wrapped corpse in a golden coffin.

The remote village of Okija, isolated by thick forests and poor roads from the bustling commercial cities of Anambra State, shot into Nigeria's troubled national consciousness on August 3 when police descended on its shrines.

Following a tip-off from a disillusioned cult member, the officers raided the Okija forest and uncovered three main shrines and dozens of smaller sites dotted fetish objects and statues to traditional local gods.

Among the muddy trails they discovered a cache of around 20 skulls along with more than 80 bodies in varying states of decomposition.

More than 30 people have so far been detained and more arrests have been promised following the discovery of registers of the membership of the three Ogugwu shrines. Balogun has promised a nationwide crackdown on ritual magic.

So far, however, it is an investigation that has raised more questions than answers. The police say they are investigating alleged ritual murders, while the shrine's priests insist that ancient gods killed the people in the woods.

The villagers who followed Balogun to the shrine on Wednesday said they oppose the practices of the shrines, but the ritual sites cover a huge area a short distance from habitation, and have clearly been in use for some time.

And although the vast majority of Nigeria's 130 million people would say they belong to mainstream churches or mosques, the dispute triggered by the discovery of the Okija groves has shown how far traditional belief persists.

What seems to be agreed upon by witnesses, investigators and the detainees themselves is that members of southern Nigeria's Igbo ethnic group, some of them wealthy and influential figures, came to the shrines from far and wide.

There they underwent rituals to settle business disputes, swearing oaths to local gods to prove their honesty.

"We don't kill. The deity kills. We settle disputes between parties. But the shrine will kill the guilty if he swears falsely," insisted the chief priest at one of the shrines, the elderly Orjiewulu Okolie.

But, locals said, the wealthy collection of well-built houses a short distance away from the Ogugwu Akpu shrine sheds light on the true powers lying behind the cult's success; the god of money.

"We preached against this practice for many years. They would not listen because they keep on deceiving and ripping off the people in the name of tradition and customs," said the area's Christian bishop, Samuel Ita-daga.

Local politician Bridget Obi agreed: "The deity has been abused and bastardised to enrich some criminals."

Friday, August 20, 2004
Okija: The Gods Are Not to Blame

The police disclosure of the age-old ritual killings in Okija in the name of justice has raised more than its fair share of controversies. The arguments centre on two things; the constitutional right of every Nigerian to freedom of worship and the corollary exercise of the free will of those who subjected themselves to the divine justice of the ogwugwu deity.

Proponents of this argument say the police raid on the shrines in the town of Okija in Anambra State, the arrest of some 32 ogwugwu priests, and the recovery of more than 50 human skeletons and corpses as well as 20 human skulls are a violation of the religious rights of ogwugwu patrons. On the charge of murder, the argument is that the victims went to the shrines on their own free will and voluntarily took the oath, with the accompanying concoctions, administered by the priests. If the penalty of this divine justice for the guilty party is death, so the argument goes, the gods are to blame, not men.

This is arrant nonsense. Under the Constitution, rights are never absolute; they are balanced against each other. It is true that under section 38(1) of the Constitution, every person in Nigeria is "entitled to freedom of thought, conscience and religion, including freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom (either alone or in community with others, and in public or in private) to manifest and propagate his religion or belief in worship, teaching, practice and observance." That freedom is immediately counter-balanced by section 33(1) which guarantees the right to life in these words: "Every person has a right to life, and no one shall be deprived intentionally of his life, save in execution of the sentence of a court in respect of a criminal offence of which he has been found guilty in Nigeria."

From the arguments of advocates of freedom of customary worship, the intentions or the natural consequence, of administering an ogwugwu oath is the death of the guilty party. In that case, is an ogwugwu shrine a court of law as recognised by the Constitution? And is a land dispute, for example, a criminal offence for which an ogwugwu victim was found guilty in Nigeria? Under the constitutional provision safe-guarding life, the exercise of free will or the voluntary consent of the victim is immaterial. It is equally immaterial whether the instrument for executing the sentence is a god.

Of course, there are other ancillary arguments justifying the Okija practice. They run somewhat like this: ogwugwu is a form of traditional worship handed down to us from antiquity; every community in Nigeria has a similar shrine and traditional system of justice; at any rate, the Okija shrines, skeletons, skulls and all, are well-known to all, and its devotees have never hidden their activities from the public; so, why are the police making so much fuss about it now? Someone even pointedly said that the police raids and exposures are another form of Igbo marginalisation.

Again, this is balderdash. Tradition, no matter how ancient, must respect the supreme law of the land, especially in matters of human life. It must accommodate itself to modern times. It was one of the most ancient practices in many parts of Nigeria that a late king was buried with some of his servants so that they could render the same sort of services while he was on earth to the departed king in the life hereafter. Can we justify such a practice today on the grounds that it is part of our ancient tradition and custom; that it is rampart in all parts of Nigeria; and that the servants elected to follow their king to the grave?

Any attempt to justify this evil system of justice in Okija is only a self-serving sophistry. From reports so far, it is clear that this so-called traditional system of justice was much patronised by crooked businessmen and political mercenaries demanding fidelity to unholy deals from their associates.

It is bad enough that this mockery of justice involving human lives was allowed to flourish for so long in clear breach of the law and the Constitution. It is even worse that it is all so susceptible to manipulation as alleged by the man whose petition alerted the police to the practice. Under the ogwugwu system the temptation to rig the so-called scale of justice can only be appreciated when set against the fact that the property of victims is appropriated by the priests in the name of the deity. This is why the police must conduct forensic tests to determine the cause of death of those purportedly killed by ogwugwu. A starting point for the investigation should be a publication of the full names of patrons and victims as contained in the registers recovered by the police. This, we believe, would yield a welter of information that is likely to have some serendipity effect.

All said, the ogwugwu phenomenon is an indictment of our imported judicial system. The pervasive presence of the traditional system of justice in one form or the other in Nigeria testifies to the fact that after centuries of its implantation here, the English system of dispensing justice through the courts has not taken a firm hold. It is alien to us because truth, which is the foundation of dispute resolution in Africa, is buried under a mountain of legal technicalities, outright lies packaged as evidence by witnesses, expensive litigation and fanciful forensic arguments. By the time justice finally lumbers out of the snail-paced judicial mill, it is a Pyrrhic victory that is financially crippling.

That is why Okija is a reminder that the judicial system should be overhauled, and urgently too.

Aug 21, 2004, 05:06 PM
OKIJA: BISHOP EXPLODES: Igbo worship Idols...that's why they'll never rule Nigeria

John Ameh, Ibanga Isine and Soriwei Fidelis

A Bishop has described the Igbo, one of Nigeria's major ethnic groups, as idolatrous.

According to him, Ogwugwu shrines like the one raided by the Police in Okija, where decomposing bodies and human skulls were found, dot their land.

Linking idolatry to politics, Bishop Ezego Ekewuba, who leads the Overcomers Christian Mission, one of the largest churches in Owerri, Imo State, warned that unless the Igbo turned away from idolatry, the opportunity to rule Nigeria would continue to elude them.
He stated that while God placed the Igbo in a vantage position where they were availed the opportunity to rule and play notable roles in the affairs of the country before 1966, their closeness to the gods and goddeses had made it impossible to hold onto this privileged position.

The cleric said this was the reason for the inability of the Igbo to take collective position on common issues like the genocides perpetrated against them in parts of the country and their low political rating when compared with the other major ethnic groups.

He said; "The biggest problem facing the Igbo people in Nigeria is idolatry. As already stated, I discovered this in 1995 and cried out. I am still crying over it. God placed us in a vantage position in Nigeria.

"They reigned and ruled in every facet of life before the 1966 political crisis, but today, where are the Igbo? They are decimated, scattered, divided and very much in the rear. The Igbo no longer put their acts together. They are chased back and forth in Nigeria and slaughtered like beasts by other tribes even when they have not provoked any body."

He added: "The plight of Ndigbo is a direct consequence of their idolatrous life. Before an Igbo man eats yam, he sacrifices to the gods/goddesses. He does the same thing when he buys a car or is building a house, and calls it 'ewu foundation', but let me warn here that unless the Igbo repent of this sin and turn to God with a broken and contrite spirit, they will never rule Nigeria."

The Bishop also called on the Inspector General of Police, Mr. Tafa Balogun, and other security agencies to investigate the activities of mortuary attendants in the country with a view to ascertaining whether they had been involved in the trafficking of human parts, rituals and occult practices.

He described mortuary attendants as another very dangerous group of people in the society that should be put on surveillance by the police.

The Bishop described the police raid on the Okija shrines as not just a major breakthrough but one of the most commendable and successful operations carried out by the police in recent time in the country, adding that they displayed "rare courage and professionalism."

Ekewuba who called on the Nigerian citizenry to stand against the "condemnable act," also urged the police authorities to ensure that those who were responsible for the death of the people whose corpses were discovered in the raid, faced the wrath of the law. He assured also that none of the police officers involved in the Okija raid would be a victim of untimely death.

The Police had penultimate week broken into Isiula, Akpu, and Idigo Ogwugwu shrines at Umuhu, Okija in Anambra State, where they found about 100 corpses and skulls.

The priests of the shrines were arrested and taken to Abuja where they are undergoing interrogation.

Acting Major Benbella
Aug 22, 2004, 04:17 PM

What exactly were you referencing when the you wrote the following. I have not on this thread made the remarkable connection you have charged me with.

You see, we may quibble over the point you are trying to make here but one thing that is clear is that you commited a grevious error by intuiting what all the Igbos should feel "ashamed" based on the activities of a few. This is a line of reasoning that I disagree with. Where the actions of some are extended to the whole group. Assuming that you really believe in what you wrote, not simply producing one of your "editorials" the I have some disappointing news for you and those who may share the same faulty reasoning, I feel not one iota of shame and do not know any Igbo person who does.. . .. .. . . . . . Acting Major Benbella,

Acting Major Benbella,

Ironically, you have disagreed with MrOneNaija for seeking to generalize Okija shrines over Igbo population for what you called ". . . . the actions of some are extended to the whole group". Really? How come, you still want that same "actions of some" to be extended over a larger Nigerian population without applying any standard scientific measures? Do you now see the incongruity of your baseless argument?

Elementary commonsense suggests that, before you ever think of generalizing Okija shrines over Nigerian population, you MUST FIRST generalize it over IGBO population, which is exactly what MrOneNaija has done. You cannot bypass Igbos and start making hopeless claims that shrines are everywhere in Nigeria. Killer-shrines must first be everywhere in Igboland (based on available sample) before they will be everywhere in Nigeria." -- Zaiyol at 8/20/04 12:49

To help refresh your memory and to situate our arguments within the confines of clarity, here is what I wrote in part in my first posting on this thread. This was on 8/15/04.

" The Okija Shrine discovery and investigation is a case in point. Take how some supposedly educated and seasoned have interpreted these finds. " There are no shrines in Nigeria except Igboland", forecefully being argued by Zaiyol despite others attempts to point him on the way of correct and deep perspectives to be gained. OF COURSE, SHRINES OR WHAT PASSES FOR THEM EXISTS IN OTHER PARTS OF NIGERIA. THESE SHRINES MAY NOT INVOLVE THE DEPOSITING OF BODIES IN THE "EVIL FORESTS" AS IN OKIJA BUT THEY DO EXIST" (emphasis added).

How come you made the following characterization as the one I have excerpted below when all along I have argued that the greatest abomination that may arise from the discovery of the nefarious activities at Okija is one of not bringing conducting a clear post mortem which is likely to occur following the perspective that you and MrOneNaija wrongly hold. That of making generalizations about a whole race of people based on the actions of some and telling them to feel collective shame. I have felt that these type of analyses is imbued with so much errors of which its first is that of sophomoric tediousness. If you conduct a second review of my postings thus far on this thread I think you will agree that we are at cross purposes here in terms of our premise. Or else, why this?

"How come, you still want that same "actions of some" to be extended over a larger Nigerian population without applying any standard scientific measures? Do you now see the incongruity of your baseless argument?" - Zaiyol


Aug 22, 2004, 11:53 PM
Acting Major Benbella,

I suggest you carefully read the piece below by one of Nigeria's foremost journalistic voices, Pini Jason, an Igbo man, if I may add. Despite Jason's curious attempt to put the ultimate blame for what is happening in Okija and much of Igboland elsewhere, his analysis has succinctly captured the moral situation in Igbo society today. These nuggets:

"...I have always wondered how a people that are reported to be industrious, brave, intelligent, smart, enterprising and resilient can at the same time manifest intellectual and moral starvation...WE MISS THE ACUTE POINT THAT A PATTERN IS DEVELOPING..."


What Pini Jason is saying in the above quotes is not different from what I said in my earlier post which has elicited your indignation.

Vanguard Online

The children of Ogwugwu

Pini Jason
Friday, August 20, 2004

By all standards, Anambra ought to be an epitome of Igbo worldview. But instead it has become a painful irony for the Igbo and a metaphor for the malaise into which Nigeria slid in the last four decades. How do you explain the fact that a state that is home for Nigeria's eminent scholars, jurists, writers, scientists, politicians and priests has become a cesspool of necromancers, ritualists, high-profile thugs, high-jinks rascals and pimps? If an African will become the first black Pope today, it will likely be Francis Cardinal Arinze. He is from Anambra. Fr. Iwenne Tansi is on his way to becoming canonized a saint. He is from Anambra. It has even been said that Tansi's body was first taken to the ogwugwu shrine before burial! So there is no knowing how sacrilegious Anambra has become since 1857 when the Church Missionary Society set foot on Onitsha in Anambra state!

This is no time for rationalising evil. Col. Joe. Achuzia, the Secretary-General of Ohaneze Ndigbo tried a rationalisation without proper perspective and ran into a storm. It is not even time to play Pontius Pilate. Senator Adolphus Wabara tried that and came to peril. This is a time to face up to what we have all become. It is, therefore, important to put on relief what is happening to the Igbo, which everybody seems to ignore, and also to state how they keep happening. It is only in seeking why it keeps happening that we can connect all of these to the larger Nigerian decay.

The Igbos must recognise that they have been undergoing a character shift. It is this character shift that is responsible for the confusion and indiscipline in Igboland. A people that placed premium on human life are now associated with human parts industry, human sacrifices, human trafficking and ritual killings. In my father's time, which was just yesterday, he only needed to send one with his staff to conclude a deal on his behalf and it was binding! No other receipt or agreement was needed. But today two Igbos can't trust each other or respect an agreement, a bond or an oath sworn on the Bible or before a Bishop. Igbos rapidly developed and caught up with other competitors in the country through the philosophy of onye aghala nwanneya, (each, his brother's keeper), but today, every Igbo is his brother's killer. A Republican race is today not only regressing to monarchy but is busy replicating panjandrums known as Ezeigbo all over the country. Extreme selfishness masquerading as individualism has taken over from the kindred spirit. Many Igbos in public office believe that their survival depends on either distancing themselves from their kinsmen or completely betraying the community interest. Yet the Igbo envy the clannishness in other groups in Nigeria and how well they take care of their group interest!

I have always wondered how a people that are reputed to be industrious, brave, intelligent, smart, enterprising and resilient can at the same time manifest intellectual and moral starvation. How has the strong become weak in the face of integrity? How has the able become disabled in the quest for wealth? We see this collapse of the character of the Igbo happen everyday, in copying the aso ebi, in out-spraying the authors of spraying, in abandoning the Igbo language and in aping alien traditional wears, yet we miss the acute point that a pattern is developing. The nearest we have come to accept it is to bemoan how money now rules the land. But if it were just money that rules it would probably not be as bad. But it is evil money. It is what Chinweizu called Aku Agwu. It is wealth driven by greed, madness and arrogance that rule the land, not that which came from the sweat of a people reputed to be strong!

People must not miss the irony that almost all the ogwugwu worshipers confessed that they are Christians! Anthony Okonkwo, James Obi and Osita Ndu are all members of the Anglican Church. James Obi said that "it is under the traditional religion that people speak the truth as opposed to the church which thrives on falsehood. Many Christians oppress their neighbours and relations. But idol worshippers are upright because the deity does not condone falsehood, cheating and oppression.". You may want to contradict him on that. But the fact is that this is no time for finger pointing. It is no longer enough for Churches to mount their pulpits and point fingers against belief systems they know nothing about. The question must be asked whether the missionary intervention in the life of the African has served the purpose or has it just created a contradiction? Look around you.

People are stepping out of the Churches and into the babalawos' huts. Many people are looking for quick fixes. Just as people are finding quick fixes in ogwugwu, others are finding theirs in the Pentecostal churches! Why? There is a system collapse! Established institutions of reward and sanctions are no longer delivering on people''s expectations.

Did Christianity totally wipe out idolatry or did it compromise? Why do you have Reverend Nwosus, Bishop Njokus, Fr. Nwaogwugwus, and Deacon Amadis? From where did these names originate? What do they suggest to you? You can fault James Obi's thesis on the ground that in olden days idolatry was essentially for divinity and not what they stand for today. But you may be wrong to equate practices informed purely by superstition with idolatry. What would you then say of today when a nation can be convulsed by the so-called killer GSM numbers or disappearing genitals? What the churches ought to do is to meaningfully engage the cultures to understand them in order to influence positive changes, not to confront and demonise phenomena they either do not understand or are afraid to acknowledge.

How does the Anambra saga connect to the national malaise? I have often said that the Igbos are the greatest victims of the bastardisation of Nigeria. In 30 years, from 1934 to 1964, the Igbos made a tremendous burst and caught up with its major rivals. Note that that period coincided with the era of merit, justice, discipline and rule of law in Nigeria. By 1965 the national decline had started and the nation sank into gbomo-gbomo, Indian hemp trafficking, missing genital organs, ritual murders, malams plucking eyes of young girls and boys for money rituals, hard drugs trade, otokoto and advance fees fraud.

The Igbos became not only the targets but at the receiving end of many other perversions that were legitimised by the Nigerian state. Ethnicism and godfatherism had supplanted merit. If you force a strong, agile and enterprising man who is used to going through the door to be jumping through the window, the tendency is that as more people crowd the window, he will begin to jump through the roof! So, as Nigeria increasingly became lawless, the Igbo were made more and more deviates! The simple logic is that to repress an enterprising people is to indirectly criminalize them.

For example, the 2003 general election was a legitimisation of electoral fraud in Nigeria. We all saw it. It was nationwide. But it was in Anambra that it took a bizarre turn. People who did not contest election were returned as elected. Those who contested were made to go through the rigour and extra financial burden of Election Tribunal that has almost turned into a farce! Meanwhile those who did not contest continue to draw public fund as salaries! Today Senator Ben Obi is still being denied his seat in the Senate by INEC in spite of the Appeals Court ruling in his favour. Elsewhere, Senator Ajibola has since been sworn in to replace Senator Ajadi after a Court of Appeal verdict. In perverting justice in such a manner, a national institution sets the stage for crisis in Anambra. If Chief Ben Obi were not a perfect gentleman, would he not be tempted to seek justice from ogwugwu?

We are all so familiar with the case of the abduction of Governor Ngige of Anambra on 10 July 2003. Notwithstanding the outcry of every right thinking Nigerian, nothing happened to the culprits because they were connected to powerful places. The Nigerian state condoned the criminal act. But the irony is that Ngige the victim is the one being hounded by the Nigerian state. His police security was withdrawn ostensibly in obedience to a court ruling. Yet the same authority has found it impossible to obey the ruling of a court that ordered the restoration of his security. Ngige has resorted to alternative means of security. If ogwugwu offered security services, maybe he would have patronised them! Again the wheel of justice is grinding deliberately very slow at the Election Tribunal for Peter Obi who is reputed to have won the Anambra gubernatorial seat for which Ngige was reportedly dragged to ogwugwu shrine by Chuma Nzeribe and co.

So when James Obi talks of the oppression of poor people by fellow Christians, it cannot be dismissed, much as it is not a justification for what the police insists is strictly a case of mass murder. We can only begin to imagine the level and nature of oppression by looking at the oppression of the mighty by the mighty! In the rampaging of the mighty in Anambra, which small man has a chance for justice? You can now appreciate the popularity of ogwugwu in Anambra. I say popularity because it struck me as odd that not one family ever reported a case of missing person for any of the odd 50 bodies and skulls found at the shrines! It means that ogwugwu was not a secret and that the people accepted "justice" according to ogwugwu.

What the Igbos are pursuing now, to me, is not what should be their priority. The priority ought to be how to recapture the essence of the Igbo, how to retain the sanctity of the Igbo spirit in spite of Nigeria's pervert ways, how to prevail in spite of the obstacles strewn on its way by Nigeria and how to be what the Igbo want to be unencumbered by the Nigerian state. The starting point is to take a hard and honest look at Anambra and recognise it as what has gone wrong with the Igbo nation in the last forty years. Anambra is today a festering sore on the soul of the Igbo man. To allow it to continue will be a great threat to the Igbo nation!

Aug 23, 2004, 02:50 AM
By all standards, Anambra ought to be an epitome of Igbo worldview. But instead it has become a painful irony for the Igbo and a metaphor for the malaise into which Nigeria slid in the last four decades. How do you explain the fact that a state that is home for Nigeria's eminent scholars, jurists, writers, scientists, politicians and priests has become a cesspool of necromancers, ritualists, high-profile thugs, high-jinks rascals and pimps? If an African will become the first black Pope today, it will likely be Francis Cardinal Arinze. He is from Anambra. Fr. Iwenne Tansi is on his way to becoming canonized a saint. He is from Anambra. It has even been said that Tansi's body was first taken to the ogwugwu shrine before burial! So there is no knowing how sacrilegious Anambra has become since 1857 when the Church Missionary Society set foot on Onitsha in Anambra state! - Pini Jason

What has the Okija Shrine (with its noteriety) being in Anambra State got to do with the Igbo worldview?

That Anambra State is home to many of "Nigeria's eminent scholars, jurists, writers, scientists, politicians and priests..." does not imply that it (Anambra State) cannot "become a cesspool of necromancers, ritualists, high-profile thugs, high-jinks rascals and pimps?"

Are some scholars, jurists, scientists or politicians not necromancers, ritualists, etc? Or does having a form of formal education exclude any one from practising or being evil?

Pini is a good writer but lately has been reasoning stupid! This is same writer who recently had nerve to lie about achievements of Gov. Victor Attah (Akwa Ibom) for you know what.

I cannot understand why this Okija episode has turned into an N'digbo issue. Granted it is situated in N'digbo land and granted that some of N'digbo have come out with absurd and irresponsible defence of the indefensible...it remains a sad story of evil capacities in mankind - and if we want to generalize, we should point all fingers to many Nigerians (including some patrons of board) who have in one way or the other patronized idolatry.

That Bishop with sharp tongue coming out to prophesy N'digbo exclusion from the Nigeria leadership because of idolatory should first check his Christianity. Are some of the Hausa or Yoruba stock in today's leadership not idolaters after the nature of Ogwugwu or other idol deities? Why would God allow those Hausa or Yoruba idolators to be leaders and exclude N'digbo idolaters from the Nigeria leadership? That makes no sense and his prophesy is from his warped mind. He calls himself a Bishop (overseer) and I bet some of his own flock are idolaters. Is he not condemning himself given that he is unable to have good oversight over them? Did Jesus Christ not thank His Father that all that were given Him were not lost but the son of perdition? Can Bishop N'digbo account for all his sheep?

Let all preachers who know and have members patronizing shrines really take a hard look at their callings: If they are not heirlings, they'd quit merchandizing the gospel through irresponsible preachings to rescue their sheep straying into idolatry. If they were doing their duties right, Okija and many shrines all over Nigeria would have been destroyed as God used His kings, prophets and men to destroy Baal worshipers and their shrines. It is that same God who whacked Baal idolaters that shall destroy idolaters of this age and age to come, you know! Only He gives a long rope.

Typical of Nigeria, the Press and many shall focus on calling a dog a bad name in order to hang it. Every one wants to know who has patronized the Okija shrine and nobody is interested in how the NPF can secure equipment or have good forensic pathologists get to the bottom of several deaths involved.

One year from today, ask of the status of investigations - and no sensible answers or findings will have been given. One year from now, ask if idolatry in Nigeria had abated - and guess what, closet idolaters will have had nerve to emerge with stupid mantra "it is our cultural heritage and don't mess with it". But if corpses of their mamas were to be recovered bodies in Okija, they'd be singing differently. Hypocrites!

Uncle Sam
Aug 23, 2004, 02:51 AM
Ikpatt wrote "That Bishop with sharp tongue coming out to prophesy N'digbo exclusion from the Nigeria leadership because of idolatory should first check his Christianity. Don't some of the Hausa or Yoruba stock in today's leadership not idolators after the nature of Ogwugwu deity? Why would God allow those Hausa or Yoruba idolators to be leaders and exclude N'digbo idolators from the Nigeria leadership?"

You can say that again. Even the leader of Nigeria as we speak is a strong advocate of voodoo and cultism in whatever fashion even in war. Oh !- I forgot. He is born again. Very few people of leadership in that country can truthfully say they belong to no cult organization.

That "Bishop" is truly speaking from his a-n-u-s. No wonder Obasanjo has nickname for the likes of this bishop- idiots.

A person of Igbo extraction has not ascended the Presidency because they lack cohesion in leadership of its peoples- a situation made worse by the initial creation of twelve states. They speak not with a voice but voices that often create noise leading to anything but communication.

Aug 23, 2004, 05:06 AM
Ikpat, Uncle Sam

You guys need to reread the comments of Bishop Ekewuba and understand it before declaring him hypocrite in the midst of Igbos. He is an Igbo man with his right as equal to any Igbo man in the universe. He made his comments: "...unless the Igbo turned away from idolatry, the opportunity to rule Nigeria would continue to elude them" out of frustration emanated from the shameful discovery and revelation. So, how can that be a statement for Igbo exclusion from leadership of Nigeria affairs? Why do you think this is a cutting thung statement for a Bishop to make?

He made reference to the achievements of Igbos up to 1966 as follows:

He stated that while God placed the Igbo in a vantage position where they were availed the opportunity to rule and play notable roles in the affairs of the country before 1966, their closeness to the gods and goddeses had made it impossible to hold onto this privileged position.

"They reigned and ruled in every facet of life before the 1966 political crisis, but today, where are the Igbo? They are decimated, scattered, divided and very much in the rear. The Igbo no longer put their acts together. They are chased back and forth in Nigeria and slaughtered like beasts by other tribes even when they have not provoked any body."

As a Bishop, he is free to make spritual impression for his frustrations over Igbo conducts, especially, being pure flesh and blood of Igbo extraction. What is there about fetish shrine to be proud of? Yoruba and Hausa have shrines respectively, but the police squards are yet to discover the jungles litered with corpses and skulls in their geographical locations.

Finally, Uncle Sam, up to 1966 the Igbos were the only tribe in Nigeria (if not in Africa) with only one voice. They were monolithically united, and that was why nobody dared Owele in the old Eastern Region. I wish I could say the same about Yoruba of that era. Even, Hausa's unity was nowhere near Igbos. So, give the Bishop some room to make constrast between Lord God and Traditional deities.


Aug 23, 2004, 09:59 PM
Bishop Ekewuba on Ogwugwu (http://odili.net/news/source/2004/aug/20/211.html)

"A member of my church in Awo-Omamma, Imo State died in July 2003. His younger brother claimed that it was Ogwugwu Okija that killed him and reported to these wicked priests. "They threatened to take his corpse and property to the shrine, but when I heard about that, I warned them not to try that nonsense, and later on August 2, 2003, I personally went to the town and buried the brother. "I disgraced about 20 Ogwugwu Okija priests who came there that day to take the man's corpse and property to the shrine. I even took away a new fridge which the deceased children bought for them out of fear. I called upon God on that occasion to kill them and burn their shrines if they refuse to repent after a year. "Exactly one year after, God dealt with them according to my prayer

Out of respect I will desist from using strong words on the Bishop. It is ironic that the economic strangulation of Nigerians is working in favor of some people who are hiding under the name "man of God". Their pockets are deep. They drive choice cars, live in nice houses and wear the best clothes. They live flamboyant lives at the expense of the tithe-giving and offering-giving congregations of which majority wallow in abject poverty. They preach faith where there is no hope. They preach love where there is no work. They pray and decree holy ghost fire to burn and consume their enemies, they command God to send it back to the sender and they pray for more blessing when they are the ones "blessed". Tolerance, forgiveness and long-suffering have disappeared from their bible. Instead of turning their other cheek they strike back; retribution is theirs, not the Lord's. To them only Jesus is capable of loving his enemies, praying for those who persecute him (Mathew 5:44) and asking the Father to forgive them; for they know not what they do(Luke 23:24).

Aug 24, 2004, 05:56 AM
Registration: CAC moves Okija Shrine file to strong roomOur Correspondents

As investigations into the Okija shrines spectacle continue, the Corporate Affairs Commission may have moved the registration file of the Ogwugwu Isiula shrine to its strongroom.

A source who disclosed this to our correspondents on Sunday, said the measure was taken by CAC to prevent mutilation of the contents of the file or outright stealing.

"You remember the case of one James Onanefe Ibori who was convicted in 1995. The court has been told that the case file has been mutilated. We don't want that to happen in this case," the source said.

He spoke shortly hours after natives of Okija formally protested the police raids on the shrines. They said the raids portrayed them as barbarians and cannibals.

Our correspondents who visited the CAC headquarters in Abuja on Friday, learnt that Ogwugwu Isiula was registered in 2002 under the name, Ogwugwu Isiula Mumhu Culture Association.

The registration number of the shrine with case file marked 11441 CAC is 15018

Ogwugwu Isuila is one of the three shrines raided in Okija on August 4 by the police.

Attempts by our correspondents to obtain the names of the nine trustees of the association from CAC proved abortive.

The CAC Director in charge of Records who pleaded anonymity said the names of the trustees could only be made public after due clearance by the police.

The director who spoke with our correspondents after being directed by the Registrar-General of the commission, Mr Ahmed Al-Mustapha, to do so, however, volunteered information on the association's objectives.

She said, "The police would soon start coming to CAC from next week (Monday, August 23) to investigate and it will not be proper for such information to be first available to the police through newspapers.

"We are not trying to hide information. We have the list of the nine trustees of the association but the police would need the names to help their investigations.

"It is for security implications."

Our correspondents gathered that the commission did not want to name the trustees because of the fear that they might escape.

Another source at the commission said, "We know that we have to serve the public by releasing the names of the trustees but we also owe it a duty to help the rule of law to prevail in this case.

"The commission is afraid of incurring the wrath of the police in their investigations."

Other details about the association released to our correspondent are: Date of Registration: December 24, 2002; Date of filing of application: August 2002 and Board of Trustees: Nine members (Two of the same family)

The aims and objectives of Ogwugwu Isiula Mumhu Culture Association are:

- To teach the people that the growth of any people cum nation, is founded on principles of truth and honesty;

- to promote charitable activities in Umuhu and Okija and the nation at large by making donations to motherless babies homes, old people's homes, disabled people homes, Red Cross and other allied organisations for the alleviation of the sufferings of the less privileged members of the society; and

- to liaise with other associations with similar objectives by organising cultural competitions and symposia, among other objectives.

It was gathered that those behind the association registered it in order to give a legal semblance to its activities at the Ogwugwu Isiula.

"The registration of the association is just to make it appear as if those who run the shrine are doing legal business. They also use it (registration) to hoodwink unsuspecting members of the public'', an Okija native resident in Abuja said on Sunday.

During the raids, 50 human decomposing bodies, a fresh corpse, 20 human skulls and eight registers containing the names of the alleged patrons of the shrines were discovered by a team of policemen led by the Commissioner of Police, Anambra State Command, Mr Felix Ogbaudu.

Thirty people suspected to be priests and workers at the shrines were arrested by the police. However, the police did not arrest the over 100-year-old chief priest of Ogwugwu Isiula, Chief Orji-Ewulu Okoli, because they feared he might die in their custody.

But in Okija, the Igwe-elect of the community, Igwe Ben Okeke, on Sunday, faulted the raids on the shrines by the police.

Okeke took particular exception to the comment of the Inspector-General of Police, Mr. Tafa Balogun, that any people, who allowed the shedding of human blood, were barbaric and condemnable.

The monarch argued that the police misrepresented the pagan practices of two villages to the whole world to mean that Okija was an unholy place.

Addressing a news conference at his palace, Okeke explained that contrary to the impression created by the police raids, there was nothing like a common Ogwugwu shrine in Okija, neither was the community a place notorious for ritual practices.

Indications, however emerged on Saturday in Ihiala, that a member of the House of Representatives, Mr Chuma Nzeribe, might be recalled for confirming that Anambra State Governor, Dr. Chris Ngige, visited one of the raided shrines - Ugwugwu-Akpu to pledge his allegiance to Chief Chris Uba and his group in 2003..

President of the Ihiala Progressive Union, Mr C.N.Nsobundu, said at an event where Christ the King Catholic Parish made Ngige its Grand Patron, that the Ihiala Constituency had reached a "Stage where the recall of Nzeribe from the House of Representatives is a task that must be done."

The PUNCH, Monday, August 23, 2004

Sep 6, 2004, 02:05 AM
Police search for shrines in Delta

By Chukwudi Achife, Bureau Chief, Enugu.
Tunke-Aye Bisina;Reporter, Asaba

A team of detectives from the Criminal Investigation Bureau (CIB) in Delta State has been sent into the field to locate ritual enclaves similar to those in Okija, Anambra State, in line with the directive of Inspector General of Police (IGP) Tafa Balogun that the country be rid of such barbarism.

Police Commissioner Charles Akaya confirmed the development in Asaba. He said he had sent out his men on the expedition and urged the public to supply the police with information on the existence of shrines.

"If you (journalists) have information on any shrine come and tell me privately and we will look into it. I have directed my officer in charge CIB to identify the shrines wherever they are although he has not given me feedback," he stated.

In line with the police's call for information, Christians in Amaozalla, a community in the Udi Local Government in Enugu State, have alerted of Odo shrines in their area.

They said the priests of the shrine have for years coerced people especially women, irrespective of their religious beliefs into the worship of the deity and that refusal was punished with death and the destruction of the person's property by the shrine worshippers.

They said the relationship between Christians and idol worshippers in the town has been strained since the shrine worshippers passed a death sentence on her for refusing to serve Odo deity.

The Priest at St John's Catholic Church where Ekedigwe worships, Dr Francis Chigbo, said in a statement that the woman's family house has been burnt down by the shrine worshippers while other members of the Ekedigwe family have been driven way from the compound.

Chigbo said the demonic practices had continued to thrive despite efforts in the past by the church and enlightened individuals to put an end to it, adding that the cult had instead continued to grow stronger and more oppressive though Odo worshippers constituted only about two per cent of the population of the community.

He added that only a prompt intervention by the authorities could save the people from the oppression of the shrine worshippers who he admitted were dreaded by villagers due to their cruel practices.

Ekedigwe's brother-in-law, Michael Ekedigwe, explained that selection of people to serve the deity had been an age-long practice.

He added that anybody chosen was expected to abandon his/her beliefs to become a life servant of the deity or risk being condemned to death and killed by the worshippers.

He said that since her selection, Mrs. Ekedigwe had refused to renounce her Christian faith and that the whole town was thrown into confusion when they discovered that the woman and household had disappeared.

"Up till now, I don't know where my brother and his family are. We fear that the worst may have happened to them," he said.

Zaiyol: But will they find it? It was tribally but powerfully argued everywhere in the media that, "Shrines" were everywhere in Nigeria. Missing in each of those tribal but powerful arguments were the exact probaility and confidence level of finding the shrines at any given location in Nigeria. Though the police do not have any clue as to what is the probability of success in finding shrines in the Niger Delta, I believe that, nor matter how depressed their confidence level may be, at the end of the day, whatever they present to the authority - shrines or not - will help in determining whether the kinds of shrines found in Okija are "everywhere in Nigeria".

Sep 6, 2004, 07:59 PM
Champion Online
...For a better society...
Monday, September 06 2004

Vol 17 No.30

Police to raid shrines in Lagos, Ogun


POLICE in Lagos and Ogun states are to raid the ancient shrines in the areas suspected to have engaged or still engaging in unholy activities reminiscent of the Okija shrines in Anambra State.

For effective discharge of this duty, a team of seasoned policemen had been constituted by the police high command to carry out proper and comprehensive investigation of the activities of the shrines in the areas.

A police source told Daily Champion that the team is presently understudying the activities of selected shrines and worship centres in Epe, Ikorodu, Badagry areas of Lagos State and Abeokuta in Ogun State.

Daily Champion further learnt that apart from the mentioned areas, the team will spread its dragnet to the activities of a group located along Lagos-Ibadan expressway, and some other churches enmeshed in miracle controversies.

The move to swoop on shrines was sequel to the order of the Inspector-General of police (IGP), Tafa Balogun, directing his assistants in various zones to clamp down on shrines that are engaging in nefarious activities of killing and maiming innocent souls, Balogun had in the wake of the revelation of decomposing corpses at the infamous Ogwugwu shrine at Okija, gave the directive to ensure that such evil could not be allowed to exist in any area nationwide.

Speaking with the Daily Champion, the Assistant Inspector-General of police, incharge of Zone II, Mr Ghazali Lawal, said he has directed all commissioners of police in the zone, comprising Lagos and Ogun, to properly and carefully investigate the activities of shrines in the areas to rid the states of evil practices.

Lawal noted that "considering the ethnic and cultural furore generated by the arrest and detention of the Okija shrine priests, it became imperative that proper investigation be conducted to carry out the raid," he spoke through his public relations officer, Mr Monday Agbonika.

An officer at the Lagos police command who is also a member of the team drawn from special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) and Criminal Investigation Bureau (CIB), noted that the team is making headway in their finding.

He said, although it would be difficult to find a shrine like Okija in the entire nation, others with similar activities exist. He argued that the practitioners may have hidden them for fear of arrest.

According to the officer, who demanded for anonymity, "We are not limiting our search of shrines alone, we investigate fake and fetish churches. We will do a thorough work."

The team reports directly to their immediate boss.

© 2004 @ Champion Newspapers Limited (All Right Reserved).
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Sep 13, 2004, 07:10 PM
Their poisons are usually prepared with different deadly things. There is one they prepare with undiluted gamaline. They use to rub either on the handle of your motorcycle or on your steering and by the time the unsuspecting victim makes contact with the stained object, he will start dying gradually. They make sure it is rubbed where the person will touch it easily and within four months, he or she will fall sick and the body will start swelling up. As soon as the person dies, they will take all his property and his dead body and deposit them at the shrine.

Their most dangerous way of killing people is through the one we call isusu. What they do is to put it in a canon gun. Before they do it, they have to write the victim's name and they would charge those that reported the matter to them from N150,000 to N250,000. After taking the money, they would go into the rituals of writing the person's name after which they put it into the canon gun filled with other ritual things and as soon as they shoot it, even if you are in London or America, you must die because that thing is very powerful. The thing inside the forest is not a shrine, it is a tree that they mystified. If it is a shrine, there should have been a ceremonial day set aside for its worship. But this is not the -----odili.net/news/source/200...2/304.html (http://odili.net/news/source/2004/sep/12/304.html)

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Gamalin 20 is an agro-chemical that is used in fishing in most part of Nigeria. I am not a chemist but some articles I read on Gamalin never mentioned any effect of the gamalin on humans who consume fish harvested with the chemical. Either the guy is ignorant of what he is talking or he is not telling the truth. He did not tell us other substances mixed with the gamalin and how the mixture on mere contact with the body kills after four months when people who eat fish harvested with the chemical are not killed. And the mixture doesn't dry when rubbed on car steering or motorcycle? Pitiful.

His "most dangerous way of killing people" is pathetic and laughable. Only an insane and misguided judge would allow such ranting from a fellow lunatic to be heard in the court. Imagine shooting a canon somewhere in Okija and a guy drops dead in Los Angeles. Must be an Inter-Continental Missile.

From the news articles I read during the sacking of the shrine, the police were aware of the petition more than a week before the invasion. The question the smart ones among us have failed to ask is why didn't the police conduct an investigation before the raid? Why didn't they send undercover detectives to the shrine to act as patrons so that they could get their hands on the concotion, or even video tape the whole thing? The concotion now is hearsay. Some have said it was chalk, some said it was liquid. Some said that the patrons were given the concotion at the spot while this guy who was involved is telling us some c-o-c-k-and-bull that it was rubbed on the steering or where the victim would make contact with the mix.

It was reported that Gov. Ngige of Anambra went to Ulasi Okija and now it is out that they went to one of the the Ogwugwus. At the height of his rumble with Uba and the Nigerian Police, Ngige detailed his encounter at the shrine. He never mentioned any concotion, never. He said the priest did some incantation and he was there looking at him.

Based on what I have read as statements from the police, I am strongly convinced that the invasion has some political motives to it. It is possible that Mr. Igwe made his petition in good faith but the police in furtherance of their pursuit of Ngige bungled their investigation by invading without waiting to gather enough evidence. Their main motive was to lay their hands on the registers. While I am not holding brief for the priests and their activities at the shrine, I dare say that in the quest to either get Ngige or score some cheap points, the truth has become a casualty.

I Love Nigeria
Sep 15, 2004, 06:12 AM
Protecting informants and rats By Kingsley Osadolor

THE oft-repeated line that the police are no magicians is usually buttressed by a call on the public to co-operate with the police by furnishing the latter with useful leads that could help in crime-bursting operations. But the experience has not always been an altogether pleasant one for police informants. Although it is less the case these days, there had been instances when armed robbers reportedly tormented those who had squealed on them, thus giving rise to the strong suspicion that some cops in whom informants confided were in cahoots with the gangsters.

Shortly after his arrest, but before his trial in late 1986, Lawrence Anini narrated with glee how he dealt with an informant who lived on First East Circular Road in Benin City. Anini said he stormed the victim's house, armed with an automatic weapon and then "put a drainage through his head". It was significant nevertheless an informant's tip led to the successful raid on Anini's last hideout. Which is proof of the critical point that where members of the public are confident that the police will put information to proper use without harm to the confidential source, they will inundate the cops with useful tips on criminals, their whereabouts and modus operandi.

Yet, a whistle-blower faces grave risks. Such risks are higher where he is a turncoat, in which case his former confederates-in-crime would seek to teach him a bitter, often fatal, lesson for exposing their illegal activities.

The other purpose is to also serve a dire notice to would-be rats, as to the ghastly fate that awaits them should they renege on their criminal obligations and switch allegiance to the state and law. Usually, the preferred mode for meting such harsh lessons is contract killing. Among the Mob in the United States, gangsters consider it a mark of honour and an opportunity for elevation in the criminal ranks, if they can hamburger a turncoat.

The victim is either shot in the mouth, or he is killed anyhow and his tongue cut off, as punishment for violating the gangland rule of omerta (silence). Till his death in prison, Vito Genovese, head of the New York-based Genovese crime family, kept open the contract on the head of Joseph Valachi, the Mafia turncoat whose seminal and audacious revelations in 1963 gave the public, and indeed the FBI, the first real insight into the world of the Mafia.

In appreciation of the clear and present danger that stalks an informant/turncoat or critical witness, a number of jurisdictions have witness protection programmes or police protection programmes, as the case may be. Valachi survived Genovese and died peacefully under protection in jail.

Until he was careless enough to blow his new cover, Sammy Gravano, a.k.a. Sammy the Bull or Sammy the Rat, enjoyed a witness protection programme in the United States. Gravano was the underboss to John Gotti, the so-called Teflon Don, and the former's testimony coupled with wire-tap evidence led to Gotti's conviction and sentence to life jail, without the opportunity of a parole, which he never got any way, since he died of cancer in June 2002.

What protection is available to an informant/turncoat in Nigeria? It is a pertinent inquiry in the light of the very disturbing interview published last Saturday by Weekend Vanguard.

The interviewee was Chukwunemere Obidi Igwe, the erstwhile cultist who recently blew the whistle on the Okija shrines of Anambra State. Since 1973, Igwe had been with the cultists of Okija who combined deception with instalmental poisoning of their victims, to create an aura of mystery and fear in the name of a deity. To squeal on a clan with whom he had been associated for a generation was no mere act of courage. It was perhaps, also, an act of penance; and in the Nigerian context, a suicidal venture.

"The greatest problem l have now," Igwe told Weekend Vanguard, "is that l am scared. It is as if nobody cares about my protection in spite of the fact that l cried out to the police. I made appeals to them to provide adequate protection for me and members of my family." Last week, an attempt was made on his life.

According to Igwe, "I knew the risk of what l did and never did l believe that those people would not come after me. That's why l went to plead for protection." Did he have to beg for police protection? If the police knew what they were doing, it should have been elementary that the moment Igwe blew the lid on the Okija Shrines, he was a marked man. Thus, his safety and that of his family ought to have been top priority.

For a highly valued turncoat like Igwe, how the police treat him is an indication of the level of interest that they have in getting to the root of and dealing with the Okija menace. For the 31 years that he was in the cult, Igwe could not possibly have exhausted just yet his insider knowledge of the criminal and fetish activities that went on in the shrines. Igwe is an encyclopaedia of Okija shrines.

He is a rat no doubt; but a priceless witness in any criminal prosecution of the crooks and charlatans who ran the shrines. But by exposing him as an idle target for his pursuers, the police are shutting tight a tap of information from Igwe. The latter disclosed that much in the interview: "l have sworn not to reveal more information to the police because my life and the lives of members of my family are in great danger and the police is not doing anything to protect me."

Although he has reportedly been provided with two mobile policemen, since the attempt on his life, Igwe's post-disclosure trauma is the strongest case that could be made for the activation and sustenance of protection programmes for witnesses in high-profile criminal trials or for police informants. In fact, in a number of advanced countries, witness protection programmes are regarded as adjuncts of the administration of justice.

People fear for their lives. They are even more mortified when they have to squeal on or testify against an accused with links to deadly gangs. Yet, without such information or testimonies, the law might never be able to rein in such criminals and give the deterrence effect. Some witnesses have been known to infuriate the prosecution by suddenly developing amnesia.

Protection programmes are not cheap. They are expensive; they often involve the beneficiary taking up a new identity and relocation, which cause disruptions to accustomed life style and a severance of ties with old friends. Whether our socio-cultural system makes this workable is open to debate. For a country like ours that invests only paltry funds on the police, a protection programme is like a request for luxury.

But without that seeming luxury, even the meagre resources that the police now have will not be put to more efficient use. The police need more reliable information to fight crime more effectively. Members of the public would be wary of obliging the police with such information if doing so would expose them to certain danger and make orphans of their children.

Four years ago, Alan Decrabal, a father of three, testified against a well-known gangster at the Old Bailey in London. Before his testimony, Decrabal received warnings from gangsters to "shut up or we will shut you up". He defied them. The notorious gangster was convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment. Decrabal, too, fled into hiding; his marriage broke up. Later, three bullets and a warning were deposited in his letterbox. Not long afterwards, he was shot twice in the head in a car park in Kent.

Igwe also contemplated the gravity of his mission before he took the bold step of disclosure. "When l was trying to embark on this mission," Igwe told his interviewer, "my wife warned me that l am still very young...she was worried and said that our children are still very young and that if l should die while fighting this war, nobody will help her in training our children." Such worries are both paramount and pertinent in societies bereft of systemic safeguards. We cannot brand Igwe a heedless man; his has been a patriotic duty and the reward should be adequate protection for him, his family, and fellow informants and rats.

www.guardiannewsngr.com/e...e02/150904 (http://www.guardiannewsngr.com/editorial_opinion/article02/150904)

Sep 15, 2004, 04:19 PM
The Guardian (Lagos)
Wednesday, September 15, 2004

Okija shrine and internal security
By Kayode Kamson

THIS is the time that as a nation, we are desperate for international trust, cooperation and participation. It is a time we are most hopeful that other nations will willingly come into our land to help out as we search for ways out of our socio-economic and political decadence.

It is a time that the world is strongly focused on the Nigerian man and is wondering if he is a responsible gentleman who deserves a voice and strong recognition in international affairs. But the news over the past couple of weeks, informing the entire world, that over eighty corpses have been found at particular shrines in Ihiala Local government area of Anambra state, has come as a bad omen. It has come in very strong terms suggesting to the outside world that ours is still very much of a brutish society and cannot be trusted.

The news has shocked the whole world, much as it was heartache to many Nigerians at home and abroad. That in the 21st century, human beings are being slaughtered in their hundreds as sacrifice at particular shrines in Igboland is not only a monumental national disgrace but highly scandalous. Incidence of senseless killings in Nigeria in the hands of political hoodlums, armed robbers and religious fanatics is common knowledge in Europe and America. This knowledge has forced a duty on many foreign governments and their representatives to advice their citizens to keep off Nigeria as an unsafe place for holiday or business prospecting. With incidents such as that of Okija shrine fatality, it is worrying that Nigeria is surely set as a very far distant place to visit. The implication of this, in terms of loss of business opportunities and foreign capital, is monumental. In addition to the growing apprehension; pain and agony spreading round the country over the sad news, there is no doubt that the Okija episode is a great tragedy of our time.

Safety is a paramount prerequisite of a decent society. Thus keeping watch over human lives and properties is a universal and prime essence of all progressive human governments across the world. That duty lies in the heart of the social contract that establishes peaceful and stable human communities, where lives are meant to be valued, respected and protected. Nigeria, purporting to be a modernised political entity with commonly accepted civil ethics, consequently pledges to protect lives and properties of her people and visitors on her land. Speeches of past and present leaders are not complete without the reiteration of this pledge. Yet, today's shameful reality betrays our leaders' affirmation. The loss of lives, by way of ritual killings and nefarious activities at Okija shrines, question the quality of our governments' commitment to safety and protection of lives. It challenges those vested with the responsibility of governance to defend their perception and the understanding of the worth of the Nigerian man.

Local and international observers of our political scenery and culture say that the art of governance in Nigeria is heavily plagued with the spirit of lies and deception. Hence generations of rulers, whether in khaki or flowing gowns, continuously under-developed societal values and structures. They circumvent their own promises or pledges. Fallout of this betrayal is our weak internal security management system and over exposure of lives and properties to senseless destruction. If it were not so, our police system would not remain impotent while heinous crimes, such as Okija shrine massacre, repeats round the country. The police force has been hard knocked, but it is high time we accepted that the failures of our police force today are sharp reflections of the ineptitude of our governments in matters of our national security.

Impoverished and undervalued by powers that be, the hard working Nigerian Police remained grossly ill equipped, untrained, corrupt and disenchanted.

A well-developed Nigerian Police will have the agility to detect and prevent crime. It will have high-class rangers, with respectable land and air surveillance over our forests. With proactive policing in our land, Okija shrine evil enterprise would not have a long reign, claiming so many lives at its beck and call. Were a modern professional police force to stand on our land today, Nigerians would be fully persuaded that the real powers behind the despicable activity in Igboland would be caught and brought to justice, their socio-political and economic clout notwithstanding.

We have heard that some "chief priests" of the Okija shrines have been caught and their faces paraded before the camera. But where are the evil "worshippers" who probably donated the lives of fellow Nigerians to their gods? Only a dynamic and incorrigible police force will provide an answer. Its forensic unit will raise hope in the fact that those killed would be identified, if only to help put a stop to the agony of those still waiting for their loved ones to be found. But sadly, Okija episode may end with many questions unanswered.

Safety is not just for the low and down trodden alone in a civil society. That our own high and mighty dwell behind fortified walls, surround themselves with army of thugs, and ride in bulletproof cars, suggests that they too are victims of our unsafe environment. And when we recall the demise of Dele Giwa, Alfred Rewane, Bola Ige and many other 'VIPs", who really is then safe in modern day Nigeria, except those that God preserves. Here lies the paradox: the underdevelopment of the Nigerian internal security by respective governing classes has remained their own nightmare on all fronts. It is therefore an emergency demand on any true leader at different helms of political affairs in Nigeria today to address the security of their people with renewed vigour, commitment, and in absolute truth. It will involve upholding the rule of law, equity and justice by everybody concerned.

Nonetheless, the Nigerian citizenry cannot be excused from building and enhancing our internal security system. Security is a social responsibility and Nigerians cannot and must not trust the federal or the state governments alone with that responsibility. Total prevention of nefarious activities, like that of Okija shrine massacre, lies in the hands of every Nigerian. The take off point is to remain vigilant and expose the machinery of human waste like that of Okija shrine and its demonic agents.

This is where the courage and patriotism of the man that tipped off the police about the Okija Shrine is commendable and should be emulated. We must seek to pull down every altar that wastes human lives. Silence in the face of obnoxious activity is a deadly fuel that energises wickedness against human value. Those who knew about the goings-on at the Okija shrine but kept quiet while many lives were being slaughtered stand to be condemned. Their silence was not only most wicked and vicious, but highly conspiratorial with evil. We could only assume that they have learnt their lesson.

Today the world's fear regarding safety of lives in Nigeria has increased and we cannot defend that ours is not a precarious society where a man can be abducted, driven to a jungle and butchered in a matter of hours. The Okija shrine panorama stands as a national disgrace and another cog towards international hatred. Yet again, the heart of the nation bleeds for those who have been killed and their relations who suffer the agony of having lost their loved ones.

It is a triumph of evil over good that has reared its head in many areas of our affairs. But we can re-write this record, not by mere wishes and pledges, in political speeches and debates; but by concerted work and dedication by all. Pulling out our society from its present degenerate state holds the aces to our economic recovery and political stability.

Kamson lives in the United Kingdom

Sep 21, 2004, 11:05 PM
Source: odili.net/news/source/200...1/604.html (http://odili.net/news/source/2004/sep/21/604.html)

Who killed Cosmas Iwuji?

What has become of the Nigerian society? Has evil completely taken over the thinking and conduct of men? Or is there something fundamentally wrong with the values in the society which are yet to be tackled? It has become increasingly urgent to address such questions as are raised here before the society sinks further into morbid tendencies and lawlessness.

The rate at which human lives are wantonly wasted in today's society, in one primitive cause or another has become a threat to the very foundation of this society. It is bad enough when such killings are attributed to assassins hired to settle political or business scores. When the depraved acts assume the nature of ritual killings, identified with what are wrongly tagged traditional ceremonies and executed at will, the extent of the threat to life and wholesome values in the society becomes rather frightening.

The cowardly and condemnable killing of a 22 year old young man, Cosmas Iwuji in the Oregun area of Lagos State in the dark hours of Saturday, August 28,2004 is one of the latest in this rampage by individuals who have given themselves over to the devil.

Cosmas Iwuji grew up in the Oregun area. He attended both his primary and secondary schools in the area. Because he was a part of that locality and because he was an active, personable young man, he was well known around the Oregun vicinity. The young man hailed from a very modest family, which at the moment consists of his mother, his twin brother and their senior brother. At 22 years of age, Cosmas had a stretch of life before him and so had dreams. He had plans to further his education. To him higher education pointed the way to independence from poverty which his modest upbringing may confine him to, if he did not strive hard.

All the dreams of Cosmas Iwuji and the promises of his vibrant youth came to an abrupt end on Saturday, August 28, 2004.His demise was not by any unfortunate accident. Nor did he succumb to any terminal illness. The young Cosmas was murdered by individuals in the Oregun area, said to belong to a cult in the area called Oro Cult.

As the story went, a member of the cult had died and the ritual for the burial of such cult members involved shedding blood. Poor, innocent Cosmas fatefully ran into the blood thirsty group in the thick of their ritual when he went over to visit his brother who lived incidentally in the same compound with the dead Oro Cult member. The group was said to have already secured the blood they needed for their ritual, but fearing that Cosmas who innocently walked pass their bloody ceremony will expose their devilish act, they went after him. His pleas and promises of silence in exchange for his life did not convince the blood thirsty elements, who he likely knew, all of them being residents in Oregun. That was how Cosmas, a young man without any offence against the law or anybody had his life snuffed out.

Seeking to divert the attention which the killing of the young Cosmas was bound to attract for them, the Oro Cult members reportedly took a series of steps which confirmed them as established criminals. First, they hung the murdered young man upside down on an adjoining gate, then they moved to sell a story that he was a robber killed in operation. The people around Oregun rejected the story of robbery outrightly, having known the murdered young man through and through. Cosmas Iwuji was not a shady character. The murderers cooked up a fresh story; that the dead young man committed suicide. Again, the story collapsed.

It is very commendable that inspite of the anger and repulsion which the murder of Cosmas triggered off in both his people and many other decent citizens around the Oregun area, the protest over the killing of the young man was peaceful and orderly. At the Lagos State Government House, Alausa, the protesters met deputy governor of the state, Mr. Femi Pedro, who assured them that facts of the dastardly act will be unraveled and that the murderers will be brought to book.

Almost one month after Cosmas Iwuji was murdered, the investigation into his killing is yet to yield any known result. Unfortunately, through this period and indeed, immediately after the gruesome killing, there were reported attempts to cover up this heinous act. Although Cosmas Iwuji was an Oregun child, there were reported efforts to turn the case of his murder into another Nigerian matter, bogged down by considerations as primitive and as repugnant as the very act of his cold blooded murder. We caution against this disposition playing itself out.

It is high time governments in the country led a committed and sincere assault on such primitive practices as ritual murder. Such acts are far worse than corruption which involves material things. Human life will always count above material things. Allowing diabolical practices to continue to thrive in the society under the guise of traditional ceremonies casts governments in negative light. Such a situation also negates any claims that Nigeria is a civilized society instead of a primitive one.

Any government in whose domain such deed as the murder of an innocent citizen is committed has the task of ensuring that perpetrators of such evil acts are apprehended and appropriately punished. This is what we demand on Cosmas Iwuji's case. Lagos State government and the Police in the state owe Nigerians a duty to apprehend the demented minds who murdered this young man for no just cause.

The danger in sweeping one crime under the carpet is that a signal is sent out, unwittingly, that crimes can be committed willfully and without sanction. Should this order prevail, it is left to be imagined what our society will turn into. The situation is already bad. It does not need to be encouraged to be worse. The killers of Cosmas Iwuji must not go free.

Oct 4, 2004, 11:30 PM
Source: nigeriaworld.com/articles...t/013.html (http://nigeriaworld.com/articles/2004/oct/013.html)

OKIJA: THE FEEBLE LOT by Adeniba Adepoyigi

As I followed the reactions to the recent Okija Shrine case, I could not but feel saddened by some comments made by fellow Nigerians particularly those who used the issue to unashamedly push their Christian faith. One comment that riled me to the bones was a suggestion to erect the statute of the "Virgin Mary" on the site of the Okija Shrine after it has been demolished. Really? The white Caucasian world must be wringing their hands with glee for their complete conquest of the Africans. This is the ultimate price they badly wanted, for us to perpetually accept our inferiority. Do these Nigerians really know what religion is? Do they know that religion is culture and once you accept an inferior status for your culture, you also accept an inferior status for your person?

History shows the cruel, deceptive, and forceful ways in which our trusting and deeply religious forebears were 'converted' to the religions of the invaders. What we also know is that the conversion was carried out not as a matter of service to their religions but to destroy our African heritage and identity so as to make our subjugation complete. Is it not sad, very sad, then that we Africans are now propagating the same tools of deception used by the invaders for our complete subjugation?

Some commentators lashed on to the finding of corpses and human skeletal remains at the Shrines to attach derogatory epithets to the religious practices of the Okija. Do these people know that there are hundreds and possibly thousands of human skeletal remains hidden away in secrete vaults at the Vatican, some of who were gruesomely murdered? Yes, the sons and daughters of the 'holy see' may not want to hear it but it is the truth. Only recently here, a woman was 'murdered' in a church when a catholic priest was trying to exorcise alleged demons from her. Such practices are not uncommon in Catholic and other Christian churches around the globe including our own Nigeria. Do our Christian brothers and sisters protest such grotesque and barbaric acts and call for the eradication of the religion to be replaced by an African religion? What do followers of the religions of the invaders say about this?

I have no doubt in my mind that the greatest obstacle to our ability to develop and organise a civil and orderly society today are the foreign religions that have taken firm hold in our lands. Do people ever wonder how we have come to suddenly acquire an insatiable taste for the white man's lifestyle? A lifestyle based on the consumption of goods manufactured by them? What happened to our deep sense of selfless service to our communities, the very essence of African religions? Hasn't that been completely replaced today by the Whiteman's hedonism and egotism? Do people ever know that the object of the European invaders' effort to convert us to their religion was not that we might change our worship to their God (for they knew the very God of their religion was not any different from our God), but that we might eventually disown ourselves and become entirely dependent on them?

Let us even dwell on the spiritual realm for a moment. Think about it, does it really make sense to worship other peoples' ancestors who have no blood line to you and your forebears? Is it any wonder they have so far refused to answer our endless prayers and supplications to them? The simple truth about spiritual worship, which the invaders also claim is the core of their religions, is that it is ancestral. It is not a coincidence that only the forebears of the Jewish people are deified and worshiped in all their written religious texts. So are the Hindus, the Buddhists, and many more religions of the world. Why is it then that we Africans disown our ancestors and even sometimes despise them? If the roots are not nurtured or don't get enough water and nutrients, the branches will wither and surfer for sure.

I know followers of the religions of the invaders will say our African religions have some practices which should not be allowed in the modern world. Fair enough. But I urge them to go and do a little more research into the religions of the invaders. They will discover, to their chagrin, that the so called 'pagan' practices of African religions are a child's play when compared with the practices of the invaders' religions, even today. Every religion has its 'bad' side. It is all in the eyes of the beholder.

Today Africa and Nigeria in particular, is mired in poverty. We grope backwards and forwards incessantly for that elusive economic formula which will allow us to provide a decent standard of living for our teeming population. Yet, the one factor which is perhaps the most potent for economic advancement is seldom mentioned, and this is self-confidence. Here, I am not referring to the self-confidence of going to acquire a string of university degrees or ability to compete with others in sports and the like. That is simply imitation and it is not what I mean. What I am talking about is a supreme belief in your ability to survive and thrive on your own resources alone. It is not cockiness or arrogance as some would wish to label it. It is the type that allowed Singapore, a poor marshland, to develop into a top class economy within a relatively short period and those of the other so-called Asian Tigers. This self-confidence comes from one's heritage and strong attachment to one's roots.

And what happened to our self-confidence in Africa and indeed Nigeria? You see, when you stop believing in your ancestors, you start disbelieving yourself. Your feeble-mindedness then lends you to easy manipulation. The invaders knew this very well hence they used every means possible to ensure they replaced our religions with theirs. What is depressing about the whole thing is that many of us, who are now in possession of this part of history which has been cleverly concealed from us, are still unable to liberate our minds and know that our 'salvation' firmly lies in our hands. Religion or spiritual worship should be a very personal affair. Those who want to follow the religions of the invaders are free to do so. What they should not be allowed to do is stop those who want to continue in their African religious heritage no matter how unpleasant to them some of the practices may be.

One thing is certain, until we re-discover our self-confidence and reclaim ownership of ourselves, the economic advancement that we so desperately crave will continue to elude us. This is not to say that we will not need assistance along the way or that we will be able to do it without the cooperation of others. But it must be clear to all that if the crunch comes, we have full confidence in our ability to survive and thrive on our own resources alone. This is the self-confidence you can only get from your ancestral religion, you won't get it from other peoples' religion no matter how hard you try.

Oct 11, 2004, 07:22 PM
Source: odili.net/news/source/200...0/603.html (http://odili.net/news/source/2004/oct/10/603.html)

Okija has become the fall guy of shrines. Even among those who patronize such abodes of dark, dubious powers, public mockery of Okija served a useful purpose; it provided a camouflage of their private acts and tendencies.

The morbid profile of the shrine at Okija and the warped tendencies that sustained it over time were bound to offend the sensibility of every decent mind. In the wake of the media expose on the particulars of the shrine, the Nigerian society was thrown into an elaborate frenzy, which is very understandable. Columns of human skulls and remains of decomposing bodies are not exactly the bedrock of modern civilization, especially where there was no recent incident of war. Nor are they the kinds of stuff normal persons decorate their environment with.

However, in their putrid grounds and rancid air, the Okija shrines spoke of decay in a much more comprehensive sense than many were either capable of appreciating or willing to entertain.

Okija deserves the opprobrium that has been heaped on it. Whatever the traditional roots or judicial value of its shrine may have been, it is very clear that in its present face and characteristics, the shrine had lost every claim to wholesomeness. It is probably true that nobody was ever killed inside the Okija shrine. But then the shrine was not known for offering any certified mortuary services. To that extent, therefore, the fact of its receiving and keeping dead bodies for whatever purposes, confirmed it as remarkably diabolical.

Was the Okija shrine peculiar within the traditional setting of the Nigerian society? The answer is an emphatic no.That, however, is where the shock of the Okija revelation met the hypocrisy of the Nigerian society. In the pervasive righteous indignation at the gruesome spectacle at Okija, so derisively expressed across parts of the country something more than manifestations of innocence were going on.Okija has become the fall guy of shrines. Even among those who patronize such abodes of dark, dubious powers, public mockery of Okija served a useful purpose; it provided a camouflage of their private acts and tendencies.

Plugging in to the amply promoted uproar over the unholy practice, the police stepped forward and positioned itself as a mid day shrine buster of sorts. It promised to locate, storm and unmask all shrines and ritual grounds across the country, as a means, probably, of reducing the crime rate. A list of fetish shrines said to have been compiled by the police for inspection, in the wake of the Ogwugwu Okija shock findings included one Aiyelala shrine somewhere in Ondo State and one Somorika shrine in Edo state. For now however, the shrine busting expedition by the police is yet to go beyond the very point where it was declared - Okija.

Hypocrisy reigns as much in Nigeria as corruption. Between what many people believe in or do in private and what they say, especially in the public, there is a chasm the explanation of which can only be located in dishonesty.

Thus it was that the Okija shrine and whatever it represented were a source of wide public condemnation, but the cold-blooded murder of a young man in Oregun, Lagos for ritual purposes, barely two weeks after the eruption over Okija, has been a subject of denial.

While the public is still awaiting the promised list of the patrons of Ogwugwu shrine, those who killed the young man, Cosmas Iwuji do not seem that hidden. The 28 year-old young man was callously killed by elements identified as belonging to one Oro Cult, which uses human blood to bury any of its dead members. In the base service of a primitive and blood-thirsty culture of a group without any noble values, a promising young life was so abruptly abridged.

Details of the criminal effort to conceal how and why the young man was killed have been covered in some newspaper reports.

What has been remarkable in the most condemnable incident of Cosmas Iwuji's murder is the loud silence of many of the purportedly civilized folks who were so ready to condemn the images of death that were exposed at the Okija shrine. How is the seeming preoccupation of Okija shrine with collection of dead and decomposing bodies more heinous than Oro Cult's specialization in the murder of fresh, young citizens? Why is there no uproar by decent Nigerians over the murder of Cosmas Iwuji?

And now the more serious aspect; there are unconfirmed reports that a conspiracy is on to quietly release the arrested suspects for the murder once whatever remains of the modest public focus on the matter is diverted.

Lagos State government, speaking through the deputy governor, Femi Pedro had promised the protesters of Iwuji's death who took their grief to Government House, Alausa, Lagos that justice will be done. That justice is yet to be executed. The protesters had dispersed after their orderly protest soon after the murder, but the people have continued to monitor developments. So is the larger society too.

Only recently, it was reported that there was an overture to the family of the slain youth, to accept some compensation. And you ask: compensation for what? From whom? And where does that leave the murderers?

There are many factors that make Oregun, Lagos worse than Okija, Anambra State in the prevailing matters of death on rather dark plains. For one, there is a clear case of murder in one case and there are aggrieved petitioners for justice in the killing too. In the Oregun case also, there are identified suspects. Worst of it all, there is palpable suspicion in the Oregun murder of high level disposition to let the murderers go scot free. That will be as condemnable as the very act of the murder.

As the police gears up to release the list of patrons of the Okija shrine, it should move on also to bring to justice the criminals who killed the young man,Cosmas Iwuji in Oregun Lagos on August 28, 2004.Crime is crime and the society is not regenerated by any form of crime. There can be no redemption in selective cleansing of this decadent society.A lot more honesty is required than this parade of Holy Willies who say one thing and do another.Oregun stinks for now.

© 2004 @ Champion Newspapers Limited (All Right Reserved)

I Love Nigeria
Oct 12, 2004, 04:50 AM
Full, Authentic List of Patrons of Okija Shrine (Part Two)

Monday, October 11, 2004

This is the second part of the list of those whose names appeared in the register kept at the Okija Shrine. The first part was published last week.

210. Mrs. Jalguda

211. Mr. Austine Okoye

212. Mr. Lawrence Ndukwe

213. Mr. Ndukwu Izeghe

214. Mr. Akuma Ekenedo

215. Mr Friday Ohaka

216. Mr. Onuka Mmadugwu Friday

217. Mr. Sunday Onuoha

218. Mr. Friday Omusoonye

219. Mr. Sunday Nduka

220. Mr. Samson Mmadugwu

221. Mr. Onyebuchi Amaluo

222 Mr. Uzoma Elutonise

223. Mr. Festus Chikezie

224. Mr. & Mrs. Anthony Ohaka

225 Mr. & Mrs. Ignatius Ohaka

226. Miss Justina Ohaka

227. Mr. Mathius Ohaka

228. Mr. Sunday Ulasi

229. Mr. Anthony Ulasi

230. Mr. John Arinze

231. Mr. Uzoma Udeoji

232. Mr. Azubuike Nwankwo

233. Mr. Matthew Ngubuonye

234. Mr. Michael Enemmo

235. Mr. Joseph Mbela

236 Mr. Godwin Mbela

237 Mr. Ekemezil Mbela

238 Mr. Joseph Ogenba

239. Mr. Lulu A.C. Ogenba

240. Mr. Emmanuel Nwaeke

241. Mr. Udegbena Onwuka

242. Mr. Obi Onyekaonwu

243. Mr. Albert Okeke

244. Mr. Emmanuel Okpara

245. Mrs. Chinwe Obi

246. Mr. Christian Nwafor

247. Mr. Chukwuemeka Menikiti

248. Mr. Nnaueke Onwuebe

249. Mr Iweobi Anikwesi

250. Mr. Chilozie Akwie

251. Mr. Paul Mbamala

252. Mr. Paul Obigwe Odili

253. Mr. Godwin Nkoluka

254. Mr. Augustine Nkoluka

255. Mr. Eneanya

256. Mr. John Mmoha

257. Mr. Victor Nkoluka

258. Mr. Michael Mbamala

259. Mr. Igbanugo Mbamala

260. Mr Augustine Mbamala

261. Mr. Ifeanyi Mmadubuko

262. Mr. Leonard Ezihrim

263. Mr. Chinedu Chigbo

264. Mr. Barth Mbazuigwe

265. Mr. Romanus Ojemmadu

266. Mr. Kingsley Ogwumir

267. Mr. Ahiakwu

268. Mr. Good Star Sike

269. Mr. Mmaduka Nwajali

270. Mr. Joshat Ahiakwu

271. Mr. Kenneth Ebeli

272. Mr.Uche Acha

273. Mr. Paul Onita

274. Mr. Augustine Olunsa

275. Mr. Okey Trinck

276. Mr. Gift Okolo

277. Mr. Monday Nwaburji

278. Mr. Sabinus Alisa

279. Mr. Madan Eliba

280. Mr. Emeka Ajoku

281. Mr. Emeka Annih

282. Mr. Peter Nnaji

283. Mr. Joseph Onwuaduegbo

284. Mr. Anthony Ofulue

285. Mr. Augustine Okwudile

286. Mr. Geoffrey Obi

287. Mr. Aputy

288. Miss Ukamaka Ifebe

289. Mr. Chinweuba Okoro

290. Mr. Emmanuel Agu

291. Miss Joy Bamawo

292. Mr. Chigbo Ezeokeke Onwoum

293. Mr. Ben Ezeokeke Onwumele

294. Mr. Christopher Ezeokeke Onwumele

295. Mr. Chukwubunna Nwaofor

296. Mr Richard Obikwumidie

297. Mr. Collinus Okafor

298. Mr. Chinedu

299. Miss Bene

300. Mr. Ikenna Angwubo

301. Mr. Emmanuel Nwachukwu

302. Mr. Ugochukwu Nwachukwu

303. Mr. Felix Nwachukwu

304. Mr. Uche Angwe

304. Mr. Deesin Anyigwe

305. Mr. Ben Nwadi

306. Mr. Emeka Okonkwo

307. Mr. Adolphus Okoro

308. Mr. Nnamdi Nwajoko

309. Chief Ajuzia Avaga

310. Mr. Ogbonna Avoaga

311 Mr. Ahiwe Joshi

312 Mr. Chinedu Igweka

313. Mr. Arinze Nwoye

314. Mr. Remgius Adama

315. Mrs Ngozi Adama

316. Mr. Lazarus Ata

317. Mr. John Ezehie

318. Mr. Charles Osuji

319. Mr. Titus Chukwukwe

320 Mr. & Mrs. Boniface Ozurumba

321. Mr. Mathias Echefu

322. Mr. Eugene Oledibe

323. Nze Onwukwe Obioha

324. Mr. Bannard Mmadubugwu

325. Mr. Chidi Mmdubugwu

326. Mr. Anayo Anysdiso

327. Mr. Monday Obitibe

328. Mr. Chimezie Anaba

329. Mr. Nwamarachi Uzuka

330. Mrs. Chidima Uzuka

331. Mr. Uloego Paul Egubart

332. Mrs. Rose A.N. Uzuka

333. Mr. Simon Onwunji

334. Mr. Nwaokonko Anaba

335. Mr. Matthew Udeogu

336. Mr. Innocent Nwafor

337. Mr & Mrs Okolie Ubadinaihu

338. Mr. Ikechukwu Nwaoye

339. Dr. David Nnakezie Obigaobi

340. Mr. Ejiofor Anyiche

341. Barr. Victor Mbachu

342. Chief Osita Ndukwu

343. Mr Victor Mbachu

344. Mr. O.Z

345. Mr. John S.U. Nwankwo

346. Mr. Maxwell Otamiri

347 Mr. Christopher Nwafor

348. Mr. Jonathan Nwankwo

349. Mr. Innocent Nwafor

350. Mr. Christian Nwokugha

351. Mr. Peter Onyeso

352. Mr. Cosmas Nwankwo

353. Mr. Onwusiebe Otemiri

354. Mr. Emmanuel Onyenuna

355. Mr. Peter Onwume

356. Mr. Chibuzo Amajiri

357. Mr. Chukwumaobi Onyeso

358. Mr. Nwanosike Nwosu

359. Mr. Esoegbena

360. Mr & Mrs Felix

361. Mr. Christian Obi Ariagu

362. Mr. Christian Chibundu

363. Mr. Sunday Chibundu

364. Mr. Sylvinus Iheoma

365. Mr Oluchi Emelogu

366. Mr. Azunna Iheoma

367. Mr. Okpoaha Nwakwo

368. Mr. Chisom Chibundu

369. Mr. Odunaka Sunday

370. Mr. Chima Nwagwe

371 Mr. Mbaonu Onuora Ginikanwa

372. Mr. Ekene Obadigbo Ginikanwa

373. Mr. Peter Ginikanwa

374. Mr. Onuna Ginikanwa

375. Mr Mabueze Isienyi

376. Mrs Isieke

377. Mr Obadile Obidike

378. Mr. Christian N. Nwankwo

379. Mr. Maduabuchi Onyeso

380. Elder Slyvanus Nwogu

381. Mr. Lawrence Eziagbare

382. Mr. Rako Okonkwo

383. Miss Nkeiruka

384. Miss Chikodi Iheanacho

385. Mr. Azubuike

386. Mr. Saydi

387. Mr. Osey

388. Mr. Chibueze Ogbowu

389. Mr. Jude Emekekwe

390. Mr. Silas Nwanaka

391. Mrs Stella Dike Unichi

392. Mr. Amanze Daniel

393. Mr. Onyebuchi Ehilegbu

394. Chief Rowland C. Ogbonna

395. Mr. Okonkwo Nwanga

396. Mr. Sunday & Mr. Kingsley

397. Mr Ikechukwu Nwaorie

398. Mr. Ahthiner

400. Mr. Obinna

401. Mr. Boniface

402. Mr. Amarachi

403. Mr. Oguchukwu

404. Mr. Uchenna Nwaagu

405. Mr. Samuel Echrunonu

406. Mr. Osita Ndukwu (Mosquito)

407. Mr. Vitalis Ezirim

408 Mr. Prince Uwakwe

409 Dr. Sam Ibesi (Osita)

410. Bross Rowland

411. Miss Nzubechukwu Njoku

412. Mr. Ndubuisi Okeke

413. Mr. Arinze Igwe

414. Mr. Ezrah Mbagwu

415. Mr. Onyebuchi Okorafor

416. Chief Pius Nto Ijeoma

417. Chief K.K. Obo

418. Mr. Iloabuchi

419. Mr. Ohoinna

420. Mr & Mrs Iloacuchi

421. Mr. Ekpenechi Ezekude (Nwaogberu)

422. Mr. Eze

423. Mr. Timos

424. Mr. Ikechukwu Ekpama

425. Mr. Apama Jilius

Part 3 Next week

© 2003 Newswatch Communications Limited

I Love Nigeria
Oct 12, 2004, 04:51 AM
www.newswatchngr.com/edit...g10003.htm (http://www.newswatchngr.com/editorial/allaccess/nigeria/nig10003.htm)

Aug 25, 2005, 03:46 PM
Before the accusers were granted bail in March a team of forensic pathologists, coroners and others were dispatched to Okija to conduct investigation on the cadavers to determine cause of death. During my recent trip to Nigeria I gathered from one of the lawyers involved in the case that the report exonerated the accusers because it concluded that the dead died of natural causes. The police who made brouhaha out of the whole thing was uncomfortable with the report. They sent back the experts for a second time hoping to get another conclusion. They came back with the same conclusion.

Finally the court has freed these men. Check the links:



An opinion: http://odili.net/news/source/2005/aug/24/457.html

While I am comfortable in my faith as a Christian I can only say to somebody who is going to a shrine to have a rethink, however, I do think that people have the right to make decisions. It is up to them on what religion they want to practise, where to be buried and stuffs like that. I came into this topic because there were distortions about occurances at the shrine. The notion and the headlines were that the priests were killing and sacrificing people in the shrines. Others claimed that they were dealing in human parts. While I have never gone inside the shrine to see the bodies we always hear that dead bodies were brought there. No one has ever accused the shrine-keepers of killing a relation of theirs. No missing person was found in the shrine.

I want to reiterate what I heard about the shrine's operation with a simple scenario. A says that this land is his and B claims the land also. They go to the shrine and swear. No concotion given to any. B dies tomorrow, a week later, two or three years after, or even 10 years after, the shrine-keepers go to the survivors to remind them that B was there and he died because he lied at the shrine. They go to who died first. No proof that he died because of the oath. He could have died of malaria or tuberculosis. They tell them that so-so will happen if his belongings and body was not brought to the shrine. The survivors decide to take the dead body to the shrine. Some survivors say never. The keepers kept lists of the dead brought there and who brought them. While I would want this practise to stop especially when it has brought bad name to my town, I wouldn't want to see these men tried and found guilty for a crime they did not commit just because there was a public outcry. The constitution guarnates freedom of religion and association. The practise is primitive at best but the facts established that these men did not kill anybody. Some people have failed to see these things. They ran with the headline and since then have continued to accuse Igbos of being shrine worshippers when the evidence showed about 400 names. It is a pity.

Something else I got from the lawyer: he said that the accusers told him that the whole thing was a sham. The shrine had no power, they played on people's intelligence. I don't know if the prosecutor would have succeded in proving this. They could have charged them for desecration of dead bodies but I am not sure if the law covers that.