Alarming rise of witchcraft

On February 12, 2024, one Celestine alleged to have been causing misfortunes through diabolical means in Ndiabor Ishiagu, Izzi Local Government, Ebonyi State, was forced to destroy his charms.  Youths descended on him following his alleged disobedience to rules and constant threatening to deal with people at almost every gathering in the community...CONTINUE READING HERE

President, Alaoma Village Youth, Monday Nkwegu, said prior to the incident, the man had allegedly disrupted the youth meeting and bragged that he would diabolically terminate the life of whoever dared his action: “On a particular day, the man who decorated his face with native chalk suddenly began to threaten everyone without any justification to a point that the youths decided to invade his shrine to forestall the pronounced calamity and, in the process, a snake, squirrel and rat were killed at his altar.

• Recovered items

“And after they saw many dreadful items including all colours of candle, sculptures and padlocked objects suspected to be charms capable of causing spiritual havoc to the community, he was forced to bring all the materials to the village square for destruction.”

Nkwegu said the man quietly complied by setting the fetish materials ablaze without resistance. He then warned others who might likely indulge in similar act to desist from such. 

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• A suspect

President-General of Ndiebor Ishiagu, Anaele Ofoke and a member of Ishiuke, the traditional body in charge of the customs of Izzi Clan, Joseph Isha respectively, said: “Since he has shown regret over his action and took oath before the people that he would never go back to his vomit, he has equally been forgiven.”

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The suspect told our correspondent that he did not have any problem with the villagers, stressing that everything had been resolved.

It is becoming common for people to be apprehended and paraded publicly for allegedly manipulating the death of others within their vicinity especially in Izzi area. Many people there believe someone could through spiritual, mystical or diabolical means, control the fate or destiny of another person.

The process is called witchcraft and the perpetrators are usually met with grave punishment by the community. They may in worst cases be stoned to death. So, it is common for the community to subject perpetrators to public opprobrium including destroying their property, ostracism or banishment.

Daily Sun had reported that more than eight of such cases were recorded in May/June 2021 alone. The perpetrators were publicly disgraced for practicing sorcery including a purported pastor of Yahweh Kingdom Community Worldwide at Ndiechi Onuebonyi, Obubra Junction in Igbeagu, Izzi Local Government.

On May 18, 2021, people of the area discovered that a man they had embraced and accommodated for 11 years as a pastor was actually neck-deep in fetish and occult practices. The community accused him of having a hand in several misfortunes of their people including their stagnation.

Prior to then, there was anxiety in Obegu, Onuebonyi Inyimagu community in neighbouring Abakaliki Local Government, following the reported invocation and presence of Okija deity, Ogwugwuakpu, Ubahu from Ihiala, Anambra State, in the area.

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Shortly after, two persons were nabbed for allegedly using their mystical powers to cause havoc in some communities leading to people losing their lives in questionable circumstances.

Also, on June 22, 2021, the people of Ekeru Inyimagu village, Izzi Unuhu autonomous community in Abakaliki LG banished a father of eight with four wives; for reportedly attempting to kill nine of his kinsmen with mystical powers.

In a related development, two men were nearly lynched on November 20, 2022, at Amuzu, Igbeagu for allegedly manipulating the death of a man about 30 years ago, but for the timely intervention of a police team from the Izzi Divisional Police headquarters.

On that fateful day, one of the suspects was said to have been exposed by nemesis as he suddenly began to tell people that he had a hand in the death of a man who died mysteriously three decades ago.

He claimed to have been manipulated spiritually by his co-accused (step-brother of the deceased), who allegedly “wore” his face, before committing the heinous act then.

In his confessional statement, the principal suspect admitted to the crime and also revealed that he had been using the deceased’s grave as a means of spiritual transportation, by appearing in other parts of the society for assignments, once he laid on the man’s tomb.

In Egwudinagu, Amachi Community, Abakaliki LG, the people believed that some unseen hands were responsible for their purported retrogression over the years. They also alleged that such diabolical forces led to the untimely deaths of many of their indigenes.

On August 13, 2023, they apprehended one Nwija, accused of practising witchcraft and other diabolical activities. They made mockery of him, paraded the man stark-naked round the village before banishing him from the area.

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Daily Sun gathered that a mob which stormed his residence, reportedly saw pictures of some family members, funeral brochures, women underwear and pieces of hair at his shrine.

Nwija was alleged to have been a thorn in the flesh of the community as he had reportedly terrorised everybody including some married women who objected to his sexual advances.

Elsewhere, there was a twist in the leadership tussle in Obegu Azuiyiokwu Inyimagu, Izzi Unuhu Community in Abakaliki LG, bordering on diabolism.

The High Court in Abakaliki had restricted one Okechukwu Nwangwuta and seven others from parading themselves as executive members of the village.

Justice E. Ogbunnefi on September 7, 2023, in the case with the number HAB/156MC/2023 obtained by Daily Sun, also restricted Chairman of Abakaliki Local Government from recognising them as officials of the village, pending the determination of the substantive suit.

Investigation showed that some of the accused persons had in the past, allegedly gone to Okija shrine in Anambra State where they brought home items suspected to be charms from the deity to allegedly hurt their kinsmen over a mild misunderstanding.

It was gathered that the plaintiffs among other things averred that Nwangwuta alongside other respondents, were not fit to be part of the village executives because of their alleged Okija shrine escapades and other related issues...CONTINUE READING HERE

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