In Anambra, Umuchu community moves against its gods

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Igbo-shrine-pieceThousands have gathered in an Anambra State community to neutralise the perceived influence of their once revered idols, reports Nwanosike Onu for The Nation…

It would have been unthinkable once upon a time to move against the community’s deities. It was the tradition. Every family had their gods and shrines to which sacrifices were periodically offered. It was their life, their faith.

Now, that is changing in Umuchu, Aguata Local Government Area of Anambra State. Some residents have jettisoned the community’s spiritual beliefs and have mounted a counter-spiritual offensive to neutralise what they believe is the negative influence of the idols on their people.

They gathered at the Nkwo triangle market to seek God’s intervention in this anti-idols offensive. The prayer session was headed by the Anglican Bishop of Amichi in Nnewi South, Most Rev Ephraim Ikeakor.

Indeed, the intervention has become a yearly ritual in the sleepy community.

Before now, the prayer session had dwelt on flushing out idol worship, believing that they impeded the growth of the area. But since the last prayer session in the area, some of the youths who claimed they were caged by the community’s deities, said the gate of progress had been opened to them.

A crowd of over 7,000 people from all walks of life consisting especially of citizens of the community assembled again at the village to step up the offensive. This time around the session focused on eradicating the spirit of idolatry, which the cleric said had held the people back.

The cleric who equally hails from the community chose the topic “Refusing and resisting shame” in his sermon. According to him, there is shame of poverty, shame of untimely death, shame of dependence on parents, late marriages and unprecedented cases of divorce in Umuchu. These issues Bishop Ikeakor blamed on idolatrous lifestyle of some of the people in the community.

Drawing his sermon from the book of Joel 2:16-27, Ikeakor observed that God, who commanded Joel to forgive Israel their sins, could still show the same mercy to the area.

He said some people, despite the presence of God in the community, are still paying deaf ears to the issue of idolatry, adding that idolatry and adultery are the two major weapons the devil uses to push people to shame.

Heaid, “It pains me that no Umuchu-born citizen has been a governor, commissioner, permanent secretary or head of any Federal Government agency or parastatal in this generation but I want to assure you that God manifests His miracle during difficulty and abnormal situations.

“In this land, God will raise people that will use their contacts and influence to change the fortunes of the people. Our youths will prosper and parents will reap the fruit of their labour.”

The programme is sponsored annually by one of the community illustrious indigenes, Mr. Godwin Ezeemo.

Mr. Ezinna Samuel Ezeudo said the programme had been an immense help to most of the youths in the community.

Also, Mr. Dona Agupusi, a native of the community but based in Lagos, praised the organisers of the annual programme, which he said had lifted the area.

For Mr. Dominic Ottih, another Lagos-based businessman, God had been using the clergy to salvage the community from occultists. He  called for its sustenance until the land was totally cleansed of evil deeds, adding that God’s powers supersede other powers.

The sponsor of the programme, Mr. Godwin Ezeemo, told The Nation that the prayer session had really transformed the community and many lives.

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