With much emphasis being channeled on the need for government to respect
the already identified fundamental human rights across the globe; one
still wonders how this campaign will be driven into communities where
traditions and cultures remain very strong even in this ages of the twenty first
century characterized by technology.
In Okpowo-Okpo, Enugu Ezike of Igbo-Eze North LGA in Enugu state South
East Nigeria where one Eke Kenneth Ejikeme’s is under serious threat
owing to his dementedness to accepting the role of a chief Priest (Eze
Nmuo). Mr. EKE KENNETH EJIKEME, a pharmacist and the third son of late
Pa Ogbonna Eke, the immediate past Eze Nmuo of Okpowo-Okpo community,
one of the communities in the South East Nigeria where men are still
compelled against their wishes to serve deities irrespective of
your believe, profession or location.
For Kenneth who now sees his birth to the Eke’s family as an
unfortunate one due to the family linkage to producing the Chief Priest
of his community. According to him, he has never liked the idea from
inception of his knowledge and the history/ lineage of his family
producing the chief Priest of his community’s deity known as AGBACHI.
As a boy while growing up ;he recalled his witness of the perilous moments,
invalidity and persecution his father suffered before succumbing to
serve the deity as the chief Priest (Eze Nmuo), which he had always
resented for his Christian faith but have also amused fears over the
future after his father death.
His fears eventually caught up with him on September 12, 2018, when
his father, the Eze Nmuo passed on, while his plans to travel out of
the shores of Nigeria at any giving opportunity could materialize
and which marked his sojourn to his path of persecution. After the
final burial rites of his father on October 31, 2018, he was summoned with his
two brothers by the Olowu (Prime Minister) to the King’s
palace to inform them of their heir apparel of the Eke’s family to produce a successor to the position their father occupied till his death through casting of lot
on May 28, 2019.
Unfortunately for Kenneth, his age long fears finally caught up with him as the
lot fell on him as the next Chief Priest of AGBACHI deity of Okpowo
Okpo community. This incident according to him marked another era in his life as he has known no peace following his obvious refusal to step into his father’s
shoes. He was marched to the AGBACHI shrine for the preliminary rituals
which he resisted; his obstinacies angered the youths who are devotees
of the AGBACHI deity.
The youths who were aroused by his actions and vented their anger on him, St.
Mary Catholic church Okpowo-Okpo by setting ablaze the Parish Priest’s
house while the Priest Rev. Father Cosmos Israel was badly manhandled for their show of solidarity to his ordeal. This incident was reported to the Police to
forestall peace and orderliness but unfortunately much could not be achieved as the security agency tactfully withdrew from having any confrontation with the people’s culture.
The persecutions had continued and even more unbearable and has
forced Kenneth into hiding at sundry times and at different locations, yet continually he has been smoked out by the Olowu with the aid of AGBACHI deity, while his immediate family (wife and children) have been forced to take refuge at his in-laws home town despite not being their targets, but for the fear of any attack on them
for his obstinacies as he claims that no one is safe.
As the final initiation ceremony is usually scheduled a year after the demise of the Chief Priest, September 12, 2019 Kenneth is now a fugitive in his onetime lovely village with his families deserted and business jeopardized due to the breach of his fundamental human rights of free movement as enshrined in the constitution of
the Federal Republic of Nigeria. He is crying out for authorities to come to his aid as his fears grow as the day for initiation draws nearer.
Though; determined to die with his faith in Christ rather than serve AGBACHI, Mr Eke Kenneth Ejikeme wishes that through this medium the heinous sacrifices often meted to human for such an initiations could be abolished and the deity scrapped as he calls on national and international communities to come to his rescue.