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T A Orji not member, says man who exposed Okija shrine

Posted by By HENRY UMAHI on 2008/03/14 | Views: 829 |

T A Orji not member, says man who exposed Okija shrine


As reactions trail the nullification of the election of Chief Theodore Ahamefula Orji, as governor of Abia State, by the election petition tribunal sitting in Umuahia for allegedly being a member of a secret society, human rights activist, Chief Orbed Igwe, has faulted the verdict, saying the five-member panel was misinformed and misled. He said it was curious that the tribunal handled the allegations shabbily.

As reactions trail the nullification of the election of Chief Theodore Ahamefula Orji, as governor of Abia State, by the election petition tribunal sitting in Umuahia for allegedly being a member of a secret society, human rights activist, Chief Orbed Igwe, has faulted the verdict, saying the five-member panel was misinformed and misled. He said it was curious that the tribunal handled the allegations shabbily.

Igwe, who walked into the pages of history a few years ago when he exposed the atrocities going on in the shrines at Okija, Anambra State, leading to the arrest of the priests by the police, also gave Governor Orji a clean bill of health, saying the allegation of his membership of the notorious shrine was false.

“Governor Orji has never been there. I know the people who have been there,” he stated emphatically.
He maintained that the decision of the Justice Abdullahi Yusuf-led tribunal negates the principles of fair justice because it seemed not to be properly informed about what the shrine is all about and, indeed, how it operates.

Shedding light on the matter, the founder/president of Orbed Igwe Foundation, an NGO for human rights violation, said that contrary to widely held opinion, “the so-called Okija shrine is neither a cult nor a secret society. It is not for the good people of Okija community in Anambra State. It belongs to particular families engaged in fetish practices, they are native doctors or witch doctors.” He regretted that many have been misled into thinking that it was a society or communal affair, revealing that there are actually three shrines in the area namely; Ogwugwu Isiula, Ogwugwu Akpu and Ogwugwu Mmiri, where former Governor Chris Ngige was taken to by his political masters.

Excerpts of Igwe’s statement:
“I don’t know how to describe what they are doing to Governor Theodore Ahamefule Orji of Abia State. But it is an orchestrated attempt to tarnish his image. In the first place, that thing is not Okija shrine. The people in charge are mere native doctors. The so-called Okija shrine is neither a cult nor a secret society.

“The shrines are three namely; The Ogwugwu Isiula by Edimmuo and Okorie Esike. The Ogwugwu Akpu run by some men and their children including Obichukwu, Mgborogwu Orji, Asa and Apollo. The Ogwugwu Mmiri, where former Governor Chris Ngige was dragged to, is owned by Ezedenyi and his son, Piccolo. They started calling their fetish practices shrines when they saw that other shrines were reigning. Infact, more shrines are emerging even outside the area.

Shrine is where someone can go and have salvation. I have never seen someone like Chief T.A. Orji of Abia State. The police have the register of the patrons. They said the register would be published but it wasn’t I don’t know why. Perhaps, it is for security reasons. The thing is not a society. They are places where they now deceive people who go to seek help or lodge complaints with them instead of the law enforcement agents and courts. Let me re-emphasize, the shrine do not belong to the community, it is a home owned by particular individuals, that’s all. Chief T.A. Orji has never been there. I know the people that have been there. Again, Orji personally has not been there.

“Those accusing Chief T. A. Orji of belonging to the so-called Okija, they are trivialising issues. They are exploiting the ignorance of people about the antecedent of the place to achieve their selfish objectives. If they don’t want him to be there (office), let them tell him openly rather than saying that he belongs to a non-existent secret society or cult. I believe that if those making the allegations are investigated, it would be discovered that they themselves belong somewhere. What do they even mean by the word-society? There is the christian society, the moslem society, the Nigerian society, the American society, the Buddhist society, etc. The tribunal did not handle this area dispassionately as it were.
“In a nutshell, the shrine is not a cult or secret society. It is not even a society. It is a babalawo’s (native doctor’s) base, abode or office if you like and people go there for him to do one thing or the other for them.

They are witch-doctors, that’s all.
“I exposed their activities because a shrine is where someone will go and have salvation or help but they are using diabolical means to kill rich people and confisticate their property. I decided to put a stop to their evil activities by alerting the authorities about what they were doing. Hence, the police raided the place and the world saw them.

“We can see what happened to the multi-millionaire, Eze Ego and Nathaniel Anieme, a journalist at Anambra Broadcasting Service (ABS), among others, who they killed and confiscated their properties. So, that kind of rubbish needs to be eradicated in this 21st century. Nigeria is a civilised country with laws governing us. We have the police, courts, lawyers and other apparatuses of justice.
“Anyone who feels aggrieved should go and lodge complaints with the relevant authorities rather than playing into the hands of the evil men. If you go there, they will steal anything you have because they are hungry people.

“There is no positive side to what they do now. I think government should take over that parcel of land and build schools or other projects. That would end the matter once and for all because the men will now be compelled to do something meaningful with their lives.

“Finally, I would say that the election petition tribunal sitting in Umuahia was misled into giving the judgment nullifying the election of Chief Theodore Ahamefule Orji on the ground that he was alleged to be a member of a non-existent secret society or cult. The tribunal simply did not understand the issue hence it faltered in the judgment.”

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Fay(Katy, Texas, US)says...

Actually translates to bravehearted.