Idemili Youths Protest Against Closure And Imposition Of Taxes On Pentecostal Churches By Monarch

From Chuks Collins, Awka

Barely a fortnight after the Elders and people of Ojoto community, headquarter of Idemili South Council of Anambra state stormed Gov Willie Obiano’s office in Awka demanding official investigation of their Igwe Gerald Mbamalu, over acts they said were unbecoming of a royal father. The youths of the community Thursday, Nov 26,2020 joined their voice in the call.

The angry-looking youths led by Nwajimgbede Chukwuka took over the villages bearing placards with disturbing inscriptions that enumerated their apparent grievances. Some placards said, “we denounce abomination(alu) in Ojoto”, “ikpucha alu (cleansing/purification) must be done at once”, “ichi Eze (crowning/enthronement) of Igwe Ojoto must follow tradition”. Others stated, Mbamalu, Ojoto is not a conquered territory”, ANSG please restore peace and liberty in Ojoto”, “No more closure of churches again in Ojoto by Mbamalu”, and “desecration of church alters, programmes/activities must stop”, amongst others.

The peaceful demonstration which coincided with the courtesy visit of Otu Omenana, Ojoto Akanasato to the community’s President General, Ichie Donatus Anozie was used to distribute some leaflets detailing eleven(11) point issues they considered key to way forward in the community. They cautioned that anarchy might be looming if these issues were neglected further.

Amongst other issues, they denounced abomination(alu) and “Iri Ogholi” in Ojoto. “Ikpucha alu” (cleansing/purification) must be done at once for all abominable acts against the customs, tradition and culture of the community

They also called for “ichi Eze” (crowning/enthronement) of Igwe Ojoto must follow the laid down principles, tradition and norms of the community. The concerned youths called for Ojoto leadership organize without delay a Peace Summit on way forward. They insisted that desecration of Ojoto values, culture and tradition in the community must stop.

According to the youths, “the closure and imposing of levies on Pentecostal churches by Igwe Gerald Mbamalu must stop. While all such churches should be opened at once. The desecration of church alters, programmes/activities must stop.

All illegal and forceful lands stripping/sales owned by the poor, widows, and the vulnerable must stopped, investigated and restituted immediately, while the illegitimate Taskforces/levies be disbanded immediately.

Addressing journalists shortly after a meeting with the representatives of the community’s town Union led by Ichie Anozie, the Otu Omenana leader -Chief Anthony Uzokwe called for prayers from all quarters for Ojoto to rise again from the present ashes of shame. He described their meeting as fruitful and heartwarming, as they were assured that all their initial letters that were ignored would now be considered alongside their submission in today’s meeting.

Uzokwe expressed worries that before now all letters to Anozie’s executive as well as Mbamalu were ignored but that they have been assured they would be addressed adequately. He called on Mbamalu to respect the spiritual eye and guide of his members, and should always seek their guide on issues of tradition, culture and values in Ojoto always.

Anozie described the meeting as a step in the right direction meant to move the community forward, which he admitted was a collective responsibility. That all groups and stakeholders would henceforth be carried along.

The Assistant Secretary of the town Union, who incidentally is the spokesman to Igwe Mbamalu, Chief Romeo Anyisia commended the Otu Omenana for the views. He pointed out that no leader would do well without listening to plural views. He assured that the monarch would surely positively consider all the issues raised by Uzokwe and his members.

Chief Ifeanyichukwu Anadi, Ikenga of Ojoto insisted that views of key segments of the community like the Otu Omenana must matter on all issues, for the spiritual benefit of the citizens.

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