A traditional leader in Ogba land, Ogba-Egbema-Ndoni Local Government Area of Rivers State, Bright Abali has called for the abolishment of ‘juju’ invocation as a way of seeking justice in Ogba land, adding that about 20 to 22 per cent of deaths recorded annually are as a result of people seeking justice from the gods of the land.
Abali, who is also a facilitator of Eminent Rivers Ministers Network, ONELGA chapter and Rivers State Peace Advocates opined that in this 21st century, people should seek justice in court, police station, palace of traditional rulers, rather than the traditional invocation of ‘juju’.
He believed that there was need to educate natives of Ogbaland and her communities on the need to adopt the conventional way of seeking justice, and eschew the age long believe system of invoking their deity.
Speaking with TNN, the traditional leader said “the issue about the abolishment of the juju in our kingdom is something that poses a great concern because it has become part of us, it’s like our culture, an Ogba man believes traditionally that that is the way to seek for justice, they will go and invoke juju, call on the deity to take the life of the next party, or the other party in any slight provocation.
“Recently, research done by Ogba project, my NGO, we discovered that 20 to 22 per cent of deaths annually are caused by this invocation of juju that we originally call ‘Erisi or Utu’ in the Egi side of Ogba. So the thing has given us concern in the 21st century.
“So as a peace advocate, I feel I should take it like a course for advocacy to make our people have a re-orientation in the 21st century, because we cannot watch 22 per cent of lives, that means, in every year if we lose 100 persons, 20 to 22 must have gone as a result of maybe their relative and business partner in the times of disagreement, when they get disappointed or they do not agree in their terms of business they will run to that place, they find it difficult to face the conventional way of seeking justice, funny enough it is also affecting the traditional judgment system where we originally go to seek justice from the palace between two persons, just like what happened in the bible, the two women, the child and King Solomon, it has being a tradition where people go to the palace to seek justice but now they prefer this silent killer as a way of seeking justice.”
When asked if this abolishment wasn’t picking a fight with the gods, Abali said, “no, no, no, it’s not, many people because of their shallow mindedness may begin to say ah ah! this course, is like you are trying to make the gods not to do what they ought to do, the truth about it is that in civilization, there was a time our people were using plant to cover their private part but because civilization came, they went for fabric, textile, so, that was the time when there was no court, no police, now we have all these things, the gods sometimes do not even want them to come and complain to him.”
Reacting to how he intends to achieve the abolishment plan, he said, “in a bid to abolish it, I have initiated an advocacy programme to re-orientate our people to shun their preferred invocation in this 21st century and choose summon system, police and court suit instead of what we are doing already.
“From tomorrow we are going to have interface with all the traditional rulers, beginning from the Ogba’s palace but he has rescheduled his own for first of September, so we are going to take another palace; the Eze Somini palace, we are going to appeal to him to have a meeting with the ten communities of Somini, where he will tell them that there is a group calling for us to have a change of life because of the 21st century, and the essence of this is that 22 per cent of people die annually as a result of invocations, can there be other possible means to tell our people so that our palaces should be viable, because if they don’t go to invoke, they will come to the palace and it’s a way to settle things amicably.”