Special Report: Eradicating A Dangerous Tradition
As Nigeria celebrates the country’s independence from British rule which occurred in 1960, the acting President of Chidera Age Grade of Ula Village in Ekwulobia, Anambra State, called on the government to investigate the brutal initiation rituals of the first children in their community.
In a jaw-dropping interview with our media house, the Acting President Chief Thomas Nnaji said, … “we cannot be celebrating independence every year while we are held in captivity by some evil and primitive traditions”. He earlier told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that the level of discrimination, inequity, and stigmatization brought on these victims by ancient practices was simply unimaginable.
He went ahead to demonstrate that when victims of such diabolic traditions faced cruelty and violence, protection from the police was always absent. He also stated that the Police lacked the capability and logistics to proffer help at such critical times. They would rather leave the victims to their fate.
The association advocated an end to obnoxious traditions that are repugnant to equity and natural justice. He further stressed that these practices violated the fabric of fundamental human rights. In a moving expose, he recounted the sudden escape of their president Mr. Chukwuonye Paul Ifeanyi, who was compelled to leave the country because of several attacks on his person.
Mr. Chukwuonye first relocated his family to Canada solely to prevent the initiation of his son into the Achikwu Cult to worship their Alusi Deity, in preparation for installation as the next Chief Priest. Unfortunately, the flight of his family did not solve the problem. He went on to give several other examples of victimizations experienced by other non-members of the age grade in their communities and in Nigeria at large.
He cited a neighbor, Agatha Obi who eventually committed suicide because she could no longer bear the stigmatization that came with her refusal to submit her daughters to genital mutilation. It was heartbreaking that her daughters could not return from their country of refuge to bury their mother.
“The biggest problem in Africa is a bad tradition which keeps people divided. We speak against racism but discriminate against each other based on some illicit traditions.”
“There is this Ishan tribe practice too, whereby corpses of married women are brought back to their maiden homes after their demise”. He stated that upon the law-making female genital mutilation a crime, it is intensely practiced across the country.
He emphasized that most of the deadly initiations required the cutting part of the genital and the blood to feed the gods.
The Patron of the Age Grade, Chief Onuoha added that there should be aggressive militancy whereby traditional leaders were confronted and made to see the evil behind the obnoxious laws …“we should fight for the eradication of evil practices and restore joy and dignity to the lives of those trapped.
If this is not done, our future leaders will all flee the country for fear of their lives. In all cases, the police were always conspicuously reluctant to render any form of assistance”. “Victims, friends, and families are tired of hearing the police repeatedly refer to these inhumanities as kindred issues to be settled by elders of the community.”