Ozubulu massacre: Rights group condemns detention of 94-year-old chief priest

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Rights group, International Society for Civil Liberties and the Rule of Law (Intersociety) has waded in on the case of a 94-year old chief priest of Ndiekwulu deity, Anazo Ilomuanya, who was recently arrested and detained by the police in Anambra.
DAILY POST gathered that Ilomuanya was recently arrested alongside five others after he was approached to use the deity’s powers to invoke death on those responsible for the massacre of church worshipers at St Philip Catholic Church, Ozubulu last year.

A group of youths in Ozubulu, who were said to feel disenchanted with the police and the Anambra government over the handling of killing of their kinsmen by unknown gunmen in the church and other subsequent killings in the community, had met the the chief priest of Ndiekwulu deity with the hope of solving the violence in the community.

Intersociety, in a press statement released to our correspondent in Awka and signed by its chairman, Board of Trustees, called for the immediate release of the chief priest and others who are detained alongside him.

The group said the youths violated no known law by approaching the deity to settle what is perceived to be a drug war between sons of the community based in South Africa, who have been killing members of the opposite gangs and member of their family.

It added that the chief priest of the deity has the right to worship his deity, and that it fell under his fundamental human right of freedom of association and worship.

Part of the statement reads, “Intersociety is specifically calling on the Attorney General of Anambra State & Commissioner for Justice to as a matter of urgent public importance and inexcusability, file a motion for withdrawal and discontinuation of the said phantom charges of “trial by ordeal”.

“The six incarcerated innocent citizens especially the 94yrs old Chief Priest of Ndiekwulu Deity, Ozubulu, must be released unconditionally and discharged and acquitted.”

The group went further to say that the six incarcerated men, who are all indigenes of Ozubulu community, were being persecuted on the grounds of their faith particularly for exercising their rights to freedom of religion as traditionalists.

It said, “The youths and other indigenes of Ozubulu went to the chief priest over what they saw as diversionary, partisan and poor handling of the case by Police, government and the Catholic Church of the mass murder case which had in recent years taken lives of dozens of indigenes of the community.

“A decision was taken to consult the Community’s ancient god of justice called “Ndiekwulu Deity” to strike on mother earth her sacred and ancient staff or scepter of justice to spiritually visit her wrath on those behind the spate of killings in the Community.

“The moves by the youths and the traditionalists to resort to traditional justice did not go down well with the said cabal who visited State security and political apparatuses on the youths and the named traditionalists; accusing them of “trial by ordeal”.

“Intersociety hereby makes bold to say that the conduct of the youths and the traditionalists is not only lawful and constitutional but also a combination of exercise of right to freedom of worship and legitimate recourse to traditional method of conflict resolution.

“The incarcerated six citizens and other concerned youths and indigenes of Ozubulu Community deserve commendation and not persecution in the hands of the Government of Anambra State and the Police. They must be released immediately.”

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