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20110924

Okonko in the news

I have to say this here because I have no where else to, and Ọkọnkọ is linked to nsibiri anyway. Read here first: http://www.sunnewsonline.com/webpages/news/national/2011/sept/23/national-23-09-2011-001.html

Please be careful of how you read Nigerian papers.


Ọkọnkọ has recently entered news in Nigeria after the killing of a young man by an Ọkọnkọ member, a "cheif priest" of Ọkọnkọ from the village cluster of Umuokpara in Abia state. Some of you may not know this, but Ọkọnkọ has been part of my family for probably a few hundred years. The anglo-centric culture of modern Nigeria can be merciless to the original practices of some of our ancestors sometimes as the following news story demonstrates. The title of the news story on The Sun newspaper of Nigerias' website reads:

Bizarre! Chief priest sacrifices varsity student at cult’s altar


The actual story is that the "chief priest" committed a crime in the eyes of the Ọkọnkọ men and was asked to attend a meeting of some kind, I'm guessing that this was an initiation ceremony that takes place once in a while in Umuahia so there were some younger men there, this is a guess. Unfortunately, one of the boys fell asleep next to the 'unstable' "chief priest" and was fatally slashed on the face with a machete. The family of the young man are suspecting that it was a set-up by the Ọkọnkọ group to sacrifice the boy who was foreign to the village.

Okay.

So, nowhere in the actual news story does it say that the boy was taken to any sort of altar, or that the community are blaming Ọkọnkọ, or that this was a sacrifice? Yet the title suggests that this was a human sacrifice by a "cult", a title in Nigeria that supposed to place Ọkọnkọ with all the other ambiguous and misunderstood native societies and all the misattributed human sacrificing cases as well as Nigeria's (sometimes) occult university gangs. We don't have indication that Ọkọnkọ are known for sacrificing human beings, maybe this is because they don't, and just because a member lashed out on a unsuspecting victim doesn't mean that the whole society, or "cult", are human sacrificing demons. The youths of the community itself went on to burn the attackers house and nothing was done to the Ọkọnkọ meeting place, which is unusual as human sacrificing "cult" dens are always burnt down. Or maybe this wasn't the case because Ọkọnkọ is well established in Umuokpara, Umuahia and surround areas; maybe the community already knows what Ọkọnkọ stands for, and what it has stood for, and the fact that probably all their male ancestors before European rule were part of it, and also the fact that Ọkọnkọ is as legitimate as the Free masons in the West.



A lot of news stories coming out of Nigeria seem to lack any sort of valuable news worthy points and they hardly give the population any reliable accurate information that is unbiased and which enriches the knowledge of the population. All we get sometimes are news stories telling people what they want to hear, that a demonic cult in some village has sacrificed a young boy at an altar, without any respect to the innocent members of that society and ignoring the fact that these are respected elders who have families and lineages that know very well what their relative goes out to do at 2 am.

I have witnessed these 2 am Ọkọnkọ parades in my village, the membership of Ọkọnkọ is still very healthy and the communities they pass through seem to have no problem with them because they are from the same community. My request is that the Nigerian media should not try to throw mud at Ọkọnkọ or try and manipulate stories coming from unofficial sources to make headlines to sell stories. I would tolerate a decent headline and a mention of the families accusations, but to use the accusations as the title of the story itself is nasty.

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