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Vanguard Newspaper 13 February 2018

C M Y 26 — Niger-Delta

C M Y 26 — Niger-Delta Voice, TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 13, 2018 VOL. 1: NO. 167 LIFESTYLE EXTRA By Godwin Oghre SAPELE- AT numerous nations the world over, land-dwelling snail, a specie of terrestrial gastropod mollusks, is munched as food by humans, but at Ikeresan and many other communities in Okpe kingdom, Delta State, snail is rather bizarrely a deity and it is a taboo to eat it. What happened day I mistakenly ate snail- Dr Ekariko, historian A Sapele-Okpe historian, Dr. Vincent Ekariko, who confirmed the traditional belief to NDV, said that any male native, who dares to eat snail faces immediate punishment, ranging from continuous salivation, dumbness and death from the god, called Egban. “This has been the tradition of the people from the beginning; there are people who constitute a cult that serve the deity till date. They assuage the wrath of the deity to any offender such that he does not suffer the maximum consequence of death if he mistakenly eats snail,” he explained. Dr Ekariko, a Nigerian civil war veteran disclosed: “I was a victim; towards the end of the civil war in 1970, I went to visit a friend of mine in Benin. He cooked rice with it (snail). I did not know it was snail until I bit it in my mouth. I quickly vomited everything I ate; I was vomiting and could TUESDAY, , FEBRUARY 13, 2018 18 OKPE: Delta kingdom where snail is a god, shields devotees from gunshots no longer talk.” How I was healed “So I washed my mouth with ash and immediately rode on my Vespa motor cycle back home to Sapele. I rode straight to the priest of the deity, who carried out the rites on me and also washed my mouth with ash and I was cured,” he said. Bullets flew around me, none touched me Asked if the deity provides protection for its adherents, he said, “Yes, once a son of the land (Okpe) is initiated, no DELTA…THE BIG HEART OF THE NATION bullet penetrates him. He becomes invulnerable to human physical or even spiritual attack. That was what helped me during the civil war on each occasion that I came face to face with death.” His words: “On a particular occasion during one of my expedition to get food, I came face to face with a Biafra soldier, who aimed at me when my gun was casually on my shoulders. He already aimed at me. He was looking at me and I was just helplessly looking at him. It then occurred to me that I should run, so I started running and he started firing at me.” “ I could see his bullets flying beside and above me, but none hit me. It was the deity that diverted the bullets. That was how I escaped and joined my Nigerian soldier-colleagues and we started firing back,” he revealed. Crooks once abused powers but now checkmated Dr. Ekariko maintained: ”Any son of the soil initiated into Egban is invincible to bullets. These days, however, when the cult found out that some of those initiated were using the power to commit crimes, they stopped it.” “They now make a new member to swear at initiation that the power will not work if he uses it to commit crime and it is working that way today. Criminals do not go there because it will disappoint them. However, Christianity has now taken over our societies,” he said. Sacrosanct rules Asked if adherents of the snail deity wear anything on their bodies from the god for protection and if there were sacred rules by the cult, he said: “The rope called “egban” on which the charm is tied is what an adherent usually ties around his waist.” “It (eghan) is never kept inside the house except the male adherent lives alone. It is never taken into a house where a woman that is still menstruating lives in. It is kept outside, in the backyard. “Peradventure, if a woman that is menstruating enters a house where the egban is kept, her menstrual flow will not stop until the god is appeased and the rites performed on her by the priest. The potency of this deity does not, however, work for a criminal. That is the position currently,” he added. Termites invade C’River school, damage building, community cries out to Gov Ayade •Dilapidated building invaded by termites By Ike Uchechukwu AGOI IBAMI- RESIDENTS of Agoi- Ibami community, Yakurr Local Government Area, Cross River State, have raised the alarm that termites have overrun the Apostolic Primary School in the community, causing the roof and the mud structure to crumble. They urged the state governor, Prof Ben Ayade, to as a matter of urgency, include the school in the g o v e r n m e n t ’ s Comprehensive School Renovation and Intervention Programme, as the current state of its infrastructure was poor and no new structure has been added since its establishment decades ago. Pupils learn under leaking roof Findings by NDV showed that neither the pupils nor the teachers could learn and teach in a conducive environment, as the roof of their classrooms were leaking and the structure collapsing as a result of the attack by termites and other weather conditions. A community leader, Chief Mathias Ibor, called on the Ministry of Education, Calabar, and other relevant government agencies to take urgent steps to ameliorate the suffering of the teachers and pupils of the school by giving them a good structure. “A lot of prominent people in the area went to that school and it is very sad to see the deplorable state and shape the place has taken. We need help from government and we need it now, you can imagine when children go to school in a classroom made with mud, it is an eyesore,” he bemoaned. PTA monetarily down – Ayitu Secretary, Parents Teachers Association, PTA, of the school, Hon Etim Arong Ayitu, who also decried the deplorable state of the school, asserted: “Our children and their teachers suffocate daily in this classrooms because as you have noticed the place is no longer conducive. We have done the little we can, but we are financially handicapped.” “We are calling on the state government to help us by erecting good structures so that our children and their teachers can have a good place to teach and learn respectively. The school lacks Continues on pg 27

C M Y K Niger-Delta Voice, TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 13, 2018 — 27 UNPROVEN SETTLEMENT: Physically-challenged attack leaders in A’Ibom *Govt terminated our scholarship scheme, impress - APLWD members cry out *We didn’t collect money from anybody – APLWD leader By Chioma Onuegbu EKET- A supposed abandonment of physically – challenged persons by the Akwa Ibom State Government, over the years, has occasioned a no love lost relationship between Akwa Ibom Persons Living with Disabilities, APLWD, and their leaders, with irate members attacking their leaders for allegedly doing a deal with government to stifle their demands. NDV learned that the state government abruptly terminated scholarship programme and impress for the disabled and efforts by APLWD leaders to get the ears of the state governor, Emmanuel Udom, to redress the matter, have yielded no result, while irate members were venting their displeasure on them. Members, who spoke to our reporter, lamented their noninclusion and recognition in the scheme of things in the state, notwithstanding their participation in every electoral process, support and loyalty to the government in power. Attack A leader of the association, who confirmed the termination of the scholarship scheme and impress for the disabled by the state government, stated: “The last time the scholarship was paid was in 2012. The impress was stopped since 2015.So many persons with disabilities have withdrawn from school.” “Our members are aggrieved; in fact, some members are even attacking us that we collected money from government, which is why we do not speak out,” he said. His words: “This government has so many Personal Assistants, PAs, and Special Advisers, SAs. They even appoint SA to the Governor for Traders and all that, but we endorsed Governor Emmanuel Udom before 2015 at the Summit Complex Udoumana Avenue, yet the governor did not deem it fit to appoint any of us as •Persons living with disability SA on Disability Matters, not even a Personal Assistant .So we want the governor to look into our plight.” We never gave in – Leader Another leader, who also preferred anonymity, added: “The truth is that we did not Termites invade C’River school, damage building, community cries out to Gov Ayade Continues from pg 26 library, borehole and other instructional materials. When these things are provided, it would add a lot of value because the children in question need to be groomed to become leaders of tomorrow,” he said. W h y structure dilapidated – Head teacher H e a d teacher of the school, M r s . Victoria Ugbor, who spoke to our reporter at the palace of the village head of Obanghakpi W a r d , compromise with government and we want the government to act quickly on our demands to restore the scholarship scheme and impress.” “Is it the government that refused to see us that bribed us not to speak out, you can Chief Etim Arikpo, appealed to the state government to come to their aid by renovating the school. Her words: “If the school is renovated by the state government, it will help in improving the quality of teaching and learning because P-A-N-O-R-A-M-A see our dilemma.” he added. According to him, “Though it was not a physical attack, the student’s body had wanted to embark on a protest on two different occasions over the scholarship that was stopped and the leaders said it will create a more conducive environment for both the teachers and the pupils. “The structure got so bad over time because it is old, and it has been attacked by termites resulting to leaking roofs and broken doors and the floor is also in a very bad state, we are crying out to governor Ben Ayade to help us, we need to be included in no because government will think that somebody sponsored them to do that. Some members misinterpreted it that they (leaders) have been compromised.” Many have withdrawn from schools – Inyang A member of APLWD, who simply identified himself as Inyang, wondered why past and current governments always neglect them when it comes to appointments and empowerments, adding that many of them were surviving by the mercy of God. Inyang especially expressed concern that even some of them, who got admission recently into the University had to withdraw because of lack of sponsors, as the state government stopped the scholarship programme used to assist them in higher academic pursuit. “There used to be a scholarship scheme that was a lifeline for our members. And many of us benefitted from the scheme, which is only for higher education. the comprehensive renovation Govt‘ll tackle problem - SUBEB Chair Contacted, the Executive Chairman of SUBEB, Dr Stephen Odey, assured the people of Agoi-Ibami that the school would be taken care of under the intervention programme, but due process has to be followed. He appealed for patience, saying government would not rest on its oars until the school was renovated. Spectacle, as King Ayemi-Botu marks 70th birthday/24th coronation anniversary THE TEAM Emma Amaize, Editor Samuel Oyadongha, Yenagoa Simon Ebegbulem, Benin City Jimitota Onoyume, Warri Gabriel Enogholase,Benin City Festus Ahon. Asaba Egufe Yafugborhi. Port Harcourt Emmanuel Una. Calabar Akpokona Omafuaire, Warri Godwin Oghre, Sapele Chioma Onuegbu, Uyo Ike Uche, Calabar Davies Iheamnachor, Port Harcourt Emem Idio, Yenagoa Brisibe Perez, Ughelli Theresa Ugbobu, Agbor Ochuko Akuopha, Oleh Emmanuel Ayungbe, Uyo Nath Onajoke, Asaba Chijioke Nwankpa, Port Harcourt HM, Dr. Charles Ayemi-Botu, paramount ruler of King Ayemi-Botu presenting 3,000 notebooks to Seimbiri kingdom, Delta state, confers chieftaincy title principals and headmasters of Secondary schools in on Chief Sir Paul Evwierhoma at the occasion Seimbiri Kingdom. His Eminence, Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor, celebrant and Ogulagha monarch, HM, Capt. Elder Timiyan and HM, Ovie of Ughelli kingdom cutting the cake. King Ayemi-Botu flanked by his wife, Queen Mary Ayemi-Botu, and Catholic Bishop, Hyagenth Egbebo, chairman of the occasion.