From Paul Osuyi, Asaba
Worried by the resurgence of cult-related killings in Asaba, Delta State capital, natives of the town on Monday began a spiritual cleansing exercise.
The exercise, our correspondent learnt, which would last for seven days, started with a procession led simultaneously by the Chief Priests of the five quarters of Asaba at the respective domains.
It was gathered that the Chief Priests leading the Village Heads (Diokpa) in every quarter, embarked on the procession at the wee hours of Monday in red attires.
Our correspondent further learnt that the procession ended at the Ihu-Ani (community shrine) of every quarter, where other traditional rites including oath-taking were also performed.
The spiritual exercise, according to community sources, was directed by the Asagba of Asaba as a measure to end the worsening cult-related clashes leading to the gruesome killing of over six persons in the past two weeks.
A native of the Umuagu village of Asaba, Jude Ojiugo, confirmed that the early morning procession had the blessing of the Asagba.
‘The Diokpas (heads) of each quarter was directed to embark on procession, an indication that all is not well in the community, and to call on indigenes to denounce cultism.
‘All the members of the cult are supposed to take oath in Ihu-ani (front of the shrine) to denounce their membership. Each quarter performed their own in their respective Ihu-ani shrine.
‘Ours in Umuagu here, the heads embarked on the procession as directed the Asagba of Asaba. Those who refused to come out and renounce their membership of secret cult groups had curses placed on them,’ Ojiugo said.
According to Ojiugo, on the last day of the exercise, another rite would be performed at the shrine, adding that it would also afford those yet to renounce cultism the opportunity to do so.
Ojiugo said the popular Ogbogonogo market along Nnebisi Road would be shut down on the final of the spiritual cleansing.