Female circumcision forces ex-banker into exile

Female circumcision forces ex-banker into exile

Monday, May 7, 2018 7:36 am

A shrine in Igboland, South East Nigeria

File: A shrine in south east Nigeria

This is apparently not the best of times for Ebere Duru, a 44 year old former banker and his family. A native of Umugboga Amike, Orlu local government area of Imo State. Ebere, with his three children and wife have been chased out of the country by cultural and traditional practices that promote circumcision, idolatry and cultism. His fate and that of his family currently hang in the balance as they struggle for asylum in Canada.

His ordeal started in September 2017 when he was ordered by the chief priest of Mgbede, a fertility and prosperity river deity worshiped and adored by the people of Amike in Orlu LGA of Imo State to produce his only newly born daughter to be installed as the new princess of Mgbede following the death of the former princess for peace to reign in the land. Ebere Duru’s late grandfather,Akpebi Duruiheoma was an Ozo title holder which qualifies any of his female grandchildren to be chosen as the princess of Mgbede female deity.

This demand was shocking and scary to Ebere as all the practices of Mgbede are at variance with his religious practices; a devout Christian and a communicant in the Anglican church. He added that there is an implication: His daughter and his wife(since the baby cannot communicate for now) will be subjected to forced circumcision and initiation into occultic practices, which, according to him, “include idolatry and confession of gods other than the Almighty God.”

This situation became threatening to the ex banker who therefore took to his heels with the members of his family. He moved from Lagos to Port Harcourt then to Abeokuta and from Abeokuta back to Lagos. Ebere and his family ran from pillar to post and was also chased around by the agents of this river deity with a stern warning to immediately come back and release his daughter for initiation.

Also, from Orlu divisional police station to 112, Festac town divisional police headquarters, Ebere Duru and his family could not get the desired protection sought after from the police force. Their lives were constantly harassed and threatened by the village guards. They said they “were terrified and spiritually hounded by Mgbede the river deity.”

This continued till March 2018 when fleeing the country became the only option to save his life and that of his family. Now in the protective custody and watchful eyes of the Canadian immigration department ,the question however remains, is Canada safe enough to prevent Ebere and his family from this cultural and traditional spiritually inclined attack of this deity Mgbede? It is generally believed that the eyes of the gods see far above the normal eyes. But Ebere Duru and his family strongly believe that the Canadian government will provide them succour and adequate protection they seek.

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