Despite the invasion of Christianity in Nigeria, some traditions are still held sacrosanct in Idomaland, the second most popular ethnic group in Benue State.
The community has not totally thrown away the belief on deities which their forefathers cleaved to, not all traditions, however, are jettisoned, especial the firm belief in the Alekwu gods.
The people of Owukpa hold this gods at high esteem. Alekwu (believed to be spirits of the ancestors) is greatly feared in Idoma kingdom. It forces witches, ritualists, murderers, adulterous wives and men who pay for abortions to either die mysteriously or confess their evil. The rules are endless but the aim is simple: ‘live righteously.’
In distant time even before now, any married woman who commits adultery in Idoma land would face the music of the gods.
However, the supremacy of the Alekwu gods was put into serious doubt recently when a 25-year-old woman, Maria Agbo, shocked a Makurdi Customary Court when she admitted that she was heavily pregnant for ‘her secret lover’, not her husband.
According to the woman, she was constrained to do so because her husband, Joseph Agbo, could not put her in the family way after three years of marriage.
Proudly, Maria praised her secret lover simply identified as Enokela, for doing what her husband could not do for years. She described him as “the love of her life.”
Hear her: “For three years I was married to Joseph, he could not make me pregnant, I tried all available options but nothing seemed to change the situation.
“Since I love children, I tried my best and he knew that I tried everything within my powers but he was unable to make me enjoy motherhood.
“When I met Enokela, he made me a mother and he is the father of my unborn child,” she said.
The mother-to-be claimed that she was forced into the marriage against her wish by her parents because of the long-standing relationship that exists between the two families.
According to her, she left her husband in January before becoming pregnant for her newly found lovebird.
Earlier, Maria had dragged her husband to a Grade 1 Court in Ai-Odu Ukwo Owukpa where she prayed the honourable court to divorce her marriage owing to her husband’s inability to put her in the family way, which the court granted.
Not satisfied with the judgment, the visibly angry husband appealed against the judgment, stressing that the lower court got it wrong by granting her prayer.
Agbo also claimed that he was responsibly for the pregnancy contrary to her wife’s claim that he’s not man enough.
He maintained that the lower court also made a mistake in the application of Idoma Customary Law when it dissolved the marriage in spite of the evidence of Maria’s pregnancy.
He added that if Maria actually committed adultery as she claimed, Alekwu would’ve struck her dead by now.
After listening to both parties, the court adjourned the case to November 29 for final judgment on the matter.
Dailypost findings revealed that Agbo had every right to claim the pregnancy because they were still legally married before the lady became pregnant. According to James Ojobo, a traditional ruler in Owukpa “Is she trying to tell us that our gods are partial? Agbo was right in his appeal, a woman you paid for her bride price is pregnant while you’ve not divorced her, what do you expect. I don’t see any case here. If actually she committed adultery as she had said she wouldn’t have been alive by now.
Another family member who doesn’t want his name mentioned said: “I told them not to go to court, if actually the lady ‘threw her legs open’ the gods wont allow her to go scot-free.
I even told my brother to take her to Ipole Owukpa to take an oath but he wouldn’t listen to me.
As far as we are concerned, the baby inside her womb is our baby. our money is still on her and we are ready to take it to any length with the family.”
When reminded that the lower court had already crashed the marriage, the insider said: “Court was not there when we paid her bride price and it has no say in this matter. They are talking from academic perspective, but we can’t discard our gods, if she is sure of her self let her come and take Ekwu Anya (a popular god administered by the women folks.