An altercation has ensued between members of the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria, PFN, and Umuoji community in Idemili North Local Government Area of Anambra State over the killing of a snake in the community by the Overseer of the Mercy Throne Assembly, Umuoji, Rev Jude Chubueze.
The community believes Chibueze had desecrated the land by killing the snake, as snake killing in the area is a taboo, and they had gone ahead to seal his church with palm fronds. The matter has been taken to the Anambra State Police command which is trying to mediate between the two parties to avoid a breakdown of law and order, and assure a peaceful resolution to it. Reacting on the issue, members of PFN under the aegis of Umuoji Gospel Ministries Fellowship led by Pastor Celestine Ekpunobi, yesterday, described the tradition that forbids the killing of snake as barbaric, adding that such law should only concern the pagans.
Rev Chibueze said a snake stormed his house at night when members of his family were already sleeping. He said he heard his children screaming and rushed there to find a snake where his children had been sleeping. “When I got to their room, I saw a big snake lying with them and I had to kill it and threw it into the nearby bush. The following day, some community members marched to my house and accused me of killing their god. They beat me up mercilessly.
“They wrote a list of items amounting to N54,890 which they said I should buy to appease their god. Being a Christian, I told them that it is against my faith and more over, I killed a snake and not a human being.” One of the community leaders, Chief Paul Edekobi said, instead of the pastor doing what he earlier agreed to do with the community by providing the items, he dragged them to Ogidi Police Station where six of the community leaders were arrested. The Chief threatened that what he did was capable of wiping out his entire family if sacrifices were not made to appease the gods.
“We do not want to destroy his property and that is why we used the palm fronts to tie round the church to stop him from worshipping there for now,” Edekobi said.
But the pastor said: “What they are talking about is not tradition; they see the killing of a snake as a taboo in their world of idol worshipping and not same in Christian faith “If they do not desist from this act, our next port of call will be the court for the enforcement of our fundamental human rights.”