Okumbeku Shrine in Ihima – I heard the story of Okumbeku shrine when I was in Junior School, in 2007. It’s yet another history as Okumbeku Shrine breathed its last breath on December 23, 2007. The crowd that gathered to witness the monumental destruction testified to the shock caused by the sight of the horrific charms. The gods, the talisman, the wrappings and other unidentifiable items found in the mess caught everyone in awe. It was an event one would hate to miss.
About 4pm, 22nd December 2007, some group set for the residence of the shrine custodian who died the day before. They arrived at his home in Ikuehi, Ihima. The house looked like every other house from the outside, but inside the house were rooms solely dedicated to the charms of Momoh Jimoh a.k.a Okumbeku Lagbaja of Ebiraland.
There he has his consultation office, a bedroom sized spaced stocked with assorted charms and horrific looking objects that can convulse a baby. The darkness of the room was borne out of dark paintings, painting done with black soaps, mixtures with perhaps animal and human bloods. Mix of red and white clothes were found littered everywhere across the room, charms dangling from the ceiling, talisman on the wall, wrappings of different kinds placed here and there and an upsetting stench.
The Destruction of Okumbeku Shrine in Ihima
Standing outside, away from the main house is the shrine. A small enclosure built with woods and zinc sheets, with a mini window and painted in white, the shrine hosted most of the sophisticated charms and undoubtedly the residence for the evil spirit that empower the charms. Just like the Aboh shrine similarly destroyed in 2006, the Okumbeku shrine is also believed to speak, but from two location; the shrine and the consulting room.
The late custodian, a young man in his late twenties deserved to live longer than a thousand years considering the weight of his magical powers. Different sizes of earthen ware pots, bottles containing strange looking contents with ink-printed labels, buried items, cash amount estimated over N2.5 Million were some of the items found around the small shrine.
As soon as the dismantling begun, the whole area stank. The Muslim brothers who conducted this incredible feat arrived earlier than Ebira Views Crew. They have prayed, recited the Rukyah (prayer for ostracizing Evil Spirits) and sprinkled the area with ZamZam water. According to report, members of the household could not sleep on the night of the demise of the custodian. Some of them had to run out of the compound when evil drum beats started sounding around the home with no drummer in sight. They later consulted the service of other priests who referred them to the Markaz Ahlul Sunnah Wal Jammah, famously notable for expertise and faith in such kind of operation.
A mini truck arrived and the loading began. The charms were carted into the waiting truck and this activity lasted till about 10pm before people left in a convoy to Okene. The following morning, a mammoth crowd had gathered around old Zango area of Idakoyivo, Okunchi waiting patiently for the arrival of the Amir of the Jamma’ah, Mall Mustapha Idris. EbiraView Team arrived with the Amir amidst ovation of ‘it’s time’ as people became anxious of the end of the chilling sight before them. The Amir began his admonition stressing again the need to dissociate oneself from the worship of Idols for the worship of one and True God, Allah. He spoke loudly to the hearing of the crowd cautioning against patronage of such evil practices. He reminded the audience of the weakness of magical powers which inspired of its weight couldn’t lengthen the life of its custodian, nor saved him from such early death.
According to him, had the objective of acquiring such powers was to acquire wealth, Okumbeku was wealthy but never lived to enjoy his evil-gotten affluence. He described the powers as a deception of the Evil Spirits who serve their clients or hosts only for sometime. Okumbeku was one of such clients; the Evil Spirits escorted him all through but left him in the middle of his journey, he said.
As the crowd shook their heads in obeisance, the Amir became even more furious by challenging anyone who would claim no association with such powers and idols, all was silent. However, he advised others with similar powers to expose them for destruction before it was too late. The charms were later set ablaze, and the brothers headed for Ihima for the final destruction of the base. It soon became news around the town and across Ebiraland that yet another shrine has been defeated. It is noteworthy that a human skull was dug out of the shrine, too.