• Scared? OSINBAJO pledges loyalty to BUHARI before Service chiefs

    01/Mar/2017 // 928 Viewers

     

    The Nigeria military has pledged “total commitment and loyalty” to President Muhammadu Buhari.

    Buhari has been in the United Kingdom on extended medical vacation since January 19.

    Briefing Acting President Yemi Osinbajo at the presidential villa on Wednesday, Mansur Dan-Ali, minister of defence, who led the service chiefs to the meeting, said the military was totally committed and loyal to the president.

    He said more progress had been made in the war against insurgency in the north-east.

    Dan-Ali commended the government for adequately funding the military, which he said has helped it in the conduct of its operations.

    “Let me start by expressing our appreciation to the current administration for their relentless support and continuous funding of the armed forces in the conduct of its operations,” he said.

    “This has no doubt impacted positively on the capacity of our armed forces and troops in fighting the Boko Haram terrorists in the north-east and other security threats across the country.

    “On behalf of the armed forces and other security agencies, we pledge our total commitment and loyalty to the president and commander-in-chief of the armed forces of Nigeria.

    “Our troops in conjunction with the vigilante groups successfully conducted clearance operations in villages and Boko Haram camps which led to the recovery of weapons and communication equipment as well as apprehension of many suspects.

    “This is being supported by continuous aerial surveillance by the Nigeria air force so as to ensure that terrorists do not regroup.

    “In addition, several high profile Boko Haram commanders were arrested and over 20,000 persons mostly women and children held hostage by the terrorists were rescued.

    “Also, the armed forces are currently providing medical support and basic amenities such as food, clothing, and water supply to most IDP camps in the north-east.

    “The Nigeria army small arms competition will be conducted by seventh division at Sambisa forest to consolidate the gains achieved so far and further sharpen the skills of our troops.”

    Dan-Ali also informed Osinbajo that the military had procured  more equipment that would aid it in the fight against insurgency.

    Those present at the meeting were Babagana Monguno, national security adviser; Gabriel Olonisakin, chief of defence staff; Tukur Buratai, chief of army staff; Abubakar Sadique, chief of air staff; Ibas Ibok,  chief of naval staff; Lawal Daura, director-general of the Department of State Services (DSS), and Ibrahim Idris, inspector-general of police


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  • Tears, blood and sorrow as tragedy hits IMO, 18 reportedly killed in motoring accident

    01/Mar/2017 // 13746 Viewers

     

    PARIS, MARCH 1, 2017: (DGW) A fatal motoring accident reportedly killed no fewer than 18 seated passengers on a Hummer mini-bus along Owerri-Onitsha expressway on Monday.

    The accident obvious blamed on the truck driver have it that the heavy duty truck made its way in a futile attempt to overtake the Hummer mini-bus near Okpokija Junction in Irete community where it occurred and had all the 17 passengers and the driver bringing the number to 18 killed on the spot.

    Eyewitness' account by a certain MC T-Boy have it that “The oncoming heavy duty truck conveying empty containers collided with the hummer bus conveying 18 passengers when it tried to overtake it on the expressway.

    “The eighteen passengers on board, plus the driver and the conductor died on the spot as the truck folded the bus.”

    Confirming the harrowing incident to our reporter in Owerri, the Imo State capital, police spokesperson DSP Francis Enwerem cautioned motorists to always drive with care and observe all traffic signs to prevent such occurrence in future.


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  • Emir of Kano, Muhammadu Sanusi, receives more knocks on proposed family policy, urged to consult Islamic scholars in future

    01/Mar/2017 // 765 Viewers

     


    The Jama'atu Izalatil Bid'a Wa'ikamatis Sunnah (JIBWIS), has kicked against the family policy which was proposed by the Emir of Kano, Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi that poor men won't be allow to marry more than one wife.
     
    The group stated its stance on Tuesday through its National Chairman Ulama Council Sheikh Sani Yahaya Jingir while speaking with newsmen in Jos.
     
    According to Jingir, Islam has spelt out in the Holy Qur'an that a man could marry one to four wives if he wishes so, adding that the proposed law would deny men their right to do so.
     
    Sheikh Jingir called on the Emir to engage in massive and wide consultation with other Islamic scholars in order to proffer better solutions to the problems and challenges bedevilling marriage in northern Nigeria.
     
    Jingir further argued that with the rate of divorced women and widows who have lost their husbands to insurgency, it would be inappropriate for the law to be implemented at this moment, saying that the said women would be left to face the harsh reality of life without support.
     
    Sheikh Jingir however urged married men to discharge their responsibilities according to Islamic law, warning them that everyone would account for their deeds in the hereafter.


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  • No Nigerian killed in renewed xenophobic attacks in South Africa - Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Khadijah Abba Ibrahim, tells Nigerian Senate

    01/Mar/2017 // 717 Viewers

     

    No Nigerian dies in the renewed xenophobic attacks in South Africa, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Mrs Khadijah Abba Ibrahim, told the Senate yesterday.

    The minister based her statement on the information from the Nigerian High Commission in South Africa.

    The Senate and the House of Representatives also yesterday decided to take the case to the South African parliament. They are to send delegations to table the matter before their counterparts.

    The minister said nobody was convicted as a result of previous attacks and no compensation was paid by the South African government.

    The Chairman of the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee, Senator Monsurat Sunmonu, told the minister that Nigerians were interested in what the government was doing to protect them in South Africa.

    “We want to hear from the ministry that the Acting High Commissioner has actually invited Nigerians to talk to them to give them solace because tomorrow, nobody knows what is going to happen again.

    “We are only telling them (Nigerians), to please hide to give a low profile. That means we have told them not to engage in their businesses again that they should be in hiding which is not good for Nigerians.

    “To the committee we are not happy, we are highly disappointed and what we would expect is that your delegations, we have the mandate of the two Houses for us to go to South Africa. We will all go together see them and look at the memoranda of understanding or bilateral of what you are signing.

    “It has to be give and take. If it is necessary Nigeria will not hesitate to put sanctions on South Africa.

    After about one hour of deliberation, the Senate yesterday resolved to dispatch a “powerful” parliamentary delegation to South Africa to express the displeasure of the Nigerian parliament over the attacks.
    The lawmakers however turned down the prayer for the Nigerian Government to reconsider its diplomatic ties with South African.

    Senator Rose Oko Cross River North) and three others presented a motion on “Resurgence of xenophobic attacks and extra-judicial killings of Nigerians in South Africa.”

    The Oko specifically asked the Senate to ask the Federal Government to reconsider Nigeria’s diplomatic ties with South Africa if the ugly incidents of the attacks of Nigerians do not stop.

    The prayer was rejected as some of the Senators contended that the ripple effect of such action would be overwhelming.

    Senate President, Abubakaer Bukola Saraki, noted that the government could no longer fold its hands and allow its citizens to be attacked and killed.

    Saraki said that henceforth, Nigerian ambassadors in other country’s would be given specific assignments to defend the dignity and rights of Nigerians living abroad.

    The Senate President said that the Senate would work to ensure that funding for foreign missions are increased.

    The House of Representatives yesterday directed its Leader Femi Gbajabiamila to lead a delegation to the South Africa parliament .

    A statement by Gbajabiamila’s media aide, , Olanrewaju Smart, said: ” the House Leader will be joined by the Chairman House Committee on Foreign Affairs, Nnena Okeje (PDP, Abia); Sadiq Ibrahim (APC, Adamawa); Henry Nwawuba (PDP, Imo); Nasiru Zango Daura (APC, Katsina) and Shehu Aliyu Musa (APC, Bauchi) as members of the delegation.

    “The House resolved that the delegation of legislators and ministry of foreign affairs officials engage the parliament of South Africa and Nigerians in South Africa on the xenophobic attacks with a few to stop the attacks and any further occurrence in future”.


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  • JUST IN: IGBO traders shut LADIPO MARKET for few hours in honour of Mr ANENE UTAZI killed last year in Lagos

    01/Mar/2017 // 11758 Viewers

     

    Traders at the Ladipo auto market in Mushin, Lagos, last Saturday shut the market for four hours to honour their late colleague, Mr. Anene Utazi, who was killed by hoodlums last year.

    A memorial service held from 8am till noon after which the traders marched round the area, starting from the market through Ladipo junction and back to Toyota bus stop, on the Apapa-Oshodi Expressway, before returning to the market through Aswani.

    The traders were led by the market’s President Kinsgley Ogunor and other officials. They carried candles and placards with inscriptions as: “We don’t need miscreants in Ladipo market”; “Anene Utazi: Let justice be done”.

    Ogunor said: “Today, we are remembering Anene Utazi whose life was cut short by hoodlums. He laid down his life so we can have peace. We are honouring him and if we shut down Ladipo market for him, it is not too much.

    “Though he is no more, I believe his spirit is with us for as long as we remember him.”

    Ogunor thanked the Lagos State Police Commissioner Fatai Owoseni, his Justice counterpart and the director of Public Prosecutions for standing by the association.

    The president, who said peace had returned to the market, warned cultists to steer clear of the market. “Retrace your steps; Ladipo market will smoke you out. What we do here is business; we need peace.
    “If the environment does not have peace, how can we do business?”

    According to him, the incessant crises does not speak well of the market and that was why they wanted the market rebranded. He admonished members to imbibe the spirit of tolerance.


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  • Breaking News: Nigerian Police storm new Peace Corps Office, takes National Commandant

    01/Mar/2017 // 2030 Viewers

     

    The ongoing onslaught of the Nigerian Police against the Peace Corps of Nigeria, took a dramatic step on Tuesday, when the Officers of the Police invaded the new National Headquarters of the Corps, taking into custody, the National Commandant, Amb. Dickson Akoh.

    The youth based organisation whose Bill was recently passed by tye National Assembly had recently come under serious attack by the Police, which had kicked against the establishment of the Corps, during the public hearing at the National Assembly.

    It could be recalled that the Nigerian Police, shut down the training orientation camp in Kwara and Abuja, a week ago, thereby, forcing cadet officers to vacate the camps.
     
    Meanwhile, the Nigerian Police were seen on Tuesday, at the official opening ceremony of the National Headquarters of the Corps, opposite Jabi Lake, Abuja, with the Nigerian Customs Service and other paramilitary and security agencies.

    The event was also attended by the Minister of Sports and Youths Development,  members of the National Assembly, Traditional Rulers, Religious bodies and youth organisations.
     
    The report reaching us, however, said, the Police in a dramatic way, invaded the premises around 11.30pm on Tuesday, when the event for the official opening of the office had rounded up and the National Commandant was taking his leave.

    “We don’t know where they have taken him to”, a faint voice from Corps called our Correspondent.

    Investigations, however, revealed that Dickson Akoh was held by the FCT Command of the Nigerian Police.

    As of the time of filing this report, the reason for the arrest was unknown.


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  • IMO Senator Chief HOPE UZODINMA reminds IGBOS, says 'We're suffering marginalization for not supporting BUHARI & APC

    01/Mar/2017 // 3499 Viewers

     

    PARIS, MARCH 1, 2017: (DGW)CHIEF  Hope Uzodinma representing Imo West Senatorial district has disclosed why the south-east is being marginalised.

    The Senator said the Igbo people of Nigeria are suffering marginalisation today for not supporting Buhari and the ruling All Progressives' Congress.

    He said their support for the Peoples' Democratic Party is largely responsible for the marginalisation of the Igbos on the scheme of things in Nigeria.

    However, Senator Uzodinma observed that the entire capital allocation to the South East in this year’s budget was less than three per cent.

    According to the Senator, “People of South East belong to PDP and that is why we are marginalised. What we need is to rebuild PDP so that PDP can once again control the Federal Government.”

    Reacting to his rumoured governorship ambition, Senator Uzodinma denied but called for unity among PDP members to rebuild the party.


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  • Female trafficking ring, families, taking girls to Italy, rest of the world risk 14 yrs in jail as Supreme Court affirms conviction of human trafficker MARTINA OPERA

    01/Mar/2017 // 1090 Viewers

     

    PARIS, MARCH 1, 2017: (DGW) THE Supreme Court of Nigeria has reportedly affirmed the conviction of a human trafficker Martina Opera who has been sentenced to 14 years imprisonment for the same offence thus sending a strong warning to other female trafficking rings in the country, The Sun reports.

    Martina's journey to prison, according to reports, began in 2008 when she was arrested by operatives of  National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) and charged to court on a nine-count bordering procurement and movement from place to place of three girls;  using and offering girls for prostitution in the country.

    The Sun further reports that she was also charged for deceitful inducement of girls to go from Calabar to Sagamu and confinement and detention of girls for prostitution.

    The said offences according to prosecution are contrary to sections 15(a) and section 19(a,b, and c) of the Trafficking in Persons (Prohibition) Law Enforcement and Administration Act 2003 (as amended in 2005).

    Justice R. N. Ofili Ajumogobia of the Abeokuta division of a Federal High Court had on  April 19, 2012,  found her guilty of the charges and sentenced her to 14 years imprisonment with hard labour.

    Not satisfied with the judgment, Opara approached the Court of Appeal, Ibadan Division which in 2014 in a unanimous decision dismissed the appeal for lacking merit.

    Still not satisfied with the Appeal Court judgment, she went further to the Supreme Court.

    In its unanimous judgment delivered by Justice Mary Odili, the Supreme Court dismissed the appeal and affirmed the decisions of the lower Courts.

    Reacting to the Supreme Court judgment, Acting Director-General of NAPTIP, Mr. Abdulrazak Dangiri expressed delight that the matter has finally come to an end. He expressed the hope that the judgment would serve as a deterrent to human traffickers as the Agency was determined to follow all cases to a logical conclusion.

     


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  • Igbo in Abuja ban English at ceremonies

    01/Mar/2017 // 5776 Viewers

     

    The 2016 edition of Igbo Day celebrations in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), may have come and gone, but the dust raised at the event is yet to settle.
     
    Last week, the Centre for Igbo Arts and Culture (CIAC), Abuja, tackled the organisers of the celebrations, which held on September 29, 2016, at the Old Parade Ground, Area 10, Garki, for conducting the programme in English. 

    Addressing a press conference titled “Before Our Language Dies,” as part of activities marking this year’s International Mother Language Day, CIAC chairman, Sir Kanayo Okoye, said the use of English to conduct Igbo Day and other cultural events in the FCT and other places had made Ndigbo the object of ridicule before other ethnic nationalities: “Ndigbo often feel uncomfortable speaking their God-given language at public functions or gatherings, with the notion that their Igbo audience would simply regard them as illiterates. It was, therefore, embarrassing that English was the medium of communication during last year’s Igbo Day in Abuja. 

    “This unfortunate state of affairs, which has persisted over the years, has, no doubt, brought disrespect and contempt from other Nigerians who now discredit Ndigbo as a people without language or culture. We should show some pride in ourselves and salvage this ugly trend.”

    Okoye, whose speech was delivered by the CIAC administrative secretary, Mr. Ifeanyi Atuenyi, was, however, impressed by the lively, colourful and rich celebration of the annual new yam festival in various cities and communities throughout Igboland, Nigeria and beyond.  

    Undoubtedly, the Iri Ji Ndigbo (new yam festival) has become a much cherished aspect of Igbo culture celebrated lately wherever the Igbo live across the globe.  

    CIAC also lamented the preponderance of Igbo children who could not speak their native language, blaming the anomaly on mothers for allegedly brainwashing “them into believing that Igbo language is ‘local’. The result is that English has taken over as the first language of our children, which has become the language they learn first and the language they speak last.”

    The centre did not spare schools as it also held teachers liable for allegedly indoctrinating the children against speaking vernacular, while at home, parents profess the same negative gospel with the illusion that speaking the indigenous language would corrupt and portray the child as unrefined and interfere with his learning of English. 

    CIAC, therefore, urged mothers to know that raising a child in the mother tongue would not have any adverse psychological effect on the child, and that there is nothing wrong with a child learning two or more languages during the early days of development. “In fact, children are naturally endowed with the capacity of learning multiple languages, which provide them the opportunity to broaden their intellect and mental growth,” he said. 

    Good news for Ndigbo

    Daily Sun reports that the so-called show of shame at the 2016 Igbo Day ceremonies did not go down well with a large number of Igbo residents in the FCT; some prominent political office holders from the South-East inclusive.

    To arrest the ugly trend, the Igbo traditional institution, headed by the Igbo 1 of Abuja, Eze Ibe Nwosu, has met over the issue and would soon make a pronouncement.

    Indications emerged last week that leaders of the Igbo in Abuja may have decided to ban the use of English in conducting any cultural activity within the FCT.

    A Board of Trustees member of the Igbo Centre, Mr. Edward Ihemebiri, disclosed that the issue was being discussed among the top echelo of Ohanaeze Ndigbo.

    He noted that the efforts of CIAC in promoting Igbo language and culture, including reaching out to the FCT education authorities and notable private schools for the recruitment of Igbo Language teachers, were being frustrated by counter-productive practises such as the use of English at Igbo ceremonies. 

    Following these resolutions, no fewer than seven Igbo Language teachers have now been employed by the FCT through the efforts of the Igbo Centre.

    The Ochigbo of Kuje, Chief Dominic Anigbo, who represented the Eze Igbo of Abuja at the press conference, confirmed that something would be done about the unwanted trend, even though he attributed the declining interest in Igbo language to the “near-nomadic” nature of Ndigbo who travel round the world for trade and other business.

    Anigbo, who traced the link between the Igbo and the Jews of Israel, regretted that even traditional relics like shrines (mbari) that are still seen in Israel today could hardly be seen anymore in many parts of Igboland: “If you go to Israel, you see them; they are in America. What is killing our culture is that we travel too much. There is no part of the world where you will not find an Igbo man.”

    He commended CIAC for its contributions in preserving and promoting Igbo cultural heritage, recalling that the Eze Igbo of Ghana had initiated similar a programme, which included engaging Igbo Language teachers for some schools in the former Gold Coast.

    Despite the prevailing circumstances, CIAC has said that all hope is not lost. It described the recent decision of the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) to add Igbo as one of the 30 new languages to be used in presenting programmes as heart-warming.

    Atuenyi said that the BBC platform would be a major boost to the promotion of Igbo language and culture, while Ndigbo should actively support and promote the programme by tuning in to it.

    He also enjoined content developers to take advantage of the on-going digitisation of broadcasting to develop more Igbo content for radio and television side by side the opportunity offered by Multichoice through Africa Magic Igbo. 

    Challenge to governors, Ohanaeze

    Some Igbo people living in Abuja told Daily Sun that state governments in the South-East and the apex Igbo socio-cultural body, Ohanaeze, have to pick the gauntlet.

    They wondered how an Igbo man in any other part of the world would be expected to be ‘proud’ of his mother tongue when no South-East governor conducts government business in Igbo.

    “It might sound laughable, but some governors in the South-East even address their people in English when they visit their communities,” a respondent, Mr. Kelechi Udemba, said.

    Ihemebiri recalled, albeit painfully, that only former Anambra State Governor, Peter Obi, responded to letters written to all the South East governors some years back by the CIAC enjoining them to, once or twice a week, conduct government functions in Igbo, including their State Executive Council meetings.

    He noted that Anambra made it a policy for sometime under Obi, but, “It is a matter of deep regret, however, that only little effort has been made to stem the dangerous tide that is currently eroding the cherished Igbo language and culture among Ndigbo themselves.”

    “To further compound the ugly situation, our governors and leaders, except, perhaps, former Governor Peter Obi of Anambra State, are not helping matters as they fail to direct their attention towards reviving our language or culture,” he said.

    CIAC also had a word for the new leadership of Ohanaeze Ngigbo, headed by Chief Nnia Nwodo.

    The centre saluted Ohanaeze on the recently concluded election but urged them to “wake up from their passiveness and embarrassing leadership tussle and take up the challenge of promoting Igbo essence, language and culture.”

    CIAC said: “There is no gainsaying that we have suffered unimaginable neglect and loss of influence in the affairs of the nation due to lack of a vibrant and focused leadership from our past and present organisation of Ohanaeze and South-East governors.”

    It therefore, called for a rethink, so that Ndigbo could live up to their God-endowed capabilities towards always projecting Igbo agenda on all fronts.

    *Credit: This post was syndicated from the Daily Sun  


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  • Hanging Haman with the IGBO JEWS of ABUJA - THE TIMES OF ISRAEL

    01/Mar/2017 // 4096 Viewers

     

    There is a widespread belief among Igbos — the third-largest ethnic group in Nigeria — that they are descendants of the tribes of Israel. Many of them are passionately Zionist. Their precise number among the 175 million people in Nigeria, Africa’s most populous nation, is not certain, but ranges somewhere between 30 and 35 million.

    Their claim to a Jewish lineage and their support for Israel are interesting in and of themselves, but even more fascinating is that during the last 30 years or so there has also been a movement among some Igbos to match their tradition of Jewish descent with the practice of rabbinic Judaism, the learning of Hebrew, and the fostering of connections with Jews abroad.

    The wider Jewish world has begun taking notice. 2012 saw the release of filmmaker Jeff Lieberman’s documentary “Re-emerging: The Jews of Nigeria,” and earlier this year, Northeastern University professor William F.S. Miles published “The Jews of Nigeria: An Afro-Judaic Odyssey.” A book on Nigeria’s Jews written by Swiss Jewish Studies professor Daniel Lis will be coming out in 2013 as well.

    In February, I was fortunate to travel to Abuja, capital of Nigeria, where I spent a week with its Igbo Jewish community, visiting synagogues and homes, and celebrating Shabbat and Purim. Most Igbo Jews, numbering perhaps 3,000 to 5,000, live in Igboland, the ancestral Nigerian region of the Igbos. A smaller number of Igbo Jews live in Abuja, where they have three synagogues.


    Yehuda wearing a new tallit sent from Israel. Behind him are words from the psalms, 'The Torah of God is Perfect.' (photo credit: Shai Afsai/Times of Israel)

    Yehuda wearing a new tallit sent from Israel. Behind him are words from the  psalms, ‘The Torah of God is Perfect.’ (photo credit: Shai Afsai/Times of Israel)


    Generally, these synagogues try to follow Sephardi and Edot Hamizrah customs, but they have also developed some local ones. At Tikvat Israel (the synagogue headed by Sar Habakkuk Nwafor), for example, I observed that tallitot (prayer shawls) were not only worn by male worshippers during the morning prayers on Shabbat, but also when they returned for the afternoon mincha service.

    There are quite a few talented lyricists and songwriters among the Igbo Jews, and their moving compositions are used in prayer and at religious gatherings. Especially given that there are no yeshivot or permanent rabbis among them, the Judaic proficiency and knowledge of liturgical Hebrew that many Igbo Jews have attained is quite notable. Nonetheless, the community’s greatest desire is for Jewish teachers and schools.

    The lack of rabbis sometimes leaves Nigeria’s Igbo Jews uncertain about traditional Jewish practice elsewhere. There were reservations among the several dozen Igbo Jews who attended services at Tikvat Israel, for example, about whether or not tefillin ought to be donned during the festival of Purim. Some had heard that Purim has the status of a Yom Tov — and even, as a rabbinic homily describes it, that it is a day like Yom Kippur — and that, accordingly, tefillin were not to be donned.

    Sar Habakkuk questioned me concerning the Jewish practice abroad, and declared that since the Igbos had lost the tradition of wearing tefillin, it was appropriate to follow the way of those who had maintained it, and that tefillin should be put on.

    There is a shortage in Nigeria of religious items such as tallitot and tefillin. Though there are some locally made tzitzit and tallitot, Igbo Jews lack the ability to produce tefillin for themselves. While I was visiting, however, a package sent by Daniel Limor, an Israeli friend of the community, arrived for Sar Habakkuk. It contained thirteen new tallitot and thirteen new pairs of tefillin — an absolute treasure for the community and a cause of great joy.

    In Abuja, there is no custom of Igbo Jewish children or adults wearing costumes on Purim. However, noisemaking of various kinds (including with the use of several groggers/ra’ashanim that I had given to some of the children) was used to blot out the name of Haman — the villain who sought the Jews’ destruction — during the reading of the Scroll of Esther. The Purim story was read to the congregation by Sar Habakkuk’s son, Hezekiah, from a scroll I brought as a gift from Wayne Franklin, a Rhode Island rabbi. An effigy of Haman was hanged from a makeshift gallows erected near the synagogue.

    To Igbo Jews, the Jewish practices they have begun embracing in the past few decades are not those of a foreign religion or culture, but rather their own. They see themselves as ba’ale teshuvah: Jews returning to Judaism and to the traditional observances of their ancestors, which were lost due to the Igbos’ long exile from the Land of Israel and due to the introduction of Christianity to Igboland.

    This view is enlarged upon by Dr. Caliben I.O. Michael, head of the OBGI Israel Heritage Foundation and its Abuja synagogue, in his 2011 “Our Roots: Igbo Israel Heritage.”

    “The Igbo nation is part of Israel,” Caliben affirms, despite its widespread loss of Jewish practice. He chose to name his foundation OBGI, which is Igbo spelled backwards, in part to indicate that Igbos “are no longer what we used to be.” European and Christian influences have altered Igbo society, he contends, and its members must now “rejuvenate the latent/dormant Hebrew souls of the Igbos to reflect their real essence.”

    The Torah ark in Abuja’s largest Igbo synagogue, Gihon, is flanked by the flags of Nigeria and Israel. On one of the synagogue’s walls, prominently displayed beside framed artwork depicting the Ten Commandments, is a handwritten English prayer: “Grant us the privilege to worship you in Yerushalayim [i.e., Jerusalem].”

    Igbo Jews hope one day soon to be able make pilgrimages to Israel. In their efforts to assert their Judaism and Jewish identity in Nigeria, they look to the Jews of Israel for inspiration and solidarity.

    Credit: *The post ''Hanging Haman with the Igbo Jews of Abuja'' appeared first on THE TIMES OF ISRAEL


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