A Pan Igbo religious body, ÌgbakÍ Odinani Worldwide, has lent its voice to the call by the Federal Government for the return of two sacred artifacts recently sold in France by Christie Auction House for the sum $240,000.
By Adeola Ogunlade
The wooden artifacts were allegedly looted from Indigenous Igbo altars by treasure hunters under the guise of Christian evangelism many years ago, the group said, adding: ”At the same auction event, an Urhobo artifact was also for $1million.
Leader of the organisation, Nze Chibueze Onyido, says his organization is prepared to work with “the Federal Government to ensure that all sacred artifacts stolen from our shrines by criminals masquerading as Christian pastors and priests and sold abroad are returned to their original communities as It’s part of their history and spirituality.
He decried what he described as “pure hypocrisy” on the part of some so called Christian pastors who on one hand condemn their own traditional religion as evil but on the other hand steal from the same altars to enrich themselves.
Speaking in the same vein, the Secretary General of the organization, Dike ägbaja, says that the “organisation has started taking court action against churches and individuals who desecrated and looted Ìdinani Igbo altars as this constitutes a breach of freedom of worship and destruction of national treasure.”
He says his organization resorted to legal actions to calm restive ÌdËnanË and Óménàlà youths who have vowed to also burn down churches in retaliation.