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Otokoto Uprising: Bishop Protests Innocence

By Ben Duru, Post Express (Lagos), 14 September 2000

Lagos—About four years after the Otokoto uprising which claimed several lives and property in several parts of Owerri, the Imo State capital, the bishop of the Overcomers Christian Mission has restated his innocence.

He maintained that the human head found inside his church premises was not used for ritual purposes but was brought by one of his worshippers who had denounced occultism.

The bishop, Dr. Alexander Ezeugo Ekewuba told newsmen in Owerri, Monday, that as a preacher against occult practices and other evil vices, he will never encourage nor participate in any form of occultism of ritual practices.

He said that his incarceration during the September 1996 crisis following the beheading of master Ikechukwu Okonkwo by ritualists had taught him a great lesson and that if he had known what he know now, he would have been in a better position to handle the accusation.

The bishop decried his abandonment by friends and those who had seen him use the human head on display during evangelisation and expressed happiness that of all those implicated he was the only one vindicated and freely moving about.

The human skull was handed over to me by some individuals who felt that I should remove those skulls from their homes after conducting deliverance exercises in their respective houses. So I felt that I will do the society a lot of good if I preach this and let them see it on the television.

I felt that I was enlightening the public by showing them what people do in public. I had no such evil intention in my mind. So by so doing, I never knew that I would incur the wrath of so many people who out of misunderstanding thought I was among the people that they were looking for, he said.

I am not in any occultic practices.. From the homes of Professor Nwoke and others I got these skulls and went on television. Let me say that of all the people that suffered during the Otokoto crisis, I am the only man that has been vindicated. Some were shot, Unogu and Otokoto are still in detention. I went to Owerri Prison, I saw Unogu, I saw Otokoto and I was preaching to them, he said.

He attributed the incidence of occultism and other evils in higher institution of learning in the country as resulting from their initiation into such practices by their parents. He called on parents to desist from such things as it will continue to have negative effect on their wards.

Ekewuba, who said he has forgiven all those who contributed to his incarceration appealed to students to Ahor occultism and contribute to the building of one great country.