One of the ancient practices in Igbo land which has refused to be dominated and erased by foreign religions is the “Ikpu Aru” (Purification of the land). At this point in our history when we are bedeviled by different forces, it is of utmost importance that the whole of Ana Igbo is purified.
The Ikpu aru is a universal custom in Igbo land and as such every clan and village can join so as to rid our soil of abomination that has been carried out over years.
In the past, this ritual was rarely resorted to, because the ancient Igbo people had great respect for and fear of Chukwu, Ana, and the many deities that they used to commune with the creator.
Ikpu aru is employed when somebody has really violated the most important religious traditions. The only remedy for the violation is Ikpu aru, because it is our belief that Chukwu will use the earth to kill or punish the violator.
The Igbo expectation is that the earth is the instrument that exacts retribution for the aru. Strange occurrences can lead the people to start inquiring if an abomination has occurred. For example, a high frequency of premature deaths. The next step is divination to find out why.
Sometimes it is a case where an abomination occurred without purification. Even if the abomination was committed a hundred years ago, the purification must be done.
For abomination that might affect only an individual or his kindred, any priest can carry out the purification, but if it is a major one like ‘Ikwu udo’ (suicide by hanging) or ‘igbu mmadu’ (murder), an Nri priest must be invited to carry out the function.
He has to carry out purification. No property in the house where the abomination was perpetrated can be used by the kins. It is left for the Nri to dispose off, usually by throwing them into the forest.
Although this practice might have been modified in certain Igbo circles – one thing that has not changed is the method of divination and purification of the land.
Now looking at the many atrocities, mishaps and deaths that have befallen Ndi Igbo over the decades, I have come to the solid conclusion that “A purification of the entire Igbo land is long overdue.”
For centuries, Ndi Igbo has killed Igbo, Igbo has sold a fellow Igbo into slavery, Igbo has slept with another Igbo man/woman spouse, Igbo has used Igbo for rituals, and the list goes on.
So my people, in the face of the many tragedies that have befallen us, it is important we look inward, and for once ask ourselves the right question: Where have we gone wrong spiritually?
In the past when you killed someone, the land rises up in retribution against you. The creator unleashes punishment through Ani (earth deity). So everybody stays away from certain atrocities. But as time went on, things changed and with the entering of foreign religion, inequity has been left unchecked in the land.
This is more reason why we must find our way back to the religion and practices of our ancestors. If Ndi Igbo is to heal and overcome all the forces that hunt her, then Ndi Igbo must atone for her sins. Ndi Igbo ga akpu alu.
Written By Chuka Ndundeseokwu