From Wilson Okereke, Afikpo
A 35-year-old female native doctor, Evelyn Nweke, has vowed that an Orthodox Church pastor would never know peace for allegedly causing her banishment through what she called “fake prophecy.”
The embattled mother of seven dragged the cleric before the Ebonyi State Family Law Centre, Abakaliki. She alleged that the cleric turned Ikwuator Idembia in Ezza South Local Government, against her after brainwashing them that she was behind their calamities.
She told the centre that the pastor, her brother-in-law, one Sunday Usulor and Secretary of Ochufu Agba village, Mr Chinedu Odaah, on June 21, 2021, brought a large number of people from the area, who beat her mercilessly, dehumanised and paraded her before proclaiming her banishment alongside her entire family.
She insisted that the people were triggered into the odious action by the false vision and prediction of the pastor who accused her of being responsible for some misfortunes befalling the village.
She also said that aside destroying her shrine, the people after the banishment went back to her compound and looted all valuables including household assets and other things valued at over N10million: “Before that fateful day, the pastor who came from Aba, Abia State and his cohorts had made a lot of persons in the community to believe that a native doctor ought not to be found in their midst.
“And the feeble-minded persons did not even care to ascertain the said vision. Rather, they stormed my compound and destroyed my shrine before sending me out of the village.
“On that particular morning around 6, I was still sleeping with my children as my husband was away on business trip. Suddenly, the people came and accused me of bewitching the entire village.
“In my attempt to enquire the authenticity of their claim, they bounced on me. They sent me out of the village without considering the fact that I had not hurt anyone either physically or spiritually since the past 14 years of practicing my vocation.”
The victim’s husband, Mr Monday Nweke, told Daily Sun that the reason given by the pastor and his group for their action was that they did not want to see any herbal medicine practice involving fetish activities in the area:
“When I returned from my journey, I approached some of the people. I asked if my wife had in the time past hurt anybody with her herbal work. The people answered no. But they insisted they would not allow the woman to return home.”
Nweke said his wife was treating epilepsy, infertility, madness and other deadly diseases with patients coming from far and near: “This may have elicited envy from the masterminds of the attack so as to halt her progress.”
He said the people barricaded his compound and the entrances of his houses with fresh palm fronds without considering the traditional implication of such act.
He, however, disclosed that the community under the leadership of the Town Union President, Emeka, had looked into the matter and blamed the perpetrators of the act: “Emeka explained to the people that they lacked the right to dictate or recommend materials for herbalists.
“The accused persons were instructed by the elders of the community to as matter of urgency, carry out a cleansing sacrifice associated with the removal of such barricade to enable the victims return home. But the said cleric and his cohorts, refused to comply with the directive.
“The elders equally suggested that an oath should be given to my wife, if the people are insisting that she is bewitching them. But the so-called pastor objected to the idea and stood his ground that an herbalist would not be allowed in the village.
“This is the condition that made us to bring the matter to the Family Law Centre where our plight will be looked into in accordance with the constitution.”
He lamented the inhuman treatment being meted to his family. He alleged that their traducers stole a lot of things from his compound including gifts patients gave to his wife. He called for help from the relevant quarters to enable the perpetrators face the consequences of their evil act.
One of the accused persons and cousin of the victim’s husband, Usulor, when contacted on phone admitted being part of those who pronounced and enforced the banishment. He claimed that the woman had told the people of the area that she was a mere herbalist who did not indulge in any form of rituals but only using roots and herbs for the treatment of some diseases.
But after watching her for about three years, surprisingly, the same woman was on June, 2021, found performing some sacrifice with a lizard and padlocks: “The woman later dropped the sacrificed lizard with three padlocks hanging on its body at the back of my house, after she was confronted. She admitted to be responsible for the act and lied that the work known as ‘back-to-sender’ was meant for one of her clients.
“Shortly after the fetish items were discovered, my son was involved in a serious road crash that nearly cost him his life. As I am speaking now, the person whom my son knocked down is still in critical condition over the injury the person sustained.
“This is why we chased the woman out of the village pending when the matter will be resolved. But notwithstanding, we do not have any problem with her husband.”
He denied stealing the woman’s belongings adding that, she reported to the matter to the police at Onueke Division: “I was arrested and detained for five days before the matter was taken to the Family Law Centre.”
The village secretary, Odah, said: “The banishment was collectively taken by the villagers. This was after it was noticed that the manner which the woman was operating her business was not obtainable in the contemporary society.
“At the kindred level, we had made it known that Mr Monday Nweke was not ostracised from our home. It was only his wife who was advised to relocate to Onueke town or other commercial areas where she can operate her business as she wants.”
He claimed that the female native doctor was not manhandled but “peacefully taken to her parents’ home where she was handed over to her father without any molestation.”
The case was adjourned to September 7, 2022, for further hearing by the centre, presided by Mrs Elizabeth Nwali.