The road from Uburu, the salt lake community of Ebonyi State, to Amasiri through Okposi is fresh and good. Before the state government rebuilt the road recently, it was wretched and forsaken, particularly between Okposi in Ohaozara and Amasiri in Afikpo North local government areas of the state.
In fact, there could hardly be a more forsaken area before the intervention. Apart from the deplorable state of the road, which had claimed many lives, it was also a den of thieves. Woe betide you if your vehicle broke down there a few years ago.
Crooked road to treasure pot
But the story changes somewhere along Edda axis. The Amoso Etiti Edda – Nguzu Road said to be a federal facility is very bad. As you ask okada riders for direction to Amanchor cave, they warn you that the road is in a dangerous state. At a point, the reporter’s car couldn’t navigate any further and the reporter hired a bike. And there were places where the rider and his passenger alighted and pulled the bike through the rough terrain.
But if the Ndiba road is terrible, the road from the foot of the cave to the top is like the valley of the shadow of death. It is steep and broken.
Located in Afikpo South, the cave is about four kilometres long. When the reporter visited the place in November, the path to the cave was bushy.
But the view from the hilltop is simply breathtaking. A sweeping panoramic view of the environment revealed nature at its best. Left and right, as far as the eye could see, is an alluring undulating topography. You could see the neighbouring state from that height.
Heaven for tourists
One of the guides told the reporter that the cave is usually a beehive of activity during Yuletide. According to him, tourists from far and near converge on the cave to savour the architectural masterpiece.
The natural underground chamber is really fascinating. There are rooms or compartments of various shapes and sizes. The big one is arranged like a sitting room with stones positioned like chairs and a table while the inner part is like a bedroom.
In the beginning
Offering historical perspectives on the cave, the head of Amanchor village, Chief Boniface Agwuibe, said that it was discovered by a hunter, Ofia Ugo, who named it Ogba Amanchor.
He said: “The cave has been there since creation; it is not new. The creator of the heaven and earth brought it to Amanchor.
“We celebrate it every year. It is now my turn, Chief Ibe, and I said that it is better for the world to come and see what is in Amanchor. I tell tourists to take it away if they can; there is no problem. But nobody can take it away.
“If it is necessary or required for us to feed the rock, it wouldn’t have been impossible for us to do so. God has a reason for bringing the cave to Amanchor, so let His will be done in Jesus name.
“In the past, we used to have tiger inside the cake. We still have crocodile inside it till now. Bees also live there but they are all on their own, disturbing nobody. Even bats are there.”
Power in the cave
Asked if the cave has mystical or healing powers? The traditional ruler answered: “It has powers to do certain things. For instance, if you want promotion, you will come with me with native kolanut and we will go to a part certain of the cave and you will say out your problems. I will hold the native kolanut and repeat what you said, break the kolanut and pour it there. We do not charge any money. If your wishes come to pass, you come and show appreciation accordingly.
“For example, there was a pregnant woman that came and she complained that she was always having miscarriages. I told her, let’s go there, that by the grace of God, there wouldn’t be miscarriage for her again. “She gave birth to a baby boy named Chima. People have come from various places to seek favour from the cave and they went back happy. But it got to a point that I stopped because of the issue of Christianity. Sometimes, they will start challenging you, saying this and that. But if the situation is pressing, you bring native kolanut and we will go there.
“It is six feet down; there are rooms inside there. You can miss inside it. There is one hole inside leading to Owutu, which is about three miles from here. Some people come from abroad to see the cave.”
Ibe also lamented the neglect of the community. “Government should remember us. The road to this place is bad. Nkporo in Abia State is about four miles from here but it is inaccessible. We don’t have anybody in government. It is only this year that a councilor emerged from Amanchor. God has a reason for bringing the cave to this place and it will come to pass someday.”
However, the community enjoys fresh water from the rock all year round.
One of the tourists, Mr Francis Odi, described the cave as a hidden treasure. According to him, “government should develop the place so that the people will enjoy the benefit of the endowment.”