Enugu Community Invokes Deities To Stop Frequent Theft In Hospital

Enugu Community Invokes Deities

A community in Enugu State, South-east Nigeria, has invoked deities against unknown persons stealing equipment from a hospital in the area.

The community, Ogurute-Uno in Igbo-Eze North Local Government Area of the state, was said to have grown increasingly frustrated by frequent theft in the hospital. The facility, Ogurute-Uno General Hospital, was newly constructed by the Enugu State Government. It was inaugurated in February 2023 by the then governor of Enugu State, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi.

Ogurute-Uno is a community created from Enugu Ezike Community within the same council area of the state.

A video clip, which has now gone viral, showed some members of the community invoking the deities in front of the hospital. The five-minute clip was uploaded on Facebook on 20 June.

In the clip, an unidentified community member was heard invoking the deities while lamenting frequent equipment theft in the hospital.

“We are people of Ogurute-Uno. We have come here for no other reason apart from the issue of this general hospital built by the government. “They (government) have brought every necessary medical equipment for treatment, including beds, television sets, solar batteries, solar panels, and others,” the man said in Igbo language.

Continuing he said: “But after they brought all the equipment, we don’t know people who come here and steal them. We now say it is bad and unacceptable.
“We, therefore, hand over this general hospital to you all. Any man, woman, child or adult that stole the equipment, please fight for us.”

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The community member asked the deities to “kill” those who stole the equipment if they failed to return them to the hospital.

He listed equipment stolen from the facility to include LED television, solar battery, beds, stretchers, fans, air conditioners and emergency response vehicles. He stressed that no one has accepted responsibility for the theft in the hospital.

‘No more theft’
The community member appealed to the deities to henceforth “kill” anybody who attempts to steal any equipment from the hospital.

‘We’re tired’
An indigene of Enugu Ezike, a neighbouring community in the area confirmed the development to PREMIUM TIMES on Monday.

The indigene, simply identified as Afamefuna, said the deities were invoked earlier in June. He said the community members and residents were tired of recurrent theft in the hospital. “It (the invoking of deities) was for those who stole in the hospital,” he said.

Frequent theft in the hospital
An indigene of Imufu, another neighbouring community in the council area, who claimed to be part of people involved in the efforts to stop the theft, narrated to PREMIUM TIMES why the deities were invoked.

The man who identified himself simply as Emeka said the traditional ruler of the Ogurute-Uno Community, Ogbonnaya Ekere, approved the invoking of the deities following the failure of security agencies to stop the recurring theft in the hospital. Emeka recalled that Mr Ekere had petitioned Igbo-Eze North Traditional Rulers Council, who converged at the community where the decision to invoke the deities was taken. “It was the traditional rulers’ council led by Igwe Gabriel Agbedo that resolved to support the community to do the traditional invoking of deities. I went round with them,” he said.

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He said the traditional rulers subsequently reported the theft to Ogurute-Uno vigilante operatives who promptly arrested a suspect and handed him over to the police, but police authorities allegedly failed to investigate the matter. “Police never went to the hospital for investigation. At one point, they released the suspect,” he said.

Police silent
The police spokesperson in Enugu State, Daniel Ndukwe, did not respond to calls and WhatsApp messages seeking his comments. Mr Ndukwe, a deputy superintendent of police, would later send a text message requesting our reporter to send an SMS to him.

But, as of the time of filing this report, he was yet to respond to an SMS seeking to know if the frequent theft in the community was ever reported to the police.

Not the first time
This is not the first time a community in the state would resort to deities for help on security matters.

PREMIUM TIMES exclusively reported that a neighbouring community in the area, Enugu Ezike, two months ago, invoked some deities over the frequent attacks and killings by pro-Biafra gunmen in the area.

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