Court Frees Christian From Compoulsory Worship Of Traditional gods In Bayelsa Community
A Bayelsa State High Court, sitting in Nembe, has restrained the chairman of Okoroba community Council of Chiefs, Chief Benjamin Puyatei and the acting chief priest of Ogidiga shrine, Chief Joseph Ndubueze, from compelling 442 natives, mainly Christians, to partake in Eyalikai festival and worship of Ogidiga deity.
The court, presided over by Justice L. M.
Boufini, in a ruling, declared that the
compulsion of natives to participate in Eyalkai festival and the worship of the deity of Ogidiga was unlawful and, therefore, constitute a violation of their fundamental human rights guaranteed and protected under Sections 34 and 38 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 2011, as amended, and Article
5 of the African Charter of Human and
Peoples Ratification and Enforcement Act.
The court also restrained the respondents
from further disruption of the propagation of the teaching of Christian religion, by prayers, crusaders, open air preaching, sharing of tracts and Bibles and other Christian gatherings.”
Twelve natives, mainly Christians, led by
Mr. Hitler Adumom, Apostle Jeremiah
Youpele, Prophet Elijah Omu, Elder
Nathan Diegha, and eight others, acting
for themselves and 430 others, had
dragged the chairman of the Okoroba
Council of Chiefs, Secretary of the Council
of Chiefs, chairman of the Community
Development Committee, CDC, and the
chief priest to court over intimidation,
harassment and compulsion to make
sacrifices to appease the gods and
participate in the Eyalikai festival.
Additional orders made by the court against the defendants are: “An order
restraining all the respondents, their heir,
successor and agents from further compelling to participate in the Eyalikai
festival and the worship of the deity of
Ogidiga shrine; to make financial
contribution to the festival and compel
the applicants to stay at home during the festival.
“An order restraining the respondents
from further torture, intimidation, harassment, flogging, beating, compulsion
to make sacrifice to appease the gods,
destruction of applicants’ property and
other punitive mechanisms devised by
respondents meted to the applicants for
their refusal to bow to the deity of Ogidiga