Divination before burial

By Rev. Fr. Eva Chuma Nnamene

Some communities in Nsukka area are still battling with igba afa during burials. To bury the dead in such communities is only possible if some divinations are performed. No burial, especially, of adults is conducted without divinization. If the findings of the inquiries were such that the person died an unnatural death, as was done in past, such corpses were deserted in forests.

Oftentimes, these inquiries are manipulated. As a matter of fact, there was a particular case of a wealthy man who was largely accused of occult practices while he was alive. His village members loathed his way of life; and had vowed to bury him like a chicken whenever he died. At his death, however, the villagers were already gearing up to throw the corpse away when some conspiracy emerged.

A little clique amongst them had sold an idea to them which they bought completely. They reasoned that since the man was a wealthy man, his funeral was going to be beneficial to the villagers. Thus, the clique influenced the dibia afa, who now claimed that the deceased should be given a befitting burial though his sons were charged excessively for it.

Just because the man's funeral was adjudged to be beneficial to the villagers, the results of the afa was manipulated. This possibility of manipulation was among the things that nullified igba afa as a means for verification. As we did explain when we treated challenges militating against our faith, we noted that "Across continents, races and times, humans have used various means of verifications to find out causes of things in their lives, their environments and even their future.

In Scriptural times, people have consulted soothsayers, sorcerers, astrologers, magicians, dream interpreters, and other agents to find out or to interpret their circumstances or their future. Why do people do all these? Uppermost among the reasons why people do all these verifications was the fear of the unknown. Man has constantly feared the unknown.

Man has longed to be in control of his life and circumstances. The fear of the unknown has constantly fired up the zeal to find out how the future would be like, or to find out if the past had any hand on what is happening at the present. As mankind continued its sojourn on earth, over centuries, man developed or discovered other systems of verifications; thus providing better answers to his fear of the unknown.

Some of such new systems of verification became more objective, verifiable, reliable and therefore, more scientific. Quickly, in some quarters, these new systems began replacing the previous ones which were more subjective, unverifiable, unreliable, and as such, unscientific. The new systems use apparatuses that are available and accessible; and they also use methods that are repeatable at different laboratories and at different times, and that have highest chances of providing the same results.

For instance, a particular young man who has been constantly sick went to a laboratory test; he was diagnosed with persistent malaria. He went to over ten laboratory tests, the results are the same. The old system of verification will hardly give the same results, and that is why the new system is better and clearer.

When someone consults afa, ugegbe, odu, oju ese, and other ancient systems, the results are not the same. In fact, they may not even be close to each other. One result says one thing, and another says a different thing. Oftentimes, results from such ancient systems stir up controversies in families, and communities. Such controversies end up in broken relationships, and thus sow the seed of discord among family and friends.

What is wrong with consulting afa, ugegbe, odu, oju ese, and others is not just because they are antiquated, and their results controversial and unreliable, their sources of information are likewise devilish and manipulative. Their methods are cultic and never open to human study. And as Christians, we are forbidden from using them (Lev. 19: 26; Deut. 18: 10-12; Jer. 27: 9; Ez. 13: 3; Acts 8: 9; Acts 16: 16; Gal. 5: 19-20; Rev. 21: 8; Rev. 22: 14-15).

They prohibit Christian witnessing which Christ has mandated to His Church" (Eva Chuma Nnamene, "Obstacles to Christian Witnessing: Igba Afa" in Faith Issues, November 2014). At the burial of any Christian, and in fact, any person, we should never consult dibia afa. It is devilish to do so.

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