Amuzu in Ezza-Ezekuna clan, Ebonyi State, recently witnessed a weird occurrence that has thrown not only the village but the entire state into confusion. UCHENNA INYA, who just returned from the community, tells a story of a people still in awe
Amuzu, an ancient village in Ezza-Ezekuna clan in Ebonyi State, has become a Mecca of some sort. The settlement, which is the leader of the 12 tribes of Ezza-Ezekuna, is a popular and homogenous community. It had witnessed strange things that have caught the attention of people from other parts of Ebonyi State and beyond, but not the type that just happened. Since the present incident, people from all walks of life have been trooping to the community to have a glimpse of what had happened.
In 2016, before the commencement of rainy season, there was windstorm that ravaged many parts of the country including the community. It destroyed valuable things with residential buildings, classrooms, churches, markets and economic trees. When one of the economic trees that fell, following the heavy windstorm of that particular year, dried up, it became a source of firewood for the residents of Amuzu.
The people severed its branches and the body proper leaving the trunk that was steadily cut for firewood. Ever since then, people had continued to troop to fetch firewood from the falling tree. But, the party, it seemed has come to an end, as the deadwood is up again. Checks by Saturday Telegraph confirmed that the deadwood which had remained the source of firewood to the villagers has actually sprung up. For the people of Amuzu, this strange occurrence remains a mystery. The sudden mystery occurred when the tree trunk, which had been the source of firewood for the Amuzu people, ‘screamed’ and ‘resurrected’.
Two minors, Arinze Nworie and his younger sister, Mmesoma, were the first to witness this bizarre occurrence in the village. They were fetching firewood as usual before the tree’s unexpected ‘resurrection’. “We had to abandon the wood and flee out of fear,” the kids told our correspondent. Others villagers who were in the place to fetch firewood also took to their heels when they saw that the tree had, indeed, sprung up.
They went back to their houses, confused. The deadwood, which ‘resurrected’, is located about a kilometre into the bush, off the old Awka-Enugu Expressway. Indeed, since this weird occurrence, the area has turned to a Mecca of sorts just as commercial motorcyclists and photographers have thronged the community for business. A commercial motorcyclist, who took this reporter to the ‘resurrection’, confessed that he had made so much money from people from outside the village where the incident happened. He said: “People come here in thousands on a daily basis; the peak periods are weekends, especially Sundays; so business has been good,” adding, “People have come from very far places to be part of what is happening here. Personally, I have carried some Chinese on this bike; they were about four and they refused to be paired on one motorcycle.”
The commercial motorcyclist, who later identified himself simply as Ugochukwu, from Effium, in Ebonyi State, narrated how he carried a cripple to the “resurrection” tree. “The crippled believed he could be healed while there,” he added. Another tourist, who refused to be identified, said: “Before I came here, I have been hearing stories about this deadwood. I was determined to see things for myself. I wanted to be convinced.
When I came here, it dawned on me that the stories are factual. You can see the tree yourself, standing. It’s not a fairy tale. People have been talking about it even on the Internet; the story is everywhere.” The development has, however, caused anxiety in the community and the elders are making frantic efforts to get both traditionalists and men of God for prayers to see if they could pull down the ‘resurrected’ deadwood. Some of the people who had thronged the scene to catch a glimpse of the tree noted that it may have been pulled up by the weight of the soil still hanging on its roots.
However, before this magical deadwood, there had been other bizarre occurrences in this same community. A story was told of a standing life tree that resisted cutting down by a lumberjack. The tree, according to the narrative, gave the dulmer tough time before he eventually cut down the tree but not without performing some ‘rituals’. The man was said to have died shortly afterwards.
There was also another tree that the community through its forest committee in the area cut down with human skeleton, many keys and small pot, seen inside it when it was cut down. Presently the forest committee is battling to cut down another mystery soft tree in the community that has defied lumberjacks. Chairman, forest committee of the community, Donatus Nwogu, gave an insight into the tree and the deadwood that ‘resurrected’, when he said: “There was a time we cut down a tree here and there was a skeleton we found in it and many keys. There was also a small pot we found inside the tree when we cut it down and we called our villagers to witness what happened and they saw it.
So, strange things started happening in this community long ago, not now. “This particular tree fell when there was heavy windstorm and dried. Our community members started fetching the branches as firewood. When the proper body also dried off, we started cutting it with axes till when it stood up like this. It is more than two years we stated cutting it as firewood. On that day it ‘resurrected’, children who were there to fetch firewood in it started running. They claimed that the wood screamed and immediately stood up. We have not seen this type of thing before.” An Amuzu man, who gave his name simply as Elom, said the committee usually selects trees in the committee to be cut down because it generates revenue to the community. In most times, he noted, some of the trees would resist being cut down. “Once in a while, we select trees that we will cut down and sell to timber traders and generate money which our community would use for various projects. In fact, trees have become one of the major sources of revenue to our people. But some of these trees have refused to be cut down and we suspect that something may be responsible for it.
Last time we were cutting trees, there was a particular one that we cut and in the cause of slicing it we found skeleton, bunch of keys, and some small pots inside it. “We were shocked at the sight of it. We quickly mobilised the villagers to the scene so that everybody will witness what we saw. Strange things have been happening in this community. But, for that one that has refused to be cut down, it appears witches have entered into that one. We have left that until further notice. “As for this particular wood that ‘resurrected’, the tree was pulled down by wind about three years ago and it dried up there. But the reports we have is that while the children were cutting it with axe, it began to moan as if it is in deep pain.
They left it and moved some steps away from where they watched it stood up. “And as it was moaning, it started rising up gradually. We were all surprised to hear such and that was why we were there to see for ourselves. Our traditional ruler, chairman of forest committee, secretary of the town union, and many residents of the community have all gone to the wood to confirm the development. Our elders will meet and take a common stand on this matter, from there we will know what to do, but I must say that this is strange and shocking,” Elom said. The Secretary of Amuzu Town Union, Alobu Nelson, believes that something is behind the bizarre occurrence.
He wondered why a tree that fell three years ago, which has been used as firewood, could suddenly spring up again. He gave overview of when, why and how the tree fell down in the area in 2016. He said: “In 2016 around March, there was a windstorm that ravaged all parts of this state.
One secondary school in Idembia was affected; my own school was also affected. I am the proprietor of Nelson International School. Seven classroom blocks that I was building at the time was destroyed. I was building it gradually because of lack of funds. So, when the windstorm came, my entire roof was pulled down. “It’s about three years now. The nature of this tree now shows that something mysterious is here because any tree that falls even a year after two rainy seasons, you can’t even pull it out if it is a huge tree, it is what we have been experiencing. There is no tree that fell down three years ago in this community and even in any other communities in the state that has ‘resurrected’, this is the first and it’s shocking.
“This type of thing has not happened before except soft wood that we sold to people to cut down and that one refused to be cut down till now. We are even planning to bring in men of God to pray in order to pull it down because we are suspecting that something is behind its refusal to be cut down.
We feel that this particular tree is affecting our youths, some of them who are not prospering. Some of our youths have been redundant without progressing and I think this particular tree may be one of the causes of the inability of our youths to make meaningful progress. “I am planning to table it before our executives in the community when we have meeting.
We will look for men of God to cut down this tree because it’s now beyond us; we have tried all manner of things to make sure we cut it down.The tree is along the road and that is where accident used to happen. Dangote cement truck had an accident there; one Hilux van had terrible accident there too and many other vehicles. “During ‘ember months, accidents occur in this place frequently. If you want to go close to that tree that refuses to be cut down, it will look as if there is a furnace, the one they told us in the bible; the Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego type. It is unfortunate that we have continued to witness strange things in our community.”
But an 11-year-boy in the community, Nwankwo Osinachi, dismissed the belief by the people that the “resurrected” tree was mystic as, according to him, the soil on its taproot was responsible for its sudden standing. He said: “This tree has been lying on the ground for some years after it fell down, we have been fetching firewood from it.
We went to farm and came back only to hear that it has “resurrected” and I said this thing that happened is nothing. I told our people that it is the heavy soil on its taproot that made it to stand again. I suspect that it is the soil on its taproot that caused it.” Mmesoma, who was fetching firewood on the tree when the incident occurred, said she was surprised and shock to witness that. “Actually, I and my brother, Arinze, were fetching firewood from the wood, cutting it with an axe when it suddenly stood up. When that happened, we immediately left the wood and told people what we witnessed. It did not rise up gradually, it rose up suddenly with a speed,” she said.
Interestingly, her elder brother, Arinze, aligned with the thinking of Osinachi, who had earlier dismissed the belief that the tree actually ‘resurrected’. He rather said that the incident may have occurred as a result of the soil that was still on the root of the bush mangoes tree, though, he did not entirely rule out mystery in the strange occurrence. “Actually, I cannot rule out mystery in this thing, it may be mystic, but there is still soil on the taproot that can cause it to stand up the way it has done. People have been saying all manner of things about this incident; it is only God that can tell what is behind it.
“We were fetching fire firewood; I and my younger sister were cutting it with axe while it was lying on the ground the way it has been since it fell down in 2016. While cutting the wood with an axe, it suddenly sprang up and we were terrified and ran home. We told our parents and family members what happened and they were all in shock,” the boy stated. Arinze’s father, Nworie, said he is afraid of going to the tree since the incident occurred. He said he was shocked on hearing about the development and has not been able to go to his farm in that land to harvest or plant crops since then.
“My children came back from fetching the firewood and narrated to me what they witnessed. I am still shock till now on hearing such a thing. “Iwas told that people have been going there to see things for themselves but I cannot go there even though I have a farmland there. Our traditional ruler and other stakeholders of this community have all gone there but I can’t go because I am very surprise to hear such a thing. It is a thing I never heard of or seen ever since I was born,” he said. Traditional ruler of the autonomous community, HRH John Aloke, described the ‘resurrection’ of the deadwood as mystic and strange occurrence.
He said that elders of the community would meet and deliberate on the incident with a view to investigating it properly. He called for calm while promising that the mystery would be unravelled soon. Aloke disclosed that elders would place a curse on anyone that might have caused the incident and called for proper investigation into it.
He dismissed the insinuation in some quarters that heavy soil on the bottom of the wood might have forced it to stand up. “It is not soil on the taproot of this particular deadwood to spring up again as believed by some members of my community. “If they said it is the soil that caused it, let all of us join hands together, and pull it down to enable us to know if it can stand up again. You know people are afraid of what happened and they cannot agree to pull it down and I can’t even try it myself.
It is our local government chairman that came to me and asked me whether I have heard what happened in our community and I said no. He asked me to go and see for myself and that was why I went there to verify. “I came, saw for myself and I can tell you that I’ve not seen this type of thing since I became the traditional ruler of this autonomous community.
This is mystery because I have never heard nor seen a dead fallen tree resurrecting again. I will consult all the elders of this community and all of them will come and see for themselves what I saw. After this, I will report to the government because it is a mystery. We have no shrine or deity and this is a farmland that the incident occurred. I am shocked about this type of thing; I am very surprised and we will not joke with it. We will dig deep to know the cause of it. “Actually, terrible and strange things must be happening in every community that doesn’t obey God.
You can’t see this type of thing in a place that respect and obey God. If there is anybody in our community that caused this type of thing to happen, we will fish-out such person and sanction him/her accordingly because this thing didn’t just occur on its own. Some evildoers are everywhere and they perpetuate all manner of evil in their areas but we will not allow them in our own community.
If we allow this type of thing to happen in our community, more of it will occur. “There was similar incident that happened before this particular one but it has taken long. There was a standing life tree that someone cut down with a cutting machine. The tree refused to go down though it eventually went down. But before it went down, it resisted being cut down. When it eventually went down, the person that cut it down died.
“We will select elders of this community who will place a curse on the people that caused this type of thing so that it doesn’t reccur. There must be proper investigation to know why this happened and if someone is fetish, such a person shouldn’t bring it to our land because we cannot allow it,” the Igwe said. Meanwhile, a cleric from Ohafia Amuzu, Prophet Johnson Nwonu, said the incident was a sign that there was need for the people of the area to be united and love one another. Nwonu, who is the founder of Humanity Love and Power Ministry located in Amajim Amaeka community, a neighbouring town in the area, said he was not surprised on the development as, according to him, a lot has happened in the community.
He said: “I have been a prophet for 15 years now and sometime in 2004, I was led into one of our forests here. I spent seven days in the forest and the whole community was aware of it. I want to establish that this community is a land that has the hand of God. A miracle like this is to prove that Ebonyi State is truly the ‘Salt of the nation’. For me, it is not a surprise, and I thank God that it is happening in my own time.
“I pray that the whole world will know about this because this land is a blessed land. A lot of this has happened in this community and one thing we lack is unity and what I told our people is that this thing that happened is a symbol of unity and peace, not only to Amuzu community but to entire Ebonyi State.
“It is high time we began to tolerate one another as brothers and sisters and people of one voice. The mystery in this thing is that one of the problems of this community is lack of unity; we don’t have that love within ourselves. So, this miracle to me is a symbol to reawaken our spirit to begin to reunite ourselves. For me, this is not what people should be afraid of because I see it as a miracle, and I believe that the peace and unity of the land has risen from this event.
The dead thing of this community has risen as result of this miracle.” But an Abakaliki-based cleric, Prophet Favour Chibuike, expressed different opinion from Nwonu’s. He described the rising up of the deadwood as a sign that God was unhappy with the happenings in the area. He noted that it is very difficult to see a tree that fell down years ago and the body used as firewood to stand up again.
Chibuike, however, called on the people of the area and the state at large to seek the face of God. He also called for unity and tolerance among the people. “It is unheard of! I’ve never heard in my life that a tree that fell down years ago and was turned to firewood can stand up. This Amuzu community deadwood that ‘resurrected’ is not ordinary. It is either there is a deity that is in the community or similar strange thing happened in the past. I call it weird because it is not ordinary the way I look at it,” the pastor said.
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