While Christians were celebrating Easter, Abatete community, in Idemili North Local Government Area of Anambra State, was thrown into confusion and fear, following the disappearance of the popular Omaliko deity.
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Respite, however, came as a police crack team, attached to the Ogidi Police Division, intercepted a gang which took away the deity.
According to a member of the community, who pleaded for anonymity, some people entered the shrine, took away the head of Omaliko deity, its staff of authority and symbol of authority.
The source said the Chief Priest (Eze Muo) of Omaliko broke the news of the stealing of the deity to the elders of Abatete community, who immediately reported the theft to the police.
The source further disclosed that the chief priest told the elders and adherents of Omaliko that it was possible that those who stole the deity wanted to collect ransom before its release and expressed surprise that they were not afraid of the consequences of their action.
However, four persons have been arrested by policemen attached to Ogidi police station in connection with the stolen deity. A police source, who pleaded anonymity, said that three young men were arrested for being in possession of the deity, while the fourth suspect, a pastor, was nabbed later, based on the confession of the suspects.
The source said that the suspects confessed that they were asked to steal the Omaliko deity by a pastor of an undisclosed church, revealing that the police had returned the deity rescued from the suspects to elders of Abatete community, while the suspects would be charged to court soon.
Omaliko is one of the popular deities in Anambra State, in the league of the popular Okija and Ntoko shrines. Yearly, indigenes of Abatete return home for the annual Omaliko Abatete, linked to the deity.
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