The Consequences of Igba Okwa in Nsukka Tradition. Vol. 4, No. 6

Death, Madness and strange expression of sexual desire are believed to be verifiable consequences of Igba okwa. Verifiable because some persons said that they have testified to it. According to them, dying victim confesses her ordeals with regard to the acts of sexual promiscuity and marital infidelity. In their analysis of the consequences, they hold that if the husband of the adulteress is informed about the misdemeanor of his wife and he ignores the information, continues to live with her and eat the food prepared by her, he must surely die. However, they also believe that nothing happens to the man if he is the one sleeping with another woman. That is to say, men have immunity when it comes to igba okwa. Moreover, a woman who is in the habit of sleeping with other men can be freed from these consequences if she is able to kill goat for her kindred (umunna). This is done in an attempt to appease the gods. Hence it is called Igbugbe nna. Therefore, a rich woman who cannot resist the urge to be with other men could be free from these purported consequences as long as she provides goat for her kindred at home. Goat therefore becomes the possible route to marital infidelity and sexual misconduct at matrimonial homes without attracting any possible consequences.
Concrete instances have been made to prove the credibility of this belief but the logicality seems to be incoherent. A friend of mine whose mother has been advanced in age was coming back from market at night. Unfortunately for the poor woman, she fell into the gutter and got a severe injury on her right hand. She was ill for some months. When she was almost recovering, one of her sons’ wife invited her to come and rest. Few days after the holidays, she slept well but could not wake up. Two weeks after her burial, the son whose wife invited the mother, (who also have been sick for long) also kicked the bucket. May their souls rest in perfect peace. Amen! (an indication that it’s a true life story). After his own burial, the umunna conjectured the cause of death to be that the wife has been committing the sin of igba okwa while both the poor mother in law and the sick husband knew and kept quiet. They therefore summoned the wife and made it categorically clear to her that she has to perform the ritual of igbugbe nna (that is to kill goat and appease the gods for her infidelity in order to prevent further deaths). Of course, the woman refused and since then, we are still waiting for the next to die. Another concrete story is from the family of my distant cousin. Story has it that the mother gave birth to him and his younger sister, and started igba okwa, perhaps the husband was no longer virile. As a result of this, this virtuous man stopped eating her food. Consequentially, the purported unfaithful wife got fed up, abandoned the husband’s house and even her children. It was later discovered that she became a prostitute. Eventually, she got sexual transmitted diseases and gave up the ghost. This story authenticated the consequences of igba okwa as the medical records of her death was kept silent from the public. The issue of igba okwa and its consequential realities remain a poser until next series. May God continue to enlighten us in his wisdom!

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