Tag Archives: Arochukwu

A Re-Emerging Scam: A Review of The Jews of Nigeria Part 2


In the last part of this article, I gave an overview on the history of the failed “Oriental Hypothesis” that has re-emerged in this modern day immigration scam. The filmmaker, Jeff Lieberman deceived people into thinking that Igbo people have been in the dark for all these years about where they come from. In fact, he goes so far as to state early in the film that:

“It is only recently with the arrival of the internet that things began to change. Young Igbo like Samuel began researching their roots and comparing Igbo traditions with Hebrew traditions.” – Jeff Lieberman

This of course ignores the various debates that took place in the early 1900s, and the fact that “by 1940 then, the Oriental hypothesis was to all intents and purposes dead as a serious explanation of Igbo culture history.”

SOURCE: “The Culture History of the Igbo Speaking Peoples of Nigeria” by Adiele Afigbo,West African Culture Dynamics: Archaeological and Historical Perspectives, page 309

But what I intend on doing in this part is to take a look at each of the claims that are made in the film and test the veracity. The results of my research have been posted below, as well as the title of each source used. Furthermore, many of the books and articles have been uploaded to this site for everyone to be able to see them for themselves. It has taken me a few years to build up my collection of Igbo related documents and books,  and it took me a few months in order to be able to put this all together. I would urge those who are truly interested in learning Igbo history and culture to take the time to read the sources and come to their own conclusions. The topics that will be evaluated will be the following: Traditions of Origin, Eri, Migration Routes, Circumcision, Kosher Diet Customs, Sabbath & Other Holy Days and Concept & Names of God.


According to the “Igbo Jews” most Igbos are aware of their “Jewish origin”. Samuel even goes so far as to say that he’s “always known that Igbos are Jews.” However, just a few second later he says the following:

“I can’t imagine myself practicing Judaism without going to the Internet cause I go there to study.” – Samuel

How in fact could this be the case? If he was truly interested the traditional religion of the Igbo people, then why didn’t he consider going to the Igbo traditional priests who have a wealth of knowledge of those traditions? They aren’t hard to find. In fact, you can even find them given interviews and press releases for local Nigerian newspapers.

Traditional Priest of Umueri

Traditional Priest of Umueri

What about the local universities, which have published an abundance of academically sound research papers?  What about his own parents? Certainly that’s the primary source of the vast majority of people to learn about their ancestral traditions right? Why does he have to resort to going to random internet links to find out about his own origins?

“Samuel is looking towards Israel as the birthplace of his ancestors. Its a notion he and so many other young Igbo first heard growing up in Nigeria, an oral history passed down through generations of the Igbo people” – Jeff Lieberman

Exactly what oral history is Lieberman speaking of?  Of which communities and how many generations? Lets compare this statement to some pronounced scholarship on this issue:

“In the Igbo area, three different types of traditions of origins can be distinguished. The first claims that the community concerned migrated from an important kingdom outside the Igbo area, such as Benin or Igala. The second claims that the community migrated from a place within the Igbo area, while the last type typically claims that the community migrated from nowhere. Scholars have used these traditions of origin in two different ways: either to come to conclusions as to where the Igbo as a group came from, or to decide on the relative importance of the different groups within the Igbo area”

SOURCE: “Who are the Igbo? – Searching for Origins” by Dmitri van den Bersselaar, page 40

Does this have any truth at all? Lets take a look at sample of some of the major clans and areas of Igboland:

Aboh – Migrants from Benin Empire
SOURCE:  “Views on the Origins, Structure and Hierarchy of Some Niger Delta Mud Sculpture Styles of Southern Nigeria” by  Ese Odokuma (Department of Fine / Applied Arts, Faculty of Arts, Delta State University, Abraka, P.M.B 1 Nigeria)

Agbor – Migrants from Benin Empire
SOURCE:  “Views on the Origins, Structure and Hierarchy of Some Niger Delta Mud Sculpture Styles of Southern Nigeria” by  Ese Odokuma (Department of Fine / Applied Arts, Faculty of Arts, Delta State University, Abraka, P.M.B 1 Nigeria)

Abiriba – Migrants from other parts of Igboland & Enna (Efikland)
SOURCE: Nigerian History, Politics, And Affairs: The Collected Essays Of Adiele Afigbo  By Adiele Eberechukwu Afigbo & Toyin Falola, page 132

Afikpo (Ehugbo) – Migrants from Egu & Nkalu Igbo groups
SOURCE: “Origin of Afikpo (Ehugbo)” By Gabriel Mbey

Arochukwu clan (responsible for over 100 settlements in Nigeria) – Migrants from the Igbo heartland, Cross Rivers area, Ekoiland and natives from Ibibioland
SOURCE: The Slave Trade and Culture in the Bight of Biafra: An African Society in the Atlantic World by G. Ugo Nwokeji, pages 26-27

Anioma clan- Migrants from Nri, Ogboli, & Nteje groups of Igbo, and Benin Kingdom
SOURCE: “Anioma” by Emeka Esogbue

Adazi-Nnukwu – Did not come from anywhere, and sprang from the earth
SOURCE: Traditional Igbo Beliefs & Practices by Professor IK N Ogbukagu

Asaba – Migrants from Awka group of Igboland, Igalaland & Benin Kingdom
SOURCE: “The Traditional Government and Institutions of Asaba” – Asaba National Association,USA

Egbuoma – Migrants from Umuehi & Umu-uzu villages in Igboland
SOURCE: The Paragon of Civilization by Sylvanus A Enworom, page 33

Ekpeye (Akpaohia) clan – Migrants from Benin Empire & other parts of Igboland
SOURCE: “Ekpeye History”– Usama Ekpeye USA, Inc

Ika clan – Migrants from Benin Empire, Ishan & other parts of Igboland
SOURCE: “The Ika People” by Onyeche Ifeanyi Joseph, PhD

Mbaise clan – Created by God in their current land (Orie-Ukwu Oboama na Umunama to be exact)
SOURCE:  African Christianity Rises Volume One: A Critical Study of the Catholicism by David Asonye Ihenacho, page 8

Neni – Settlers from Umudioka in Igboland
SOURCE: “The Politics of Igbo Origin & Culture” by Dr. Nwankwo T. Nwaezeigwe

Nnewi – Migrants from Orlu in Igboland
SOURCE:  Structure Plan for Nnewi & Satellite Towns by UN-HABITAT, page 19

Ngwa – The Igbo village of Umunoha (near Owerri) in Igboland
SOURCE: Palm Oil and Protest: An Economic History of the Ngwa Region, South-Eastern by Susan M. Martin, page 18

Ogba – Migrants from Benin Empire
SOURCE: “Ali Ogba History” – UmuOgba-USA

Oka (Awka) – They grew out of the soil
SOURCE:  Who are the Oka people by Nevbechi Emma Anazovba, P.h.D, page 15

Orlu clan – No traditions of coming from any other place
SOURCE:  The Igbo of Southeast Nigeria by Victor C Uchendu

Okigwe clan – No traditions of coming from any other place
SOURCE:  The Igbo of Southeast Nigeria by Victor C Uchendu

Oguta – Migrants from Benin Empire
SOURCE:  “Oguta Traditions” – Oguta National Association, USA

Onicha (Onitsha) – Migrants from Benin Empire
SOURCE:  “Views on the Origins, Structure and Hierarchy of Some Niger Delta Mud Sculpture Styles of Southern Nigeria” by  Ese Odokuma (Department of Fine / Applied Arts, Faculty of Arts, Delta State University, Abraka, P.M.B 1 Nigeria)

Owerri – Migrants from Umuori Village, Uratta in Igboland
SOURCE:  “History of Owerri”  from the Palace ( Ibari) of Eze Owere His Majesty Pharm. (Dr) Emmanuel Emenvonu Niemanze Ozuruigbo of Owerri

Ukwuani – Oguta village in Igboland
SOURCE:  Studies in Ibo Political Systems: Chieftaincy and Politics in Four Niger States by Ikenna Nzimiro, page 237

Uratta – No history of coming from anywhere else
SOURCE: “Historical Promenade on Uratta” by Professor Felix K. Ekechi

Umueri (Aguleri, Nri, Enugwu-Ukwu, Enugwu-Umeh, Nawfia, Nnokwa, Oraerim, etc) clan – Igalaland
SOURCE: The History of Aguleri by M.C.M, Idigo, page 5


Its clear from this sample of some of the major areas in Igboland that all of these communities claim descent from:
A. Other parts of Igboland
B. Neighboring ethnic groups & kingdoms
C. The earth itself

So exactly what are the communities that have “oral traditions” of Israelite ancestry? And if so, how old are these “oral traditions”?

Jeff Lieberman then goes on to make a very revealing statement. He states the following:

“What simplified the ease of transitioning into this Judaism was that it was somewhat familiar to Samuel. Prayers were made in the name of Jesus. And many of the evangelical elements of Christianity were blended into Judaism, making it palatable to once-Christians. But yet this mixture of Judaism and Christianity made it theoretically completely contradictory. Despite that, the Messianic or Sabbatarian movement remains quite popular in Nigeria, seemingly attracting large fund and large amounts of people. It was a wrong turn for Samuel, and many once Christians, but one quite common on the Nigerian road to Judaism.” –  Jeff Lieberman

Later in the film, one of the Igbo Jews also reveals the path that they took:

“Six years ago we started from Messianic, before we grow up to practicing Judaism.” Elder Habbakuk

If people in Nigeria decide to convert to Judaism, the only thing they would be returning to would be the roots of CHRISTIANITY, not of their native religions, which are still being practiced to this day. This is further demonstrated by the statement of one of the neighbors of Habbakuk who says:

“I used to be very scared of him, because of the religion. I don’t know the kind of religion, my first time of seeing such religion” – Johnleo Raymond

Every Nigerian knows exactly how their native religion looks like (even enough to put them in Nollywood films), so why would this woman claim that this was the first time of her seeing “such a religion” like this unless of course it was foreign?

2. ERI

One of the most “convincing” pieces of “evidence” that the Igbo Jews have to offer for their Israelite origin is that they are descended from a man named Eri, who happens to share the same name as one of the sons of the Biblical Gad. They give all types of details about this man named Eri:

“According to the history, Eri is the forefather, the ancestor that we had. He came with his brothers down to the East and established his first home.” – Igbo Jewish man

“In exploring a Jewish connection, many Igbo also point out that a figure named Eri is frequently mentioned in the Old Testament. To determine if the Igbo ancestor could be the same Eri of Biblical times, we can gain a few facts from the Old Testament.  Jacob had 12 sons, the 7th son was named Gad. Gad himself had 7 sons,  the fifth by the name of Eri .  Eri is only mentioned in one other place in the Bible, in Numbers, reveleaving that Eri had himself multiplied, and Gad and his descendants now numbered over 40,000. Jacob and his 12 sons, and his vast number of descendants became the 12 tribes of Israel. 10 of these tribes, including that of Gad,  made home in Samaria, today the northern part of present day Israel. In the year 722 B.C, the tribes were attacked by Assyria, and quickly conquered. Sent into exile, they scattered throughout the land. And it is here that we lose track of the 10 lost tribes Including Gad, Eri and their families. Could Eri and his descendants have ended up in Western Africa? In Nigeria, the belief is yes. And there are many theories on just how they got there.” – Jeff Lieberman

When you visit Aguleri, Nri, there’s many evidence to show that is where they first, our ancestors migrated to” – Igbo Jewish man

The palace of Eri, has stayed over a thousand plus.” – Yermiyahu

Its a small house they built for a man. That’s what they mean – Aguleri.”

There’s burial ground of Eri, in Aguleri.” – Yermiyahu

Maybe the person that came is the descendant of Eri. It could be Eri, it could be the descendant of Eri. But all I know is that the lineage of Eri came down to Nigeria” – Igbo Jewish man

Does the Biblical Eri have any relationship whatsoever to the one spoken of here? Lets see:

a. They are separated by thousands of years

The Biblical Eri would have lived nearly 3000 years ago, while the Nigerian one lived a few hundred years ago (which is even admitted by one of the Igbo Jews)

b. They are separated by thousands of miles

The distance between modern day Nigeria & modern day Israel is over 4000 kilometers (2500 miles)


c. The pronunciations of their names are completely different

The pronunciation of the Nigerian Eri is “Air-EE”

The pronunciation of the Hebrew Eri is “Air-Eye”

SOURCE: BIBLICAL PRONUNCIATION GUIDE compiled by Lana Beyer, Episcopal Church of the Resurrection, Austin, TX

d. The stories about them are completely different

“The Umundri tradition is that they come from the ruling stock of the Igala and are thus connected with the Atah of Idah”

SOURCE: Jeffreys, MDW, The Divine Umunri King: Africa: Journal of the International African Institute, Vol. 8, No. 3 (Jul., 1935), pp. 346-354

“The Aguleri people originated from Igara (sic) and migrated to their present abode about three or four centuries ago. The leader Eri, a warrior, took his people on a war expedition, and after long travel and many fights, established his camp at Eri-aka, near odanduli stream, a place which lies between Ifite and Igbezunu Aguleri. Eri, with his soldiers, went out regularly from his settlement to Urada, Nnadi and other surrounding towns on war raids and captured many of the inhabitants. These were the Ibo-speaking people and by mixing with them and inter-marriage, the immigrants adopted the language.”

SOURCE: The History of Aguleri by M.C.M, Idigo, page 5 (Published in 1955)

“According to the tradition of the Nri themselves, a man of Igala stock from Idah called Eri, son of Achado, a native doctor and hunter, came down the Omambala River in search of the River at a place later called Aguleri (Aguleri Igbo), and begat a number of children, to whom he passed on the secrets of his arts. His eldest son, who succeeded to the paraphernalia of his trade, was called Nriifikwuanim.”

SOURCE: The Awka People by Amanke Okafor,  page 53

Its pretty safe to say that these two people have NO RELATIONSHIP WHATSOEVER, and linking is another fraudulent attempt to fabricate an Israelite lineage.


One of the most entertaining segments of the film was where some of the Igbo Jews attempted to explain how their ancestors ended up in Nigeria:

“I know from birth I’m a Jew, only I know that my forefathers missed the way. They missed the way by coming down to Nigeria and decided to behave like Nigerians. We are not Nigerians, I am sure of that” – Igbo Jewish woman from Nnewi

“The 10 lost tribes of Israel are scattered all over the world. And they believe some of them will be in Africa, Western Africa.” – Samuel

“Well Israel is not far away from Nigeria…very close to Nigeria. They enter Ethiopia, enter Cameroon, and Cameroon with our place.”

“Through Asia, and now they migrated to….through Sudan to Africa.”

“I don’t want to sound racist. If I saw Abraham is Black, then I’ll be saying his white descendants are not his descendants. And if I say he’s White, then I may be saying he cannot have Black descendants. So I think it has to do with environmental factors.” – Samuel

“When the Jerusalem was destroyed, and we were  dispersed,  we set-up…stayed in Egypt. then Ethiopia, and the travel continued until we find ourselves scattered all over the place.”

“It was a mixed bag of Israelites, that migrated down here. They moved..majority..moved from North Africa, Morocco, passed through Mali, Northern Nigeria, entire length of Nigeria, then Igboland. In not very very ancient times, the traffic between Africa south of the Sahara, and north of the Sahara was quite immense. The Sahara desert was not a barrier. There was serious traffic. We are seeing evidence that Jewish people participated in the foundations of some of the empires that existed in Sub-saharan Africa. We have Judar Pasha. I don’t think anyone but a Jew could have answered the name Judar Pasha. He lead Morocco’s armies against the Songhai Empire. So its more likely for Jews to be participating in the traffic, in the trade” – Remy Ilona

Not only can they not get a coherent story together (coming through different routes as well as time periods hundreds of years apart), but its pretty clear that they are making up the stories as they go along. And not good stories either. To explain the dramatic difference in phenotype between Middle Easterners & Sub-saharan Africans, Samuel insinuates that their skin must have gotten darker as they moved closer to the equator (which sounds pretty racist by the way). The woman from Nnewi claims that she’s not from Nigeria and that her forefathers got lost and miraculously ended up in Nigeria. For some odd reason, her Nnewi ancestors forgot to mention that in their oral history when they stated they came from Orlu in Igboland. She goes on to claim that “Israel is not very far away away from Nigeria”, despite it being over 4000 kilometers (2500 miles) apart, and separated by the largest desert, most inhabitable in the world. The same desert that was able to keep the Roman, Ottoman, & Macedonian empires from penetrating further than North Africa was not really much of a barrier at all, according to Remy Ilona. He also makes the claim that Judar Pasha must have been Jewish because of his name, despite the fact that he was a Spaniard who was born a Catholic but then converted to Islam.

But the most damning question is that if Igbo people are descendants of Jews who migrated from Israel, why don’t they have any type of relationship with any of the other groups in Africa that claim the same thing such as the Lemba of Zimbabwe, Beta Israel of Ethiopia, or Yibir of Somalia? Why is that that until now, they had never heard of such groups although its pretty clear that if their narratives were true, that they would have either been part of them at some time or at least encountered them? And if they did come from the Sephardic populations in Northern Africa, why is there record of such a migration on either end? Furthermore, why don’t any of their surrounding neighbors have any stories of wandering Hebrews or Jews passing through their land? The only people in Nigeria that share some of the migration routes that the Igbo Jews are claiming would be the Fulani people, who have populations in West, Central, North and East Africa.


Probably the argument that is used the most as “proof” of a Jewish origin of Igbo people is the fact that they circumcise their infant males:

“People who generally mention that Igbo people came from Israel talk about circumcision on the 8th day, which is universal among the Igbos” – Igbo Jewish man

Unfortunately, what they forgot to mention is the fact that circumcision on the 8th day is NOT universal in Igboland. There are places like Afikpo where it could be done as late as the teenage years. But when it was done in Igboland, the delay was typically 1-8 days after birth. The delay of both the circumcision and naming of the child in Igbo culture was done mainly because of the high infant mortality rate in the days before colonialism, and that practice was shared amongst many African groups.  There is no covenant whatsoever mentioned when the rite is done, and the foreskin is not even preserved, as it often is in the Jewish rite. Furthermore, the burial of the umbilical cord (Ili Alo) actually has far more significance than circumcision and actually does represent a covenant, between the child and Ala (the Earth deity), as well as the ancestors. Furthermore, they also intentionally leave out that both MALE & FEMALE circumcision was a part of the traditional society until recently, which is certainly not apart of the Levitical code.

SOURCE: “Infancy Rites among the Igbo of Nigeria” by Christian Onyenaucheya Uchegbue (Department of Religious and Cultural Studies, University of Calabar, Nigeria)

Unfortunately, female circumcision is one aspect of the tradition that’s still being practiced to this day, with figures estimating that nearly half of women reportedly still undergoing it.

SOURCE: “Female genital cutting in southern urban and peri-urban Nigeria: self-reported validity, social determinants and secular decline” by R. C. Snow, T. E. Slanger, F. E. Okonofua, F. Oronsaye and J. Wacker.  Tropical Medicine and International Health volume 7 no 1 pp 91±100 january 2002

Last but not least, the two methods of circumcision are extremely different. Especially since in the Orthodox Jewish circumcision tradition, the mohel (the Jewish priest doing the circumcision rite) performs what is known as metzitzah b’peh, or oral suction, where they takes a mouthful of wine and then his mouth around the base of the boy’s penis and uses suction to clean the wound. This is ritual is not done anywhere in Igboland. A rabbi explains this practice in this video:

This practice has recently been the center of some controversy in New York Ciy.


Another claim that is made amongst the Igbo Jews is that they share the same dietary customs as those prescribed in the Levitical code:

“As a child, my father taught us, we do not eat these fishes without scales, how did he know that? We don’t eat pigs, how did he know that?” – Igbo Jewish woman

The following is a list of the foods that Igbos traditionally have eaten that are specifically banned in the book of Leviticus:

“Unpure” animals that Igbos eat:
Snail (ejuna), Lizard (Ngwele), Bush pig (Ezi ofia/ohia), Crayfish (Isha/usha), Crab (Igbeni, nshiko), Beetle (ebe), Rabbit (ewi)

The following is a list  he foods that Igbos traditionally have eaten that are NOT specifically banned in the book of Leviticus, but would have been, because of their characteristics:

Unnamed “unpure” animals that Igbos eat:
Squirrel (Osa/Osia, Uze, Ukpepe), Dog (Nkita), Hyena (Edi), Snake (Agwo), Porcupine (Ebinitu)

SOURCE: “Igbo Traditional Food System: Documentation, Uses and Research Needs”, Leviticus 11 & Deuteronomy 14

As one can see, the traditional Igbo clearly diet violates the Kashrut, which is the Jewish dietary law. Ironically, Samuel actually confirms this when he states the following:

“Grasscutters. They are a kind of rodent. They are like rats, but they are larger, and they live in the wild. So its a very popular meat in Africa, especially in the Igboland. We call it Nchi. And it is believed that when you have a guest, and you give him grasscutter, you’ve really honored your guest. But its not Kosher, so I stopped eating it. We still eat our African food but we make it Kosher” – Samuel

Greater Cane Rat, a traditional Igbo delicacy

Greater Cane Rat, a traditional Igbo delicacy

The fact that Samuel admits that they have to make their traditional food “kosher” means that the whole concept is one that is not native to their culture. The same woman who lied about the kosherness of Igbo foods tried to make an argument for ritual slaughter being the same way as done in Judaism:

“Even the way we kill our animals, which is killed in a kosher way” – Igbo Jewish woman

“Ritual cleansing – using of birds, animal sacrifice, they slaughter” – Igbo Jewish woman

However, this is negated by the fact that (a) the animals that are killed aren’t “kosher” and (b) ritual cleansing is a worldwide phenomenon.


A common trait amongst all Jewish communities worldwide is the observation of a day of rest on the 7th day of the week. One of the Igbo jews makes an extremely misleading statement in the film:

“In Igboland we have resting days” – Igbo Jewish woman

What she is saying is in fact true. Igboland still does have resting days. The only problem is that there was no such thing as a Shabat (Sabbath) in Omenala. In fact, Igbos didn’t even have a 7 day week, they had a 4 day week (comprised of Eke, Orie, Afor, and Nkwo respectively). The “sacred day” not only differed by town, but also was particular to the deity in which a person was dedicated to. For example, devotees of Amadioha or Anyanwu would perform certain rituals on Afor day. Devotees of Owumiri spirits like Ogbuide or Urashi would perform their rituals on Orie day.  Titled men and women also had their respective days of rest and meditation.

SOURCE: “Worship in Ibo Traditional Religion” by Edmund Ilogu (Numen, Vol. 20)

Another interesting statement is made by Jeff Lieberman:

“Whether its Shabat or Jewish holidays like Sukkot and Passover, each is greeted by Igbo gathering together from all corners” – Jeff Lieberman

What’s ironic about Lieberman’s statement is the fact that when goes and analyzes festivals and holidays in Igboland, you will not find any that trace their origin to Israel or relate to any historical events of the Jewish people. Celebration of Jewish holidays such as Hanukkah, Purim, Sukkrot, Shavuot, or Pesach are completely foreign to Igbo culture. Stories about the Exodus from Egypt, Destruction of the Temple, exiles to Persia, Babylon, etc are completely absent from Igbo mythology and folklore.

The vast majority of traditional Igbo festivals are related to agricultural cycles, culminating in the largest of all, the New Yam Festival. As stated in Indigenous Knowledge Systems in Igbo Traditional Agriculture:

“Traditional festivals in Igboland are mostly linked to stages in the farming operations and activities. They therefore serve as the farmer’s calendar of events both within the farm and off the farm. They mark the period of procurement of planting materials and farm implements, the time to tend the crops, the time to harvest and store farm produce, and the time to relax and celebrate any success achieved during the farming year. The sequence of events that take place in the farming system is aligned with the different festivals that take place during the year. The traditional Igbo society does not have any names of months, rather it is the festivals and the times they are held that guide them in their farming operations.”

SOURCE: Indigenous Knowledge Systems in Igbo Traditional Agriculture by Francis O C Nwonwu page 301

Examples of some of these festivals include the Festival of the New Year (Ikpuko), the Festival of the Grasshopper(Agugu ukpana), the New Yam Festival (Ufioioku, Iri ji, Ikeji), the Asala Festival, the Palm wine tappers Festival (Agbu Nkwu), etc. Agricultural deities are thanked during all of the aforementioned festivals. Other festivals that are dedicated to traditional Igbo deities include the Olisa, Agwu, Ekwensu, Ani & Ikenga festivals.  Festivals dedicated to women include the Ogbe Festival. Other festivals include the Ufala festival, the Alo festival for Ozo titleholders, & the Alulo Mmuo festival.

SOURCE: Indigenous Knowledge Systems in Igbo Traditional Agriculture by Francis O C Nwonwu Chapter 12

An integral part of nearly all of these festivals is the presence of masquerades. Mmanwu, as they are called in Igboland are performed by secret societies and represent ancestral spirits as well as deities. During the festivals, they provide entertainment as well as protection to those in attendance. This central part of Igbo culture is not found anywhere in Judaism or Jewish society.


Several attempts in the film are made to equate the concepts of the Supreme Being in Judaism with the one in the Igbo tradition.

In the beginning of the film, Samuel states: “My parents are not Christians, neither are they Muslims. Like my father, I know he only believes that there is God, and when he wakes up, he prays to God and that is all. I’ve never seen my parents go to church.” But what is really telling is what he does not say. Samuel never once goes and states the name that his father used for God. Was it Hashem? Was it Jehovah? Or was it Chukwu, Chineke or Obasi, which are some of the traditional names of God in Igbo listed below:

42 Igbo names & epithets for the Supreme Being:

Chukwu – The Great Chi (Edeh, pg 133)
Aka – The Origin, the Antiquity and the First One (Umeh, pg 129)
Okasi-Akasi – The Highest Highest (Edeh, pg 121)
Okike Chi – Sharer that shares Chi (Umeh, pg 129)
Obasi – (Onunwa, pg 27)
Ife-Anyi – For whom nothing is impossible (Edeh, pg 122)
Okike Uwa – Creator of the World (Umeh, pg 129)
Onwa n’etiri oha – The moon that shines for all (Udoye, pg 39)
Awuwa walu ife – Cutter that cuts things (Umeh, pg 130)
Eze-Igwe – King of Heaven (Edeh, pg 121)
Na Okike kelu ife – Creator that creates things (Umeh, pg 130)
Okaike – Most Powerful (Edeh, pg 122)
Anyanwu na Agbala – The Sun & the Mighty Spirit that holds the world in place (Agu, pg 23)
Ofu – The First of all that exists (Umeh, pg 130)
Chineke – (Edeh, pg 33)
Onye no n’elu, ogodo ya n-akp n’ala – One who dwells above and his wrapper stretches to every part of the world (Onunwa, pg 27)
Odenigbo – Whose fame resounds everywhere (Edeh, pg 122)
Ezechitaoke – King of the spirits & creation (Onunwa, pg  45)
Omacha – (Edeh, pg 33)
Anya Ukwu Na-Ele Uwa – The big eye that sees the entire world (Onunwa, pg 27)
Chidiokike – (Edeh, pg 33)
Eze-ogholigho-anya – King of knowledge who knows all (Edeh, pg 122)
Anyanwu – Eye of Light (Edeh, pg 125)
Obibie Okwachi – Great destroyer & repairer (Onunwa, pg 27)
Eke-ji-mma – Creator who holds goodness (Edeh, pg 122)
Ikpo Nkpume – The impregnable rock (Onunwa, pg 27)
Ike-ife – Bringing into being, originating or causing without pre-existent material (Edeh, pg 122)
Onye-Okike – Being who creates (Edeh, pg 121)
Ife – The Light (Umeh, pg 135)
Omelu-k’okwulu – Who keeps to his words (Edeh, pg 122)
Nna Ife Nta – The Father of the Small Light (Umeh, pg 135)
Otu Aka Oru Mba – One who points from one spot and it stretches to any part of the universe (Onunwa, pg 26)
Obasi Di’Elu – God that Lives in the Sky (Umeh, 133)
Igwe ka Ala – Heaven above the earth (Udoye, pg 39)
Chukwu Abiama – God the Revealer of Wisdom (Umeh, pg 135)
Olisa (Edeh, pg 33)
Olisa Ebili Uwa – God the mystic tide of the Universe (Umeh, pg 133)
Osebuluwa – Lord who carries the world (Edeh, pg 122)
Agbala ji igwe – The pillar holding up the sky (Udoye, pg 39)
Eke ekelu Igwe na Ana – The Creator who created heaven and earth  (Udoye, 37)
Amassi Amassi – Known but never fully known (Edeh, pg 122)
Onozu-ebe-nine – Present everywhere (Edeh, pg 122)

Why are there no names or titles that resemble any of the Jewish names or titles for God?


Resolving the Prevailing Conflicts Between Christianity and African (Igbo) Traditional Religion Through Inculturation by Edwin Anaegboka Udoye

After God is Dibia Vol. 1 by John Umeh

Towards an Igbo Metaphysics by Father Emmanuel Edeh

A Handbook of African Religion & Culture by Professor Udobata Onunwa

The Book of Dawn & Invocations by Ogonna Agu

Besides comparing the names and titles, we must also consider the nature of God in both traditions.

“The Igbo people, by nature and tradition, they believe in the worship of one God” – Pinchas

Is this the whole truth? Lets hear from a famous practitioner of the Igbo traditional spirituality:

“Broadly speaking, there are two related concepts of God: Chineke, and Chi.

The first idea is the Supreme Being, God, the Creator, the universal God. He is the same for all persons and races and nations. He has no angels or holy messengers because he needs none. He can do everything. He created the whole cosmos alone and without fatigue. He is not human and does not possess an animal nature that would need food and drink; our sacrifices are symbolic. No one has ever seen him physically and no artist dare portray Him in wood, bronze, or painting. He is a spirit and communicates to man not in body but in spirit.

We believe that man is different from lower animals only in one primary sense: God left in every man a portion of his breath. When this element leaves the edifice called man, the residue is a mere matter. From this belief we derive our idea of personal gods, called Chi in Ibo (Igbo) language. There are as many Chi as there are personalities. No one Chi is like another, because no two persons are identical. A rich man’s Chi is rich and a poor man’s Chi is poor. A man’s Chi is masculine while a woman’s Chi is feminine. A man’s Chi is equal to that man. This personal god does not leave its master until death. It is a personal guard to which God entrusted every human being.

It is a common saying that a man is as great as his Chi. Thus in art, the personal god of a baby is represented as a baby. This god is visible through the individual persons. Hence it is not an invisible being, although it cannot be separated from the person without causing death to the individual. This is the concept of Igbo spirituality which has been most seriously misunderstood and misrepresented both by foreigners and some Igbo who are trying to interpret its relation to the social order.”

SOURCE: My Africa By Maazi Mbonu Ojike (1946) pages 182-183

From the account of a man who was a practitioner of the Igbo traditional spiritual system, the Igbo concept of God does not have angels, prophets or the need to receive offerings or sacrifices. Furthermore, Chukwu never needed to have holy books, never had a chosen people and never declared any particular land to be a holy land. The Igbo concept of God as being simultaneously an internal, personal force, as well as a collective one is virtually identical to the concepts of Atman and Brahman in Hinduism.

“The Igbo man has one Supreme God called Chukwu, who deserves worship alone” – Remy Ilona

Did the traditional Igbo people actually practice monotheism? Perhaps, we should confer with one of its respected traditional priests for some insights:

“Is the Igbo a polytheist? Yes, and he is closer the truth about God than the sneering, ignorant monotheist. We saw above that God is both one and many, just like the Army. The Army is a Unit with functional subdivisions. The same holds true for God. It is one Spirit, one Unit whose functional parts are Gods or Spirits. The functional parts of the Army are hierarchized. The same is true of the Gods. It is meaningless to assert that I applied to the Army for help to put out a fire in my house. The correct statement is that I applied to the Fire Brigade of the Army for help to put out a fire in my house. It is the Fire Brigade of the Army, not the whole Army, which handles fire-fighting. Similarly, we apply for help to a God in charge of a particular function, say, procreation (Akwalï Ömümü). To pray to a God makes sense, but it is foolishness and ignorance to pray to God. To worship or venerate God is inefficacious, but to worship or venerate a God yields immediate results. Our ancestors knew this and that is why they were ö-göö o-lee. Their prayers to a given God always yielded the desired result.

We repeat: Before the advent of Christianity in our midst, the Igbo mindset was that God is both one and many, just like the Army. The Christian mind-warping strategy was to assert that there is only One God, the Christian God, which is the God of all Gods. Man’s salvation lay in venerating and worshipping this Christian super-God. But the sober truth is that the Christian God is just one among the many Gods. The attempt to reject the Gods and cling to some super-God unsettles the mind because that mindset goes against all our observations. Can the world in front of our eyes be the creation of one super-God? No! Nature confirms the reality of Gods or fashioning powers, but not the reality of one super-God.”

SOURCE: Odinani: The Igbo Religion by Ezeana (Priest of the Earth Deity) Emmanuel Kaanaenechukwu Anizoba, page 35-36

We can see clearly from this statement that the traditional Igbo worldview would not be classified as Monotheism in any sense of the word. It would be far closer to Polytheism, and more specifically, Pantheism, which is defined as the view that everything is part of an all-encompassing immanent abstract God; or that the universe, or nature, and God are equivalent. The Igbo concept of God doesn’t have much in common with the Jewish one.

In summary, Jeff Lieberman & the Igbo Jews have yet to name any villages or clans that have oral traditions of origin from Israel, have yet to show any relationship between the Eri of the Bible and the person who was the founder of the Umueri clan, and cannot demonstrate a coherent or realistic migration route from Israel to their current location. Furthermore, it becomes clear with proper analysis that there is no link whatsoever between Igbos and Jews when it comes to circumcision rites, dietary customs, holy days, and concept and names of God. Its becoming more and more clear that Jeff Lieberman & the Igbo Jews are attempting to scam people, especially the Jewish communities in America & Israel by fabricating history and facts that don’t exist. In part three, I will cover the following claims:  Linguistics, Christianity & Igbo Tradition, Family & Village Traditions, Artifacts, Igbos & The State of Israel, “Expert” Opinions & DNA Testing.


Interview with Obinna Ozoigbo, author of “The Dust Must Settle”


In the last few weeks, I have been reading a great book written by my friend, Obinna Ozoigbo, titled The Dust Must Settle. What attracted me to the book was that it was the first novel that I have ever seen mention my ancestral homeland, Arochukwu. When I got a chance to read it, it offered so much more than I would have ever imagined. This novel is like 3 books in one, and follows a West African family through multiple generations, starting at the advent of the colonial era. In essence, it picks up where Chinua Achebe’s classic Things Fall Apart leaves off, and also fills in the gap before and after Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Half of a Yellow Sun. You could almost say that it is like a modern day version of Alex Haley’s Roots. One of the things that engaged me the most was the historical context in which the novel is set. You have to see what happened to some people of African descent in the UK, USA and Nigeria at the same time in the early to mid 1900s. My favorite scene, in particular, was set when two of the descendants of Uzo Ogbonna attempt to return to Arochukwu. The conversation amongst the elders and their subsequent action is a classic! Rather than writing a normal review, I decided to interview Obinna. Check out the interview below.

The Author of "The Dust Must Settle", Obinna Ozoigbo

Who are some of your literary influences?

My literary influences make up a rather long chain. They are great writers I look up to, even when they do not know me. I have known them through the power of the pen, and through their “brainchildren”. You see, when I was growing up, I read a lot of Denise Robins. Granted, her novels fall in the romance genre, and are therefore mainly meant for women. But I was not necessarily moved by her romantic stories. I was moved by her style, especially her syntax. Denise Robins is one person, I must confess, who “taught” me creative writing during my formative years. My friends called me sissy, because I was always with her novels. But I didn’t care, because she was teaching me a lot of things about writing by mere reading some of her more-than-a-hundred novels. She was a superstar, in my own estimation.

Then, still as a teenager, I came across a novel titled The Other Side of Midnight by Sidney Sheldon. Oh, my! Ever since, it was Sidney Sheldon, Sidney Sheldon, Sidney Sheldon–all the way! I have read almost all his novels. Through Nothing Lasts Forever, my life was never the same again. From the age of thirteen to that of twenty-seven, I hoped to meet him personally. Then in 2007, when I was thirty-five, I almost shed tears upon hearing the sad news of his death! And then, as soon as his autobiography The Other Side of Megot to Nigeria, I quickly ran to grab my own copy! Indeed, without mincing words, Sheldon affected my life so much, I was obsessed by him and his works.

Cyprian Ekwensi, of blessed memory, was Nigerian, of Igbo descent. I was about nine when I read some of his books for young people, such as Drummer BoySamankwe and the Highway Robbers, andThe Passport of Mallam Illa. Then before age 13, I read his People of the City, which was even published long before Chinua Achebe’sThings Fall Apart . . . No, it was not originally published by Heinemann under the African Writers Series (AWS). I also read Jagua Nana’s Daughter as a teenager. But I was so anxious to read its“predecessor”, Jagua Nana . . . Ha! Ha! Ha! You know what . . . My mother told me then, as soon as she saw me with Jagua Nana’s Daughter, that Jagua Nana was published in the sixties, and is a “corrupt” novel. Out of curiosity, therefore, I began to look for Jagua Nana. I never saw it until I got to the age of thirty-two in 2004 and stumbled into it in a place called Ojuelegba in Lagos, Nigeria, where old novels are sold. After reading it, I understood why my mother had said that. But, as a budding writer in the English language, I learned a lot of English lexicon from that book. It also gave me an insight into the depths of Ekwensi’s literary talent! Even though he is dead now, he still holds a special place in my heart. As a teenager, I also read his Survive the Peace, a novel that hinges on the Nigeria-Biafra War of 1967-1970. I also read For a Role of Parchment and Divided We Stand. Sincerely, I hail Ekwensi much more than people hail Achebe. But I am yet to find the reason why the whole world rates the latter higher.

In fact, there are so many of them. Like I said early on, it is a rather long chain. The few that deserve mention are Jeffrey-Archer, Barbara Taylor-Bradford (who is presently my Facebook friend), Flora Nwapa, Doris Lessing (who won the 2007 Nobel Prize for Literature), Dillibe Onyeamah (the famous author of the famous novel, Nigger at Eton, which I presume is out of print now), and . . . Oh, my God . . . I will not forget Buchi Emecheta whose Destination Biafra, in my opinion, is a classic, and Chukwuemeka Ike, whose Chicken Chasersis one of the novels I regret ever losing through my book borrowers.

I just started reading North and South, one interesting literary work among the trilogies of John Jakes, and have begun to bask in the realization that he is going to be one of my biggest influences, because from just reading the opening chapter alone (of North and South), I fell in love with his style immediately.

Prior to North and South, however, I read Vera Brittain’s Testament of Youth which has its tv mini-series adaptation by BBC. I never knew that a writer like Vera Brittain, born a few years close to the turn of the 19th century, ever existed among the great 20th-century writers until I stumbled into Testament of Youth, something I would like to refer to as a collection of her First-World-War experiences in which she narrated in great detail all her highs and lows, ups and downs, pain and misery, hopes and disappointments. The book is one of her most popular works. She is terrific!

What got you into writing?

Writing is inborn. You don’t force it upon yourself. Once you notice it, you cannot help letting it show, otherwise Barbara Cartland would never have written more than some two hundred romantic novels, books of cookery, etc. And Danielle Steel would not have said in one of her interviews, which I stumbled across on the internet, that once she begins to write, she pounds away on the keyboard. Once I heard her say that, I told myself “Whoa! That’s me!” It comes naturally. I have read so many books as a teenager, especially novels, that I told myself one day in the 80s’ : “Ol’boy, you can do better than some of them!” Hence, at 17, I finished a 208-page novel titled Lovebirds which I sent to Longmann, Lagos. But the big shot I met there looked down on me. And all I read from his expression was “What can a seventeen-year-old offer”. And you know what, I felt offended when he asked me: “Young man, what do you know about love?” I left and never came back. Up to this day, the manuscript of Lovebirds is still in the safety of my cupboard! I felt bad, because Ben Okri wrote Flowers and Shadows when he was 19! What difference does it make, anyway, for someone even younger than that to submit a 208-page manuscript talking about love?

Then I grew up amid so many books. My father had a library in our living room. But the books were safely locked behind the facade of a glass shelf. I kept seeing them as I was growing up. But I never read even one of them! They were mostly novels. But whenever I had access to his bedroom, I would tiptoe to find the key to the shelf. I would unlock it and begin to flip through, wondering how the writers came up with books of such volumes, hoping that someday I would do the same. However, I would read some of them randomly. That is, I would read, say, a paragraph on page 10, then flip to (say) another on page 100. I mostly did this when my father had gone out, and my mother, who happened to be a lot more liberal and less cynical, was at home. Unlike my father, she did not bother whenever I came into their bedroom to take anything, especially the key to the glass shelf. Sometimes, I could not make out what some of the books were talking about, because they were much more adult. All the same, I continued reading, believing somehow that, someday, I would write my own. At 13, I joined the literary society in my secondary school. It was there that it dawned on me that I have the gift of writing. Prior to then, I was always scoring highest in my English Language compositions. Also, it was then that I realized that I could express myself better when I write than when I speak. As a result, I was not in the debating/oratory arm of the society. I just wanted to write, write, and write–and until I am known all over the world, just like all the writers I have early on mentioned.

Are any of the stories in the book based on situations you or someone else has experienced?

The Dust Must Settle is a product of my imagination. I must be quick, however, to say that the Welsh missionary, Mary-Ann Spencer, was a character I developed based on the real life story of Mary Slessor, the Scottish missionary that was sent to Calabar, Nigeria in the late-19th century and lived among the Efiks up to the nineteen-thirties, where she died and was buried.

How long have you been writing?

As a matter of fact, I have been writing from as far as when I was 13. I wrote for my secondary school in Owerri, Imo State, Nigeria. And that was in 1985. And then I sent a lot of short stories to magazines in Lagos by post. But up till now, I can’t quite decipher their reason(s) for not wanting to get me published. Perhaps they felt I was too young then to write such adult stories. Then I already told you about my Longmann experience. Now, however, I kind of cringe whenever I go back to read the manuscript of Lovebirds. I began to work in the bank at 19! Due to the “jealousy” of the tasking job, I never had time to write. By “jealousy” I mean, my job not allowing me to give time to other things to do to better myself. Besides, Lagos is such a big West African city that it took me five hours sometimes to get back home from work! After all the bumper-to-bumper traffic jams, after all the inhaling of exhaust fumes of rickety cars and buses, I would slump into my bed, completely tired and exhausted. For some fifteen years this was the case. It was after I left banking in 2004/5 that I began to write The Dust Must Settle, greatly inspired by the life story of Mary Slessor, greatly challenged after reading Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Purple Hibiscus and Barbara Taylor-Bradford’s A Woman of Substance and Voice of the Heart. Presently, I am working on another novel, a project in which I want to involve the United Nations Population Fund, the Ministry of Women Affairs of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, and the Nigerian Women Trust Fund. Now that I have finally left the Nigerian sub-banking sector as a result of inconsistencies and damaging reforms in the country’s financial terrain, where I found myself from 1991 (at 19) through 2005 (at 33), I feel as free as a bird let out of its cage to write, write, and write. Ha! Ha! Ha! I met a well-known publisher in Lagos in 2005. He told me I was a banker, and not a writer. How wrong he was! And how contradictory he sounded, because Cyprian Ekwensi was a pharmacist! Anezi Okoro, who wrote quite a number of novels, was a dermatologist! One Dr. Chukwuezi, an ENT physician, has written novels in the Igbo language at that! And then Sefi Attah, whose Everything Good Will Come was published by this same man, is a chartered accountant!

How do you feel about the state of African literature?

At some point along the line, I felt really bad that the new generation of African writers were sleeping, or so it seemed, until Adichie sprang up with her Purple Hibiscus at the age of 26 or so. Some people hail her for achieving such a literary feat at that age. But I ask them: Don’t you know that Cyprian Ekwensi was a teenager when he wrote For a Role of Parchment, Ben Okri (the winner of the 1991 Booker) was also a teenager when he wrote Flowers and Shadows, Buchi Emecheta was 20 or so when she wrote In the Ditch, and Chinua Achebe was also 26 or so when he wrote Things Fall Apart? What do I mean by that, you might say. They began to write in the prime of youth! The truth is that today’s youths, the African youths, are not doing much as far as writing is concerned. And another truth is that no one encourages them! No, I am not making up excuses for them, neither am I exaggerating! You see, those that make up the old generation of African writers were greatly encouraged by their European teachers and mentors who happened to have been key players in the British colonial administration in Africa. They read so many quality works of literature by Shakespeare, Dickens, Austin, Twain, Elliot, Chaucer, etc! Besides, they left for England by sea through the coasts of Africa to study one course or another. Even those who attended the then University College, Ibadan were thoroughly taught by the British! Unfortunately, now that they are in the twilight of both their lives and writing careers, we still suffer a terrible literary dearth in the upcoming ones that make up the new generation. Many are disenchanted and disillusioned, and even confused, perhaps because they were badly taught in the universities, especially now that the Nigerian educational system has been messed up by our leaders. They need another generation to hold the dream, to take up the “scepter” from them. It is our inheritance! I mean, the “scepter”. Just as it is the inheritance of a prince or princess. They must continue from where the old generation stopped–with the African story! Otherwise we will have no more story or stories to tell our young ones and the ones that are not yet born. No European will tell us our story, about our origin, about our bloodline, about our forefathers, about our cultures, about our heritage. No American will. No Indian will. No Jamaican will. Not even the African-Americans will! If we lose this knowledge, we have lost everything. There is no man or woman on earth who does not know his or her origin, where he or she comes from. If there is, then he or she has not been told anything! And that is what we are trying to prevent, bless my colleagues-in-African-literature, the new generations, in the persons of Helon Habila, C. N. Adichie, Jude Dibia, Sefi Attah, Uwem Akpan, Adaobi T. Nwaubani, and all the rest of them–and bless such NGOs as the Commonwealth Foundation and the Hurston/Wright Foudation who are working hard to ensure that the old generation of African writers will never be disappointed. In a nut shell, I would therefore say that there are great prospects for the state of African literature today. Kudos to Aminatta Forna, a wonderful lady from Sierra Leone, whose The Memory of Love won the 2011 Commonwealth Writers’ Prize (Africa), in the Best-Book Category! And it was recently brought to my knowledge by my publisher that The Dust Must Settle has great film potential in Hollywood, California! That is to say, Americans, blacks and whites alike, are getting more and more interested in African literature!

Which character in the book are you most like?

Mmmmh . . . The Dust Must Settle is like a trilogy bound together. Yes, it is quite a large volume, and has Book One, Book Two and Book Three! I fell in love with the major character in Book One. He is Uzo Ogbonna. This is a man that gets fed up with all the heathen practices of his people in Arochukwu. His father hates him for being an Anglophile, for being “lazy”, because he prefers doing the work of the white man to doing the farm work of his people, the Aro people. And his father is the owner of the largest farmland in all the 19 villages of Arochukwu! . . . I am an Anglophile. And I hate to go to the farm to work the land. I prefer to go to England to live and study–perhaps until I become a professor.

What inspired you to write this story?

In 2005, I casually went to the internet to study the life of Mary Slessor. Just out of curiosity, because I have heard so much about this Scottish missionary who served so selflessly in South-East Nigeria and spearheaded the stopping of the killing of twins. I didn’t want to continue hearing from people: older people and younger people alike. And my mates, too. I had to look her out myself.Then as I read along, I got to where it was written that she sailed back to Scotland with some African children to receive medical attention. As I scrolled, I gasped when I saw a picture she took with those African children.When I began to wonder what could have happened to those children (I mean, what later became of them) in Scotland, my imagination was fired, and the idea ad concept of The Dust Must Settle was conceived.

Describe the research process for this story?

Actually, I have not yet left the shores of Nigeria. You see, I have a book, Colour In Britain (published in the 60s), which was based on a series of radio interviews compiled by BBC on the sociological position in Britain of coloured people and their children from all the Commonwealth countries. This book helped so much when I was writing about the growing-up days of two of Uzo Ogonna’s triplets–Ruth, Esther and Timothy–in Belfast and Nottingham. Then I depended so much on Wikipedia, the internet encyclopaedia, which opened my eyes to a lot about the conurbations or cities of London, Brooklyn in New York, Nottingham, Belfast and so on. I have a friend who comes from Kano, Nigeria. He did a lot to give me an insight into the socio-economic lifestyle of Northern Nigeria. Then I asked a lot of questions to my friends who live in Britain and in the United States and Canada. Then I have friends who are doctors and lawyers whom I asked a lot of questions which enabled me to work around Ruth’s nursing career, Esther’s rail accident with Bolu, et cetera. I applied the legal advice to all the plots that had to do with testament. Edward Spencer, Mary-ann’s late father, wills his house in Soho, London to her, and she in turn wills the same house, jointly and severally, to Ruth, Esther and Timothy. There are plots revolving around testament administration in the saga.

One common theme that is very strong in this novel is bloodline and children (male ones in particular). Why did you decide to focus on this?

Bloodline is of paramount significance in the Igbo genealogy. Africans do not joke with it, neither do the Jews. That is why the subject of adoption has not developed a strong foothold in Africa, even in this twenty-first century. In the Western world, water may be as thick as blood. But in Africa, blood has always been thicker. And there is no compromise! In concrete terms, the African extended family system, especially among the Igbo in South-East Nigeria, does not readily accommodate or favor the female children. For example, no female child among the offspring of the Igbo landed gentry is allowed to inherit any property in her (late) father’s real estate tabled for sharing. Doing otherwise is against the Igbo tradition, and would raise a lot of flak. Yes, a lot of the people, who hold tenaciously to such traditions as this, especially the elders and the council of chiefs, would definitely kick against it. In a nutshell, it is not (and can never be) done. Then you have the question of posterity. No Igbo man is happy when he does not have male offspring to carry on the family name. But the only exception here is if, and only if, the man is a Christian through and through, and therefore has jettisoned tradition and broken stereotypes, to the bewilderment of the people. The Dust Must Settle tells about Obiageli Okoli (in Book Two) who devises every possible means to bring in a male presence among her all-girl offspring. She foresees her husband’s kith and kin claiming all his (her husband’s) inheritance, and every single asset that make up his real estate. If Mezue Okoli (her husband) dropped dead “today”, her exceptionally brilliant daughters (six of them) would lose everything. Yes, practically everything! And she has to do everything within her power to forestall this. That is why she goes to the United States (Texas) to be delivered of her baby girl. But she comes back to Nigeria with a baby boy after carrying out a successful swap through the connivance of two American midwives—Crawford and Nash. But Obiageli does not know that the mother of this boy is her cousin’s daughter, Nwadi Mbonu, a student in Canada, who has also gone to the same hospital, stealthily, to give birth to her son—and then give him away to an adoption agency in Texas. This baby boy of Nwadi’s, whom Obiageli has claimed as hers, ends up playing a role in linking the now old triplets together after seventy-nine years of their separation. In fact, if I had not brought in bloodline and the preference for male children among the Igbo, the saga would never have been complete. And mind you that we are talking about the pedigree, the common ancestry, of an African family that spans over four generations.  Without bloodline, without the male child, it may be difficult for one to trace one’s roots.  Have you ever wondered why the formidable Kizzy Waller, daughter of Kunta Kinte and Belle (called Kizzy Reynolds in the TV series), refuses to marry, even though she falls in love with a charming young man? The answer is simple: to propagate the name, Kinta Kunte. If she had married that man, the name will have gone into extinction. To hold her father’s dream, Kizzy makes the hardest decision of her life: obstinately putting herself in the position of a man in the family.

What made you decide to have three books in one?

Mmmmh . . . actually, I am now contemplating having them separated, so that they would become a trilogy. And to be frank with you, it was never my intention to have it like that. That I divided the saga into Books 1, 2, and 3 does not mean (to me) that I have three books in one. It was my readers around the world who have been suggesting to me that I separate the book in order to have a trilogy. To answer your question, however, I would like to start by referring you to such
family sagas as John Jake’s North and South, Alex Haley’s Roots, Colleen McCullough’s  The Thorn Birds, and Barbara Taylor-Bradford’s AWoman of Substance, which were all made into TV miniseries.  These novels are as voluminous as the 600-page The Dust Must Settle. Both The Thorn Birds and North & South, for example, are well over 600 pages, yet each of them is just one novel. A Woman of Substance is about 800 pages, yet it is one novel. I think the confusion lies in my calling the three parts of The Dust Must Settle “Book One”, “Book Two”, and then “Book Three” — which is not strange, because I have read a lot of novels which are divided into Books, not Parts. Whether Books or Parts, they mean the same to writers. Just choose whichever you want. It is only the layman who does not understand it like that, hence all the “complaints” or “points of observation” that flood in, asking me why I put three books in one. And like I said early on, I never conceived the idea of separating the book into three separate books until I began to receive a torrent of mails and calls to that effect.

What’s your lineage?

First of all, I am of Igbo extraction, in South-East Nigeria, the first son—but the second after my elder sister—in a family of eight. I come from Ihiala in Anambra State. My (late) father, Mr. Benjamin Jude Enyika Ozoigbo, had a dual profession: he was a nurse/medical illustrator and, at the same time, a fine-arts lecturer. Well, he studied nursing, and after he got disenchanted with it, he proceeded to the university to study Fine Arts after meeting my mother who happens to be a nurse, too. He was the fourth son from his mother’s womb (his mother had five sons only in a polygamous family of three wives and twelve children). My grandfather, John Anisobi Ozoigbo, was among the well-known titled men in Ihiala. He had a lot of lands, and had a lot of dealings with the colonial administrators, hence my father’s and my uncles’ impressive educational backgrounds. I cannot go beyond my grandfather, because we do not have a family tree. In any case, I believe a little research can do that for me.

Are you currently working on any other novels?

Oh, yes. I am working on another one that hinges on gender. Just like The Dust Must Settle, it involves intensive research. It is a very important project in which I want to involve Virgin Unite (an NGO in Britain owned by Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Group), the United Nations Populations Fund, the ministry of Women Affairs of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, the Nigerian Women Trust Fund, and all women around the world who have dedicated, or are still dedicating, their creative energies to human rights activism, pacifism, and feminism. It is a project I want to finish in record time, so that the better part of its launching proceeds will go to the funding required for the treatment of VVF (Vesico-Vaginal Fistula) which is prevalent in Northern Nigeria. I came across an article in the Nigerian Health Journal of January 21, 2011.  According to this article, it is estimated that 2 million women, globally, suffer from obstetric fistula, with approximately 400,000-800,000 of such cases in Nigeria alone, the northern part having over 85 percent of these cases. Obviously, these women are mostly very young, uneducated and inexperienced. Many of them die as a result of VVF. They do not have a voice. I want to lend them a voice, and financial help also for the corrective surgical procedures, through this project I am working on. The next project is exclusively a historical novel, and has to do with a descendant of slaves, who becomes the richest man in Nottingham, one ofthe conurbations of England. I won’t go into details. Let’s leave it at that for now.

Do you have any words of advice for aspiring writers?

This question that is the most common in all the interviews I have had with both the print and broadcast media.  In any case, I have to tell the budding writers to read extensively. Many of them have plunged into writing because they want to win awards. Writing is not for you to win awards. Writing is for you to pass a message, a satire, to society. It is akin to the work of a journalist. The only difference is satire which must be evident in every novel. Journalists tell the plain truth. And that is why some of them are assassinated. Do you want to write to simply tell a story to the people in your community in the whole world? Or do you want to just trade the story for money? The choice is yours. But note that you cannot go far if you make the latter choice. A lot of aspiring writers want to just write and get published. They don’t care about the impact of their writing on society. That is what I call writing without purpose. Still a lot want to write when they don’t read. Reading and writing go together. You can’t be a great writer when you do not read. I am presently involved in a world competition in which five or so participants who eventually win will have their works published on both sides of the Atlantic by the world-leading publishers of J. K. Rowling, Stephen King, and Dan Brown. We have begun to review the opening chapters of one another, which will take the whole of this June. I shake my head in wonder, and also in disgust, when I read for my own review what some of these young aspiring writers have submitted for the competition. And what is worse, some of them are not willing to take any criticism, no matter how constructive! So, every aspiring writer must be willing to learn, otherwise there are no prospects—and there will never be.


“Akata Witch” Review


“Akata Witch” by Nnedi Okarafor

Imagine if Harry Potter were a she instead of a he? What if he was Nigerian instead of British? What if he were learning at Leopard Knocks instead of at the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry? Enter Sunny, Nnedi Okorafor’s latest anti-Disney heroine. I say that she’s anti-Disney because unlike most Disney films, the main females in her stories serve not as damsels that need to be saved, but as the ones that do the saving. Furthermore, they have physical features that are typically considered to be undesirable by society, such as the protagonist Onyesonwu being biracial in her most previous work Who Fears Death, and Sunny being an albino in this one.

Same Script, Different Cast

Before we get into the contents of the book, let’s start with the name of the book first. What is an Akata? When I was growing up, I was taught that it was a slang (and somewhat derogatory term) that Nigerians used for African Americans. That was until I was referred to as one by a native born Nigerian. I then began to see that it could also be a term used to describe any black person born and raised in America. Like me, the protagonist Sunny was born and raised in the United States. At the age of nine, her family decides to move back to Nigeria. Like any girl, she feels out of place and spends the next couple of years trying to find her place,  when she finds out that her place is nothing like she imagined it to be. She discovers that she is a “Leopard person”, a person that is born with mystical abilities and she is has to undergo intense training to learn how to utilize her powers while still living amongst the “Lamb people”, or regular folks. One of the best things I loved about this book was the name dropping by the characters themselves of the books that had a large role in influencing this novel, including In the Shadow of the Bush by P. Amaury Talbot, Her Stories by Virginia Hamilton, and The Witches by Roald Dalhl.

“The Witches” by Roald Dahl

Different locations were also named, the significance of which will go unnoticed to the general population. One such location is referred to as being the African American “Leopard person” headquarters. This place is referred to as the Gullah Islands off the coast of South Carolina. This area is usually overshadowed by New Orleans, even though it has had a much larger impact on African American history, and mainstream American history. It also has retained more African culture and tradition (including the folk magic) than any other region in North America, but thats a discussion for another day.

The most creative literary element used by the author is the technique of having a “book within a book” (another very popular example being the  Necronomicon). As Sunny begins to learn and master her abilities, she reads from a book entitled Fast Agents for Free Agents by Isong Abong Effiong Isong.  The wonderful part is that the reader gets to also read from this short book. So instead of doing a typical review of  Akata Witch, I will actually do a review of the book within the book, and explain some of the terms used:

What is a Leopard Person?

“A leopard person goes by many names around the world. The term “Leopard person” is a West African coinage, derived from the Efik term “ekpe”, “leopard.” All people of mystical true ability are Leopard people. And as humankind has evolved, so have Leopard folk around the world organized…from Fast Agents for Free Agents

One of the real life “Leopard people” that the writer is referring to are the Ekpe society of southeastern Nigeria. This society, which was started by the Ekik people, spread through to the rest of the Ibibio, Oron, Igbo and Ekoi peoples.

Ekpe Society members during a procession in Arochukwu

The Ekpe Society was introduced to Igboland by the people of Arochukwu. In fact, their lodge is in my home village of Atani. In Igboland, the Ekpe Society usually went by the name Okonko.

Ekpe Lodge in Atani Village, Arochukwu

They were the premiere secret society in Southeastern Igboland, and the highest grades held alot of the secrets of the mystical arts, including the magical Nsibidi script.  An entire topic will be dedicated to discussing the Ekpe society and its legacy in the near future.

What is a Free Agent

“A free agent is one who isn’t privileged with even one pure Leopard spiritline from the survivors of the Great Attempt. She or he is a random of nature, a result of mixed up and confused spiritual genetics. Free agents are the hardest to understand, predict or explain. Learning will not come easy to you. you are a Leopard person only by the will of the Supreme Creator and as we all know, She isn’t very concerned with Her own creations.

After your initiation, make sure that someone is there to help you, for you will not be able to help yourself, so new the world will be to you and so fragile your ego. You’re likely an infant. You will be dumbfounded and disorientated. What’s most important is…from Fast Agents for Free Agents

Initiation, which simply means “beginning”, plays a huge role in Igbo culture, as well as with other cultures all over Africa. Traditionally, both men and women would receive multiple initiations at different points in their life.  A very good metaphor is employed by Okorafor when one of the character states: “Imagine that you are a computer that came with programs and applications already installed. In order to use them, they have to be activated; you have to , in a sense, wake it up. That’s what initiation is.”

Igbo boy being healed by a Dibia

Igbo boy being healed by a Dibia

What is chittim?

“Chittim is the currency of the Leopard people. Chittim are always made of metal (copper, bronze, silver, and gold) and always shaped like curved rods. The most valuable are the large copper ones, which are about the size of a dove’s egg. Least valuable are chittim made of gold. When chittim fall, they never do harm. So one can stand in a rain of chittim, and never get hit. There is only way to earn chittim; by gaining knowledge and wisdom. The smarter you become, the better you process knowledge into wisdom, the more chittim will fall and thus the richer you will be…from Fast Agents for Free Agents

The real life chittim that the author refers to are commonly known as manillas.  The most popular African name for manillas, Okpoho, comes from the Igbo language. They were used as currency (as well as worn as jewelry) all over West Africa, but particularly in southeastern Nigeria, Ghana and Guinea.


What are the Masquerades?

“Up to now you’ve known masquerades to be mere symbolic manifestations of the ancestors or spirits. Men and boys dress up in elaborate cloth and raffia costumes and dance, jeer, or joke depending on who they are manifesting. Up to now, you’ve believed masquerades to be nothing more than myth, folklore and tradition. Now that you are a Leopard person, know that your world has just become more real. Creatures are real. Ghosts, witches, demons, shape-shifters, and masquerades, all real. Masquerades are always dangerous. They can kill, steal your soul, take your mind, take your past, rewrite your future, bring the end of the world, even. As a free agent you will have nothing to do with the real thing, otherwise you face certain death. If you are smart you leave true masquerades up to those who know what to do with juju…from Fast Agents for Free Agents

The above statements say it all. Masquerades in Igboland are known as mmanwu. Here are some pictures of some of them. Some of them are people in costumes, but the older pictures might be real ones. We will never know for sure:

Agbogho Mmuo (Maiden Spirits)

Masquerade at Igbo Farm Village

Masquerade at Igbo Farm Village

Ijele Masquerade

Ijele Masquerade

The Ijele masquerade originated in Anambra state is known as the “King of all masquerades.” In ancient times, it had 45 masquerades perform on top of it, which are now represented by 45 figures. It was also used to scare away some of the early missionaries in Igboland. Masquerades made their way into the Diaspora, and can still be seen in modified forms in the Carribean Carnival celebrations:

Carnival Masquerade in Brooklyn, NY

Carnival Masquerade in Brooklyn, NY

Carnival Masquerade in Brooklyn, NY

Chapter 4: Your Abilities

“How to discover your ability: Its doubtful that you have the intelligence to figure out something so important. But here is something to think about: one’s ability lies with those things that mark him or her. They can be talents, like an affinity towards gardening or being able to play the guitar well. Often they are things that Lambs make fun of, imperfections. They can be physical, psychological, behavioral. And I do not mean things that are a result of your actions like being fat because you eat too much and sit and play video games all day…from Fast Agents for Free Agents

I really felt this was the most important chapter in the book. I truly feel that if more people did what they were naturally gifted at instead of trying to conform to the standards imposed on them by society, the world would be a drastically better place. By following these instructions, one could unlock their latent abilities, as Sunny and her cohorts were able to do. Who knows, you might even discover yourself to be a Leopard person 😉


“…So there you have it. All you need to know to get started. As I have repeated incessantly throughout this book, there is no direction you can turn that does not face you toward certain death. The best thing to do is be who you’ve been, don’t move, stay where you are, drop all ambition as a Leopard person. Relax. Don’t strive too high. Learn but do not use. And only learn the basics. It is best to remain in your protective shell. Ambition is not your friend. Be glad the Leopard world has been opened to you, but remain a mere spectator. And for the hundredth time, I repeat: “KEEP YOUR SECRET LIFE FROM YOUR LAMB RELATIONS AND ACQUAINTANCES. not only are there dire consequences for breaching secrecy, but you risk upsetting a very delicate, crucial hard earned balance. Now go well, free agent. Be well. And again I saw: Welcome…from Fast Facts for Free Agents

This book is an essential read for Leopard people who know that they are free agents,  free agents that think they are Lamb people, or for Lamb people who want to get a glimpse into the mystical and secret world of Leopard people. As of now, I cannot find any copies of Fast Facts for Free Agents, so the best way to get a glimpse of it would be by purchasing a copy of Akata Witch. It has an excellent story too 😀

Be sure to be on the lookout for an interview with the author  on Igbo Kwenu Radio in the near future.

Introduction to Odinani


by Omenka Egwuatu Nwa-Ikenga

Who are the Igbo people

Ndi Igbo (the Igbo people) are a West African ethnic group who trace their homeland to an area of what is  now known as southeastern Nigeria. They are known for their rich, vibrant culture and history, and they have been the subject of many world renowned works of both fiction and non-fiction including Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart, Ifi Amadium’s Male Daughters and Female Sons as well as The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano.

There have been Ndi Igbo occupying their present location for over 8000 years, and they have left behind such artifacts as the Igbo Ukwu scuptures, which are the earliest of their kind found in West Africa, as well as the Nsude pyramids which resemble some of the step pyramids of ancient Egypt and Sudan. For a large portion of its history, Alaigbo (Igboland) did not have a central authority, and within it existed many states including the medieval Nri kingdom and the more recent Onitsha and Arochukwu kingdoms, although the Arochukwu confederacy did have a considerable influence over Alaigbo for a few hundred years.

Nsude pyramids

The Maafa (Transatlantic Slave Trade) removed hundreds of thousands of Igbos from Alaigbo, placing them in significant concentrations in colonies that would eventually become the countries of Sierra Leone, Liberia, Haiti, Jamaica, Trinidad, Cuba, Barbados, Belize, Grenada, as well as the United States. These Ndi Igbo did not come empty handed, but carried with them their Omenala (customs and traditions), their Odinani (spiritual sciences), and their unbreakable wills. Their descendants helped play  key roles in such slave uprisings as the Nat Turner Rebellion as well as the Haitian Revolution.

The Maafa was the beginning of the colonization process of Alaigbo by the British, which they resisted through numerous battles such as the Anglo-Aro Wars, the Ekumeku rebellions, the Aba Women’s riots and culminating in the Biafran War. It was not until 1970 that Alaigbo was under the total control of  the (neo)colonial state of Nigeria. As a result of slavery and colonization, the lifestyles and practices of the majority of Ndi Igbo and their descendants has dramatically changed.

What are Omenala & Odinani?

Historians like to perpetuate the idea that Africans who ended up in the so called New World lost their African culture, which stems from the fact that most Diaspora Africans do not speak the exact same languages of their ancestors, eat the exact same foods, or practice the exact same spiritual systems. However, just because something is not exactly what it was previously does not mean it is has become “lost.” Customs and traditions, like everything else, can go through transformations and adaptations, especially when they are carried to a new environment and people undergo new experiences.

There are also many voluntary African immigrants that now live in North America. These people do not live the same way that they did in Africa, and their children do not have all of the same practices and ways of thinking that they have. The food eaten is often different, the clothing worn is different, and the language might not be passed from one generation to the next. However, you can still analyze them and make a conclusion about where they came from without too many problems. If so much can be changed in just one generation from a voluntary immigration, how much would be transformed from many generations after an involuntary one?

"Other African Americans"

Even when historians admit that some African cultural practices were retained, they will systematically ignore (either directly or indirectly) the Omenala of the Ndi Igbo, especially as it pertains to their descendants in the United States. Historians will admit that Ndi Igbo did come to the “New World” but seldom ever speak on the practices that are derived from them. Rather, they attempt to paint the majority of the Diaspora as being either Yoruba or Akan.

The reality is that the majority of the Diaspora was not Yoruba or Akan, and the Ndi Igbo comprised a significant portion of it. Secondly, the practices of a people in the Diaspora are not always a signifier of who they trace their ancestry from. There are many Africans of Igbo descent in the Diaspora that practice the Yoruba religions because of the fact that the strong central organization of that particular system, as well as the ones of the Bakongo and Fon/Ewe, made them more apt  to flourish in the Diaspora.

Likewise, there are people of Igbo descent in Africa that practice the Roman religion called Catholicism or the British religion called Anglicanism, but neither of these groups of Igbos are from Rome or Britain. Furthermore, the idea that the traditional religions are dead in Alaigbo or in the rest of Africa is more misleading propaganda that people fail to double check on. If the traditional religions are really dead then why do all the African “traditional healers”, “medicine men”, diviners and priests still have so much clientele, even in predominately Christian or Islamic nations? As embellishing as Nollywood (the Nigerian film industry) can be at times in its portrayal of Nigerian life, this is one thing that they are not exaggerating. The fact is that regardless of what imported tradition an Igbo (or any other African) may practice, when it begins to fail them, they will go back to the Omenala of their forefathers and foremothers that provided results.

The Re-Awakening of Omenala & Odinani

Today, with the advent of DNA testing that allows people to trace their ancestry, more and more Africans in the Diaspora are uncovering their Igbo genetic heritage, and seeking to learn more about the Omenala of their Egwugwu (ancestors). However, a careful analysis will reveal that they don’t have to visit Alaigbo to discover them, as they are literally right in front of their faces in the traditions and habits that they already know and cherish.
Likewise, Nollywood is helping to spark a renaissance in interest in the Omenala of Ndi Igbo within Africa, by producing alot of films that take place in pre-colonial Alaigbo. These movies often feature Igbo language, traditional attire, make-up, and other things pertinent to Omenala. Authors like Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (Half of a Yellow Sun) are helping to build the Igbo renaissance in the literary field by picking up the torch originally carried by people like Chinua Achebe.

Forest Whitaker & Danny Glover reclaim their Igbo heritage

This blog was motivated in part by  the developing Igbo Renaissance, and the growing need to reclaim the Omenala of the Igbo both in the Diaspora and the Motherland.  However, simply reclaiming and reviving Omenala is a drop in the bucket. The most vital thing is to reawaken the Odinani. Whereas Omenala can be paraphrased as “what you do”, the Odinani is “why you do it.” This fundamental relationship is the key to not only reviving old traditions and practices, but creating new and better ones that can raise the state of our people wherever they may be.

The vast majority of the people in the world today have beliefs, practices and traditions that they uphold but lack understanding about. Consider yourself as an example. Why do you feel the way you feel about certain things? Why do you believe what you believe? Who defined your values? Who is the one that designed your lifestyle? Have you ever thought about these things?

Likewise, when it comes to conditions  in society or in the world as a whole, people often don’t think about the root causes of things; why things are the way that they are. They simply just accept definitions given to them by their religious leaders, social scientists or politicians. What we call religions today are not much more than the deification of a culture of a people. People can’t tell the difference between their cultural practices and the principles that caused them to come into existance.

Odinani was the means through which the Ndi Igbo sought to understand their natural environment. In pre-colonial times, their worldview was limited to their village and their surrounding villages, so their definition of Odinani would have been “laws of the land.” However, with the dramatic expansion of the Igbo worldview that came with colonization by the Europeans, a more appropriate translation of Odinani would be the laws of the Earth, or the laws of Nature. We know this today as science.


According to Webster’s Dictionary, science is defined as “a systematic knowledge of the physical or material world gained through observation and experimentation.” By this definition, Ndi Igbo, much like other African people, were scientists in the true sense of the word. They were master observers, able to pick up the minutest of details as well as things right in plain view that often go overlooked by most people. Ndi Igbo were also practical people who adopted traditions after they had been tested and found to produce results that could be reproduced. They did not have time for theories that had not been demonstrated or for blind faith in anything. However, there were two major differences between their view of science and the Western view. Those are, the fact that they did not separate the spiritual from the physical, and that they were also intelligent enough to never claim to have discovered anything.

Ndi Igbo knew what scientists are now finding out: that all matter in the universe is energy, that vibrates at certain frequencies. What we call the physical world is matter that is vibrating at a lower frequency. When the frequency increases, things can become inpercievable to us, even though they are still there. An example of this would be radio and television waves.  Matter at a  higher vibration is what the ancients called spirit. The understanding of the science of spirit is what we would call metaphysics, which is defined as “the theoretical or first principles of a particular discipline.” In other words, metaphysics is the first cause of everything in the physical.

Although Ndi Igbo, as well as other African people have produced their own Leonardo DaVinci’s, Issac  Newtons, Albert Einsteins, etc, these African people did not take credit for finding out about things that have always existed, as Europeans have a very nasty habit of doing. The very notion that an individual “discovers” anything in nature, be it a place (especially one that is already inhabited), a thing, or a concept, implies that no other people that lived before knew it, or that that individual has some type  of “ownership” over it. Ndi Igbo, like other Africans, acknowledged that they did not discover anything, they simply became aware of something that had already been there. Every other year, a new “discovery” by the Europeans renders their old “discoveries” null and void, which goes to show that they are not “discovering” anything at all, but simply uncovering a “bigger piece of the pie.” In regards to Odinani, one good way to describe it would be as a process of becoming aware, of ones self, and of reality.

In conclusion, I would like to say that if Omenala were a play, Odinani would be the script. If Omenala were a software program, Odinani would be the source code. If Omenala would be the actions one takes in response to the changing seasons, then Odinani would be the cyclical  nature of the seasons themselves. The customs, traditions, and rituals that you have will change depending on season or environment, but the laws of nature themselves remain the same. And as you read the articles written by different authors, and view the different symbols and works of art that are posted and deciphered, you should be aware that nothing that is being shared should be considered true unless you can research it, observe it, and prove it true to yourself. Yagazie (May we prosper).