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This research titled, “African Traditional Religion, Security Of Lives And Property: A Study of Ishielu Local Government Area Of Ebonyi State” Has been informed by contemporary challenges of destruction of lives and properties in Ishielu Local Government Area that cast aspersion on the power of traditional religion in protecting lives and properties in traditional society. The study is geared to established the basis of peace and secured society that would generate progress in future and the place of the ancestor, divinities and spirits in African Religious ontology. The study took a critical look on God as the protector of heaven and earth. The researcher adopted historical research method and sociological approach and data collected were sifted critically analyzed and presented descriptively. The findings revealed that the people of Ishielu are traditional based this was evident from the Igbo people that regarded the world not as a temporary place but a place that requires adequate

Attention for possible research. The sense of community pervaded all life’s activities; people assisted their neighbours without charge in building their huts, in the farmland, in marriage, in child upbringing, during occasions for joy or sorrow. Furthermore, their religious beliefs also led the people of Ishielu to kill those that were be considered shameful to the tribe. Single births were regarded as typically human while multiple births as typical of the animal world. The research report provided that traditional religion used sacrifice, oath taking, palm mid ribs and invocations as well as libation to protected lives and properties and punished offenders in traditional society. The report provided that traditional society had received transformation as canopies has replaced palm branches used in making shade for traditional ceremonies as well as government approach assist in keeping the society



  • Background of the Study

Traditional religion, especially in Africa, like all other religions of the world, have stories, myths, magic, beliefs, many performatives, lessons to learn, objects of worship, rewards for actions, be such actions good or bad and many other distinguishing properties. All of the African life is religious. From birth to death and within the circle of the living ancestors, the living now and the living future, the unborn generation, life is continuous for the traditional religionist, especially the African.

It is within this context that African Traditional religion is always studied. The amalgamation of southern and Northern protectorates by the colonial rule brought together various ethnic groups along with varied cultural cleavages and of course diversity of religious beliefs and practices encumbered by linguistic variations. The major challenge confronting Nigeria in the 21st century is how to sustain the unity of the nation, national integration, peace and stability in order to guarantee equitable human resources development and societal transformation.

Roland (1961) said that “a country is classified as homogenous” if 80 percent or more of its population should belong to the same religion or the same language” then one must perforce to concede that Nigeria is by no means a homogeneous society. Njoku and Njoku (2013:124) agreed and added that Nigeria is not only heterogeneous society but also one made up of diverse and sects for which religious groupings in Nigeria consist of African traditional religion, Christianity and Islam. Religion is one of the basic institutions of man.

Family and school also exist yet religion gives culture ultimate orientation through control, integration and education. Institutions exist for the sake of the society yet individuals are subject to it. Human institutions differ considerably with time and proceeds from human will for which no society is static. It is true that man creates society but the society influences man (Roland, 1961). The major focus of religious studies is to assist in the all round development of individuals with the undertone of compassionate and fair minded persons that can make positive contributions to society as individuals and as members of the groups.

The pivot of common essential learning is to bring up individuals who would not only be educated, sympathetic and rational but also have sense of social responsibility for humanity and societal progress. Religious studies according to Nduka and Olonti (1983) deals with the building up of the moral habits, good manners and also academic excellence. It underscores the mastering of basic good habits, ethical/social etiquettes through exemplary life of educators along with training and continuous inculcating how to make use of public goods.

Furthermore, it impacts how to make and sustain friendship, keep school regulations and indeed, how to talk to elderly ones with respect. Religious studies are geared towards the development of autonomous moral character. It would ensure the development of strong moral will-power through internalized moral principles and discipline that enhances self actualization. Furthermore, religious studies develop in the individuals the ability of moral judgment and decision making required in dealing with moral conflicts that occur on daily life situation as basis for discrete moral consideration and justifiable approached or methods.

Religious studies transmit great traditions to the individuals through inculcation of norms and ideas needed for desirable life in the society. Through the study individuals become aware of comprehensive need for normative structure in the society and as such get strongly committed to the moral order through persuasive presentation of moral norms. The relegation of the rule of law to the background has become a challenge to sustained security and national integration in Nigeria.

Eikbomun (2007) expressed that the danger of black market is overwhelming as environment, lives and property are set ablaze and hoodlums resort to stealing, armed robbery, kidnapping along with violence for which security of lives and property have become unstable in the society. Sustainable security has been threatened by corruption, greediness and poor performance of public enterprises.

Ezeani (2005) had no doubt that some public enterprises operate at a loss and McGrew (2000) agreed and said that the public enterprise has attracted much criticisms especially since the 80s encumbered by the micro-economic policies arising from the global economic crisis for which public enterprises operations reflect a history of huge financial losses, over staffing and burden of excessive debts.

The pioneering works of those scholars gave life, integrity and relevance to the indigenous African religion that had long been denigrated by missionaries. Ray says, “It is true that the term religion is neither an African word nor an indigenous concept or construct for a while, word is absent from the African vernacular, scholars use the term to refer to something that Africans in a traditional setting do not recognize or experience.

Therefore, the concepts that guide this study are broad. By religion is meant a complex of ideas and practices that gives ultimate meaning to human existence and enhances the quality of life and Ray explains that: In Africa, such ideas and practices are found not only in the worship of gods but also in a wide range of cultural creation, such as stories of origin healing, rituals, funereally rites, divination séances, public festivals, and sacred sculptures, as well as witchcraft and sorcery practices (2000:22).

This means that traditional African religion cannot be separated from daily life. It is an amalgam of moral ideas and practices that permeates all of life at personal and social levels. In support, Iwuoha posits that traditional African religion cuts across economic, sociology, politics, and arts. He concludes that, “It is about a people and their life” Iwuoha (2002:3). The study is promised on the security of lives and property in Ishielu Local Government Area of Ebonyi State inorder to determine the past of indigenous worship and foresee future in the belief and practices of the people of Ishielu.


1.2 Statement of the Problem

The belief of the Africans that indigenous religions has source of power and also keeper of life and death has been challenged by inhuman acts that takes away life and result to death of innocent in the society, certain occurrences that beings about the above disaster warrant unwholesome destruction of property and created worrisome state. The research is therefore promised on how traditional African Religion can protect lives and property in Isheilu Zone of Ebonyi State.

1.3 Purpose of the Study

The primary purpose of the research is African Traditional Religion and its powers to guarantee security of lives and property in contemporary societies of Ishielu in Ebonyi State. To established the basis of peace and secured society that would generate progress in future. The study focused on showcasing the place of the ancestor, divinities and spirits in African Religious ontology. This study takes a critical look on God as the protector of heaven and earth.

1.4 Research Method

The researcher took sociological and participant observation methods seriously in carrying out this research along with historical research methods. Library sources, textbooks relevant to the study and internet were consulted. Data collected were sifted, analyzed and presented descriptively.

1.5 Significance of the Study

The investigation has two aspect of significance: firstly, it will theoretically increase the existing body of knowledge in the field of African Traditional Religion. The research will practically be of immense value to political leaders and policy makers in Nigeria and will also enlighten and educate the masses on potentialities in African Religion in providing practical solutions to human problems of insecurity of lives and property in contemporary society. The study will serve as a resource for further inquiry into social change, economic and resource control and human capacity development.

1.6 Scope and Limitations of the Study

The scope of the study is centered in examining African Traditional Religion (ATR) on security of lives and property with particular references to Ishielu Local Government of Ebonyi State. There was problem of finance as many people were not ready to release pieces of information with gifts and travel cost was demanding and exhaustion of power.

  1. 7 Definition of Related Term

Problem of security of lives and property in contemporary society speak volumes that agitate the minds of the people to wonder how .lives and properties were preserved in traditional society in the past and how can traditional society cope with the preservation to day that inform the study.

Security: Security is the degree of resistance to, or protection from, harm. It applies to any vulnerable and valuable asset, such as a person, dwelling, community, item, nation, or organization.

Christianity: Christianity is planted in Nigeria not long after the ex-slaves repatriated from Europe and America were resettled in Sierra Leone, Christian missionaries were drafted to the colony to evangelize them (Anyika,2000). The word Christianity was first used in New Testament at Antioch in Syria where the disciples of Jesus were first called Christians meaning the followers of Christ (Acts 11:26). Christianity is based on the life, teaching and the death of Jesus Christ the founder of Christian religion. In line with this Ituma (2003) argues that Jesus is the foundation of the New Testament and that New Testament itself is the foundation of Christianity.


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