It can be said that the city of Enugwu Ukwu in the Njikoka local government area of Anambra State in Nigeria takes its name from its geographical topography.
The city is culturally vibrant, although it has embraced modernity in all its ramifications. Consider this: everywhere in Enugwu Ukwu and beyond, pythons are like beautiful brides. They must not be hurt or killed.
In fact, it’s a taboo to hurt or kill pythons. There are disastrous consequences in wounding this creature.
According to DailySun documentary, that recently visited the city and met Elder Francis Anisiobi from the village of Urunnebo. He is a traditional doctor and chief priest of the Ngene Deity, who owns the pythons.
Explaining why pythons should not be killed in Enugwu Ukwu, the Chief Priest said: “Our ancestors came into the world and saw that pythons are not killed in this area because the pythons belonged to the sanctuary.”
“And whoever kills them would be wrapped up in problems. Anyone who kills a python will have to do certain rituals to free themselves from the disastrous consequences of the act. First, some aboriginal doctors will be consulted for divination and told what to do.”
“He will organize funeral rites for the python and will bury him in Ajoagwa Arusi. Funeral rites include the supply of goat and chicken that will be transported to the sanctuary. After that, if the person has problems, everything will stop.”
What kind of problems can someone who kills a python have? His answer: “If he is a businessman, his business turnover will start to decline. If he is a driver, he will start having frequent accidents; he will not die but will continue to struggle against difficulties.”
“There is nothing the person undertakes that will progress. Thus, if he is conscious enough to carry out an appropriate consultation, the cause of his misfortune will be revealed to him.”
“He will go to the sanctuary with two native doctors for divination and we will tell him what to do so that he can progress. But when he refuses to do what he has been asked to do, he will remain in trouble.”
Does this mean that reptiles are harmless?
“The pythons here are harmless. They even lie down with the kids to enjoy the warmth. Some people take them out with their hands, saying that children are scared. When a python enters a house, it is released slowly without violence.”
“During the rainy season, he usually looks for a warm place. He could enter the kitchen if it is open. He does not bite. I have not seen or heard of anyone bitten by a python in my village. Even if you step on him, he will jump and continue on his way.”