Obinna Odogwu, Awka

Obi of Onitsha, Igwe Nnaemeka Achebe (Agbogidi), has banned the use of canon within Onitsha territory as the commercial nerve centre of Anambra State celebrates new yam festival today.

Igwe Achebe also banned the display of masquerades of any kind during the entire period.

This was contained in a public notice signed by the Chief of Staff of Ime Obi Onicha, Chinyelugo Osita Anionwu, for the Obi-in-Council. The notice also indicated that this year’s “Iwa Ji Onicha” would be held “without the usual revelry, pomp and pageantry” to fulfil the requirements of COVID-19 protocols.

It read: “The Iwa Ji Festival of Onicha Ado N’Idu will commence on Tuesday, Oye, 29 September, 2020 with Iwa Ji Ikolo Awada (Ogbeozoma) and end on Monday, Eke, 26 October, 2020 with Ikelebeji Eze Onitsha.

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“The festival, which heralds the harvest of the new yam, will be marked this year without the usual revelry in line with the mood of the country.

“In his proclamation on 18th June, 2020, His Majesty, Nnaemeka Achebe, Obi of Onitsha, Agbogidi, urged the community to modestly fulfil their traditional and ritual obligations in strict compliance with the COVID-19 protocols on safety and hygiene.

“Accordingly, therefore, there will be no masquerade displays of any kind whatsoever within the Onitsha territorial boundary during the entire period of the festival. Defaulters will be arrested by the law enforcement agencies and prosecuted accordingly.

“We urge all Onitsha indigenes and their friends and well-wishers to enjoy the festival within the constraints of the pandemic. We pray for better times in the future when our festivals will return to normal.”