- Hunters in Aku mysterious cave drop some of their games after hunting inside the cave
- Those who flout this rule die mysteriously after hunting
- The mysterious served as a refugee camp during some communal wars in the community
For the people of Nkalagu Obukpa, Igbo-Eze south local government area of Enugu state, Aku cave is not just an ordinary cave. Rather, it is more of gateway to the world beyond.
Shrouded in seemingly deep mystery, the cave is said to be rich heritage bequeathed to the community by their ancestors.
Nkalagu-Obukpa is located in Igbo-Eze South Local Government Area of Enugu State. It is in Nkalagu-Obukpa that Ugwu-Aku (Aku Hill) is located.
It is within this Ugwu Aku that the cave is located harbouring springs of water fall and deep mysteries yet to be unravelled.
When WITHIN NIGERIA visited the cave, tucked away about twenty kilometers from the local government headquarters in Ibagwa-Aka, some people on local tourism were seen hovering around the cave, but afraid to go inside the hole for fear of unknown.
Mysteries surrounding the cave
However, aside the mysterious waterfall which originates from the top of the cave and gushes out, there is an opening that stretches forth as a tunnel, albeit, a horizontal tunnel.
According to our findings, it was gathered that the opening surrounded by rocks under the cave opens and closes on its own accord at any given time.
A chat with one of the elders of the community Mr. Boniface Ugwunweze showed that in the olden days Aku cave was a hunting ground for some strong hunters in the community.
“According to the custom of the land, the hunters of the village hunt for Aku deity under the cave once in every two years. It was a carnival of some sort which attracted so many community dwellers. It should be noted that Aku is worshiped as a deity.”
Narrating further, Mr. Ugwunweze explained that “majority of Obukpa people are sort of pantheists. They believe that spirits inhabit some natural phenomena such as hill, trees, rivers etc.
“These supernatural forces are regarded as the essence of the beingness of those natural phenomena” he said.
Explaining further, Ugwunweze told WITHIN NIGERIA that “the Aku cave is regarded as being controlled by Aku, the supernatural force that governs the place. Therefore, Aku has his rules.
“That particular tunnel under the cave leads to another world where a different type of humans with different tongues or languages are found.
“The hunters who undertake such task of hunting for Aku would crawl through the tunnel for days. They eventually return back with many hunts. Each, as a matter of rule, must leave two of the game behind for Aku deity.”
On why they must drop two game, Ugwunweze told our reporter that “it is the rule of the game from time immemorial. If you fail to do it, that will be suicidal. Any disobedient hunter who flouts this rule dies hours and even minutes later. You will die few days later, if you are lucky. Otherwise, you will die few hours later”
However, further checks revealed that in war times, the cave protected the Obukpa people. In other words, it served as a refugee camp or military barracks.
In any case, Comrade Ekene Ugwuanyi, a researcher who has done some research work on the cave told our reporter that “it served as a refugee camp for the people of Obukpa community during the wars.
“Whenever one ran into it during those days of ancient wars, the enemy could never see such person no matter what; and whenever the enemies dared venture into the territory in search of the Obukpa people, one of the large rocks hanging over there would break forth and smash that person into pieces.”
Explaining further, Ekene said that “under the cave, just on the rocky floor lay a massive rock. It is called ‘O Mee’r Anyinya’, meaning, ‘The Destroyer of Horses’. Such name was given to the rock based on the anecdote associated with it.
“Stories have it that once upon a time, the Igala people invaded there and took their horses to the stream for drinking and thereby defacing and defiling the stream that fed the Nkalagu-Obukpa people. As the horses bent over there lapping the waters, one of the rocks hanging over there got angry and fell on the horses and their owners. That was their end. The rest ran away like demons not looking back. That stone is the large stone that lay flat on the floor staring quietly at you as you stand there. However, the rocks have never fallen on any of the inhabitants throughout its existence. If you come with good intention, you have nothing to fear.”
Explaining the mystery behind some rocks surrounding the cave, Ugwuanyi said thus; “the huge rocks usher down waters that quench the thirst of the people. Each of the rocks serve as springs sending down waters. You can call it springs of living water as many miraculous healings have been attributed to the waterfall. There’s the one called ‘O tiburi Iye’olu’ (the Breaker of Necklace). This spring falls with full force in that if you wear any necklace, the force could break the chain off your neck. Stories had it that it has a healing power during the rainy season when it falls down angrily on sicknesses and diseases.
“People were required to say their wishes and then allow the water fall on them. That’s the end of the problem as ‘O tiburi Iye’olu’ beats off and washes away your problems.”
By and large, when our reporter sought to speak with the Chief priest of Aku deity, he was said to be living in another community, some twenty kilometres away from the Aku shrine.
Our source also revealed that he has special days to speak to guests even as he visits once in a long while.
When our reporter visited the traditional ruler of the community, HRH Igwe Felix Nnamani, he was not in the community even as his phone number was not going through.