Okyenhene Bans Shrines

Okyenhene Osagyefuo Amoatia Ofori Panin. INSET: Power 1 (left) and Scorpion

THE Okyenhene, Osagyefuo Amoatia Ofori Panin, has banned all ritual activities in shrines in the over 940 communities in the Akyem–Abuakwa Traditional Area in the Eastern Region.

Besides, he has ordered the removal of alien shrines from Akyem-Abuakwa lands within two weeks.

The Okyenhene’s action follows the recent arrest of two fetish priests who have been accused of murdering at least two people.

The two fetish priests — Christian Lawoe Gameli aka Power-One, 36, and Famous Adukonu aka Scorpion, 37, both from Afife in the Volta Region — were operating a shrine called ‘Power 1 Herbal & Spiritual Centre’ located at Adu Kwadwo and Kofi Nyarko villages, near Maame Dede Junction on the Nsawam to Adeiso road.

Violation of Customary Observance

A statement issued and signed by the Okyeman State Secretary, D. M. Ofori–Atta, said, “The Okyenhene finds it extremely necessary to take action concerning the provocative specter of the establishment of alien shrines by fetish priests with no clear social ties and identity mainly from the neighbouring countries, directly linked with the violation of Akyem-Abuakwa customary observances, ritual murders, fake currency racketeering, and other violent criminal activities.”

According to the statement, “It has been observed that over the past decade there has been an unperfected influx of immigrant ritualists disguised as traditional priests who have abused the hospitality of Okyeman and engaged in activities that threaten the lives of residents, social order and the health of the national economy.”

‘’It must be stated that although the acquisition of land and landed property is permitted for non-subjects of the Ofori Panin Stool, it is strictly forbidden for migrant traditional rulers and traditional priests to invoke alien rituals and purport to exercise customary authority, which is the sole prerogative of  Nananom of Akyem-Abuakwa,” the statement added.

Unregulated Activities

It continued that “for the sake of clarity, alienation of land does not confer jurisdictional authority on the alienee and further the performance of unregulated ritual activities.”

Expressing worry over the ritual killings, Okyenhene noted that on April 29, both suspects admitted having interacted with the missing persons for some time and later killed on January 15, 2020 at their shrine.

“The suspects reiterated that the deceased was buried at a particular spot within the shrine and led police to the scene. The area was secured for an exhumation order to be granted by the court,”the statement said.

Okyenhene said that the Adeiso incident appeared not to be an isolated case, saying “it authenticates several reports and complaints received by the Ofori Panin Palace and exposes the gravity of the situation.”

“In defence of greater public interest and fulfillment of his responsibility as the Overlord of Akyem-Abuakwa, the Osagyefuo has found it prudent and timely to order that all alien shrines be closed down within two weeks from the date of this public statement, and an immediate end to all customary rituals alien to Akyem-Abuakwa custom.”

Security Enforcement

The Okyenhene tasked the police and other security agencies to intensify and broaden investigations into ritual murders and other criminal activities by these ritualists.

Warning To Chiefs

Okyenhene further warned all chiefs in Akyem-Abuakwa not to lease lands to any immigrant traditional priests and their associates, and added that chiefs who defy the order would face immediate destoolment and other related sanctions.

FROM Daniel Bampoe, Kyebi