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Anambra community, their crocodiles, their belief, their inheritance

NewsRazor

Most reptiles are harmful to man in one way or another. Hence man distances himself from snakes, crocodiles and such reptiles.

But this is not the case with the people of Agulu as far as crocodiles are concerned.

Agulu is in Anaocha Local Government Area of Anambra State, South-East Nigeria. The community is famous all over Anambra and beyond because the lake native to it. It's known and called Agulu Lake. The people of Agulu are also known for their dexterity in bakery and and supermarkets.

The Agulu Lake has so many mysteries surrounding its existence; mysteries which still hold and believed in till date. It is said to belong to the deity, ‘Idemili’, a water god and has special powers.  

They say, Agulu Lake can choose who to harbour or drown as it wishes.

Aside this, it harbours several marine species, the most famous of them being the crocodiles which is said to number over 300, both male and female.

Fishing is prohibited in the lake and these crocodiles are considered sacred.

Agulu Lake is one of the numerous sites of attraction in Anambra State, alongside the Ogbunike cave, River Niger, Ikenga Virgin forest, Omashi-iyi cave, Akpu, Odo River and Obutu Lake Omogho, iyi-ocha Lake Amaokpala town, ekwuluimili botanical and herbal garden, Nanka natural springs amongst others all situated in different parts of Anambra State.

Immaculate white in colour, and sometimes made green by algae depending on the season of the year, Agulu Lake is very wide.

It has a lengthy diameter and beautiful surface area, located along Awka road, Umuowele village almost like at the centre of Agulu town, Aniocha Local Government Area of Anambra State.

The lake has a special custodian, Raphael Obi,who offers annual sacrifices to the lake, making it less dangerous.

Obi has his house just beside the water. The most fascinating aspect which might make you wonder, is the fact that he lives side by side with the crocodile without fear of being a part of their meal.

 He takes care of them, feeds them and commune with them. Most times, when there are tourists around he talks to the crocodiles and calls upon them to welcome their guest.

He would give them chicken as gifts from the visitors while he throws kola nut into the water.

Courtesy of this gesture, it is believed he has made the environment friendly for the visitors. 

He told NewsRazor ,"Legend says that these crocodiles were instrumental in delivering the town from enemy soldiers during the civil war of 1967-1970.

 "These sacred crocodiles would transform themselves into beautiful ladies during the war and lure the soldiers unaware into the lake where they disappeared without trace."

 Unto this day, each time the people would celebrate their new yam festival the crocodiles would appear at the banks of the lake to take in sunlight causing gridlock as native passersby would stop to take a glance and selfies with the revered animals.

Anaeto Agu, one of the adherents of the Idemili deity has this to say," despite civilisation, growth and development in society, the crocodiles have refused to leave the lake.

"They are there as soldiers. Our neighbours fear us because of the crocodiles. They have the capacity to transform and attack our enemies. 

"Though dangerous, the crocoy have not attacked any native of Agulu before and no Agulu man or woman has drowned in the lake before , all over history.

"Cases are many where the crocodiles had save Agulu people from drowning. They would act as divers to bring out any victim to the bank of the lake and wait for a guardian to come and him up, if the victim is a child. It's a great mystery only God knows, Anaeto stated.

Because of the tourist potentials of the lake, the state government has started siting some facilities near it. One of such facilities is the Golden Tulips hotel, Agulu.

A former governor of Anambra State, Mr Peter Obi and the late Prof Dora Akunyili, a former Director General of NAFDAC are prominent Agulu people.

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