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Dr. Philip Njemanze is a human rights activist and scientist. He is also an author and researcher in ancient history and linguistics. He recently published a book series, entitled: ‘Igbo Mediators of Yahweh Culture of Life’, where he explores the history behind the origins of many places in Igboland. One such important places is the market, called Eke Ukwu Owerri. This place has become a growing flashpoint for crisis in Owerri because of the controversial relocation plan by the Imo State Government.

In this chat, he threw light on a number of issues:

WHAT is your position on the recent announcement by Imo State Government on the planned relocation of Eke ọ nụ waa osisi Market?

First, I must say a few things about markets in Igboland. I explored these issues in my recent book: Igbo Mediators of Yahweh Culture of Life. In this book series, volumes 1-3, I demonstrated clearly that Jesus Christ also called Emmanuel, was born and lived in Owerri in Igboland, Nigeria and the entire Biblical history happened in Igboland, Nigeria. The word Emmanuel came from the Igbo wordMmadụ Elu, meaning ‘a person from above’ in Owerri dialect. The ancient markets in Igboland are holy places. They are named with the prefix Eke, Orie, Afọ, Nkwọ, according to the four-day (also doubled as eight-day) week Igbo Calendar. The day, Eke meaning ‘day of regeneration or creation.’ This was named to mark the day of the resurrection of Our Lord Jesus Christ; Orie meaning ‘Almighty God’, was named to mark the day He was offered to Almighty God.Afọ meaning ‘abdomen or womb’ is the day of His birth. Nkwọ meaning ‘to pour water or baptism.’

The Eke ọ nụ waa osisi Market has a special place because it was the very market where Jesus carved wood with His father, Joseph, who Owerri people called Onye o je e so a fụ, meaning ‘the person He accompanies to go out’. The Mesorite Jews translated the Holy Bible from the original Igbo text in Hebrew consonants to form the names we read today.

What do you mean by the Original Bible in Igbo language? I thought it was in Hebrew?

Well, simply said, the word, Hebrew, came from Igbo words Ọha e burụ ụwa, meaning ‘the people who bear the wickedness of the World.’ God was called Oseburụwa or more correctly,Ose e bu ụrụ ụwa, meaning ‘Almighty God who bears the wickedness of the World.’ Yes, the Bible was originally written in Igbo language and all the Biblical cities are found to this day in Igboland. Owerri is the real Ancient City of Jerusalem. About 200 years ago, there was no letter ‘J’ in English language. Many European languages like Italian and Spanish still do not have the letter ‘J’. This means that, there could not have been an ancient name ‘Jerusalem’. The correct Igbo word isiyī e rusala m meaning, ‘evil should not touch me’. The letter ‘Y’ was substituted for ‘J’. The same is for the name Jesus, it was initially Yesus, taken from the Igbo word Ya si ọsa, meaning ‘God from the masses’ in Ọnịtcha (Onitsha) dialect or Yahoshuwa taken from the Owerri dialect Ya họọ shi ụwa, meaning ‘God’s chosen one from the world.’ The fact is that, for 200 years all major archaeologists have investigated and concluded that, modern Jerusalem in the Middle East is not the Ancient Biblical Jerusalem. This is an established archaeological fact! This is known by the State of Israel and Palestine, but revenue from tourism is more important to both economies than the Biblical truth.

Are you saying that the Igbo are the Ancient Israelites? How scientifically authentic is this claim?

Yes. The word Igbo, correctly spoken, I gbo, meaning ‘mediators’ or priests who mediate between humanity and God for the remission of sins, was given the tribe who used to be called Israel, correctly written as ḷ zara Eli, meaning ‘you answered the Most High’. The Igbo people are the only people in the world who are ancient Israelites! This is scientifically definitively confirmed, but people are not aware of it in Nigeria. The population genetics and human genome project have given us the information on the origins of human society everywhere, dating back to ancient times. I explained this in more detail in my books. The Igbo people have a genetic group called the L1c haplotype group, also known in genetics as the ‘Eve’ genes. These are the primordial genes from the first woman on earth. Other genes series N, M haplotypes are derivatives of this original genes. The latter genes are the ones you find in modern-day Europeans. In fact, the European genes and white skin dates back only 12,000 years ago. While the present Igbo people date back as a population group, at least, 150, 000 years ago, it is genetically impossible for any European to be an ancient Israelite or any other white person to be a descendant of ancient Israelites. The present people of the State of Israel are Turkic people of the Khazar tribe. They are Jewish converts from the time when the Igbo, specifically of the people of Nri, called the tribe of Gad, in Igbo language, Gaduo, meaning ‘walk to or troop to’ lived in the Asia Minor at the location of the Republic of Georgia. They had the Kagan Igbo Empire, which has also white people, who became converts of the Jewish Igbo religion. Some of their descendants live in the State of Israel as orthodox Jews. However, the ancient Israelites are exclusively Igbo people by genetics. Jews was originally used as the term for Igbo from Judah, taken from Ya ode ọha, meaning ‘God resounds among the people’. Judea covered the area of the old province Owerri province.

What about all the pictures we see of Jesus, Mary and Joseph as white people?

Well, aside to say that all people have the right to use the Holy images that look like them, for historical accuracy, these are not the original images of the Holy family. In my books, I provided the original images of Jesus and the apostles I got from the Catacombs of Marcellinus and Peter ca. 330 AD in the Vatican in Rome. These images clearly show that Jesus was an African. This is well known even in Europe. Europeans do not venerate the images of Mary and Jesus that are white persons, rather they venerate the Black Madonna, which has a black image of Jesus and Mary. Though some theologians say that, what is most important is the spirit of the veneration rather than the image itself. I would still prefer that the correct images be used. If you change the image of the messenger, you also change the message.

Let’s go back to the issue of the Eke ọ nụ waa osisi Market, why should this market not be relocated?

As I told you before, it is a holy site as a market place; you cannot relocate the sacredness of the market place. Now, you can keep it clean and arrange it and improve access but not to relocate the market place. There have been previous attempts to relocate the market but it never worked. Legend has it that, each time relocation was tried, the perpetrators died mysteriously. The issue here is that what has been done by some criminal elements in the past has been to make moves to relocate the Owerri market, which they know would fail, but in the process, they dispossessed many poor people of their stalls in the market place, to lease it out to new clients. This has been a recurring criminal activity at that market, and the Owerri community has repeatedly condemned such actions.

What should be the plan to improve the market place?

The Eke ọ nụ waa osisi Market is a holy site. It is actually the holiest market in the world. It could fetch Nigeria over 20 billion USD annually in tourism along with other holy sites in Owerri and around Nigeria. The place called Nigeria is a tourist haven. We have the Israelites, the Philestines, the Jebusites and all other kingdoms in ancient Biblical history. The market like every other place in the city of Owerri is filthy. The government has done a very poor job of cleaning the city and elsewhere in Imo State. The entire infrastructure has fallen apart within the last four years. There must be a fundamental rethinking of the way we will handle the Holy City of Owerri. The entire city is a historical monument of UNESCO World Heritage sites. We are making our case to the Federal Government and United Nations. It is first, a heritage of Owerri people and that of the entire world. Under the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, historical monuments or potential sites are all under the National Assembly. These historical sites once identified must not be relocated or defaced in any manner. If actions are taken to change the historicity of a site, that may constitute gross violations under the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. It is also regarded as a Crime Against Humanity, which is under the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court (ICC) in the Hague, Netherlands.

Would this imply that the actions of the Imo State Government to relocate the market could be considered a gross violation?

Yes. We have already filed a case against the Imo State Government for violating historical sites in Owerri. All the important historical sites in Owerri have been violated or destroyed in one way or another. Let us take the demolition of the ‘Catering Rest House’ lately known as Imo Hotels, the main guesthouse of Imo State Government of the past administrations. This guesthouse in modern Nigerian history was a site of great historical relevance. It hosted all the dignitaries from colonial times to those who fought for independence like Dr. Nnamdi Azikwe, Chief Obafemi Awolowo and others. It was the site for many background negotiations that ended the civil war. This was bulldozed down completely by the present administration without regard to the historicity of the place. The first Imo State library built after the civil war that became the symbol of Igbo resilience in education was bulldozed down completely by the present Imo State Government. The historical government buildings in the main government house area where all the past administrations – colonial and Nigerian – had offices in Owerri were all destroyed. Now, the ancient temple, called Mbarị, meaning ‘for the people to survive’ the site of the Maccabean Revolt (written in the Book of Maccabees 1 and 2 in the Bible), in Igbo language ‘e mee a kaa aka ebe Ose’ meaning ‘were forced to bear witness to Almighty God’, has been completely defaced. In our view, as Owerri people, what is going on in Imo State is a cultural ethnic cleansing of the people and sacred places in Owerri. These issues we have raised with the National Human Rights Commission, the Presidency, the United Nations and international human rights organisations. We have made our case to the United Nations on the rights of the indigenous people of Owerri.

Lastly, do you see any parallel with ISIS crimes in Syria and Iraq? How do I get your book to read further on the issues of the H\holy sites in Owerri?

You can say so. I will only add that the sites in Owerri are not just historical places, they are also of heavenly sacredness. The books ‘Igbo Mediators of Yahweh Culture of Life’ volumes 1-3 are published by Xlibris and could be ordered or also purchased online. I also have a video documentary on the books, where I discuss these issues on Youtube, if you search with the title of the book.

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