Itu Alusi In Igbo Ancestral Culture & Traditions

Itu Alusi In Igbo Ancestral Culture & Traditions.

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Itu Alusi -The Last Hope Of The Poor Man

Urbanization and the pursuit of a greener pasture are major contributors to the mass immigration of young people from rural communities into urban regions. This now leaves ancestral communal lands at risk of being sold by community elites and the government, without the youth from these communities benefiting from agreements like this.

In places, where this is currently ongoing, community youths, stood up against these men by taking them to court but sadly, they lost. This left the youth with a last option,“Itu Alusi”, and so far, the fear of these deities has helped in the protection of these ancestral lands until they can be used appropriately, by establishing something that the entire community can benefit from, instead of an individual.

Gini bu “Itu Alusi”- 

   In our cosmology, Itu Alusi is the process of seeking justice and retributions through Igbo cosmic beings “Alusi”. We can say that this process is synonymous with the modern-day court system, hence, cases pass through several protocols before justice is ascertained and reprimands issued.

Protocols associated with this process include; The submission of complaints which is done by the plaintiff, after which the accused/defendant is summoned/invited to defend the accusation and seek peace, hence, in some situations, the case would immediately be handled without it going further, but in cases where the chief priest cannot reconcile or mitigate, he goes on to direct the case to the deity.

After this is done by the chief priest, the individual who initiated this process must separate himself and his family from the accused. This means they cannot eat from the same plate, they cannot walk the same path, they cannot drink from the same keg or cup either, and after justice has been ascertained, they must go back and applaud the deity with livestock. It’s important to note that, while seeking justice, the deity does not act upon its discretion, but it officiates the case between the Chi and Ndi-Ichie, of those involved in other to attain justice.

We believe that while this case is being judged spiritually by these energies, the defendant if guilty would have dreams with clear indications that he/she needs to own up and reconcile before a judgment is made. Some of these dreams include; being chased or beaten by masquerades, seeing yourself before deities which is a reference to what is happening to you spiritually, and finally, seeing yourself in the mist of elderly people with them yelling or cautioning you. These dreams are simply for you to take action, investigate what is happening, and seek to make amends.

The summoning/invitation is a vital part because it gives every party involved an opportunity to air themselves and defend the accusation, hence, without a formal invitation, such a case would take longer time to conclude and the dreams become an avenue to share details of the on-going case but in cases where an invitation was issued without any formal response, the discretion to act as it pleases, falls on the deity,

Benefits of Itu Alusi In Igbo Culture:

  1. Itu Alusi is cost-effective: Unlike the modern court system, where the plaintiff would be asked to open a case file with exorbitant prices and lawyer fees, Itu Alusi is more or less commissioned with kolanut and hot drinks and upon the execution of justice, the plaintiff needs to applaud the deity with a life stock, this makes Itu Alusi, the go-to process of attaining justice amongst Ndi-Igbo in rural communities.
  2. Itu Alusi is an incorruptible process: In our current reality, attaining justice when wronged is seen as a luxury only the rich can afford. This makes Itu Alusi, the only refuge for a poor or a middle-class family.
  3. Restoration of Balance: “Itu Alusi” aims to restore balance and harmony between conflicting individuals, by addressing their grievances and resolving their conflicts through spiritual channels, that could involve “Igba Afa/Itu Alusi”.
  4. Cultural Preservation: By presenting and invoking Igbo deities and engaging in this traditional practice, “Itu Alusi” helps preserve and perpetuate Igbo cultural and spiritual practices. It reinforces the cultural identity of Ndi-Igbo and strengthens our connection to our ancestral heritage.
  5. Personal and Collective Healing: Engaging in “Itu Alusi” rituals can promote healing and reconciliation when detected before reprimands are issued. By addressing grievances and seeking resolution through spiritual means, individuals and communities may experience emotional healing, closure, and a renewed sense of peace.

Disadvantages Of Itu Alusi

  1. Lack of Legal Protections: Relying on Itu Alusi, means such a case would not be mitigated by any other human agency, hence your utter faith must be within the traditional system and its resolve.
  2. Marginalization of Marginalized Groups: In current times, traditional justice systems like “Itu Alusi” may perpetuate existing power dynamics and hierarchies within society, leading to the marginalization of certain groups, such as women, or those with lower social status. This can exacerbate inequalities and injustices within the community.
  3. Potential for Abuse: Without clear oversight or accountability mechanisms, the process of seeking justice through “Itu Alusi” may be susceptible to abuse or manipulation by individuals with vested interests. This can undermine the fairness and integrity of the justice system and lead to miscarriages of justice.
  4. It is a Deadly Process: The reprimands associated with Itu Alusi can be overboard, touching, and destroying the life of innocents. This is because we as ndi-igbo believe in the concept and practice of “Ofu aka ruta mmanu, ozu oha”, hence, inclusivity in joy and punishment.

Itu Alusi has its usefulness but it should be done with uttermost caution and honesty because any atom of deception can be fatal to those involved in the process. Again, I also believe Itu Alusi is a two-edged sword, that can be pointed towards a plaintiff when they ignore due process or protocols such as; avoiding the defendant which in modern times, can be seen as you distancing yourself from someone who has a grievance and this would aid to prevent further escalation, nonetheless, it can be detrimental and mainly perceived as deadly on the part of the plaintiff, so so i would encourage caution before engaging in this process.

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