Ondo Strange Disease: Community leader explains “mystery” behind deaths

A local chief in Ondo State has explained the “mystery” behind a strange and unknown killer disease that has ravaged a town in the state, killing at least 14 people.

The community leader, Moses Enimade, the Oyewoga of Ode Irele in Ondo State, said the disease came as punishment for the “sacrilege” committed against Molokun, the local deity in the area.

Mr. Enimade, next in command to the Oba, Cornelius Olanrewaju-Lebi, stated this in Irele on Saturday.

No fewer than 14 people have died of severe headaches and blindness in the town recently.

There have been no explanation for the disease. Victims have tested negative to Ebola, the deadly and incurable virus that killed thousands across West Africa, including Nigeria.

Mr. Enimade debunked the rumour that the deaths were caused by strange disease or Ebola virus.

Mr. Enimade said some stubborn youth broke into the inner room of the Molokun shrine on April 15.

“Molokun is a deity of the land,” he said. “Only the Chief Priest and High Chief Gboguron are qualified to enter the shrine.”

The chief said the youth entered the shrine and made away with traditional items in a bid to acquire extra-ordinary powers and engage in money ritual.

“They were not qualified to enter the (shrine),” he said. “They had to face the death penalty.”

The Oyewoga said he could not remember the last time Molokun or any other gods had to strike like this in the area.

According to him, there is no community or town without its own culture and tradition. He said what happened in Irele was the judgement of the gods on the youth.

“Even the Kabiesi himself is not permitted to enter the Molokun Shrine’s inner room except the Chief Priest and High Chief Gboguron. Sacrifice must be performed before they can enter.

“Because these youths want to be rich at all costs, they entered the sacred place and made away with traditional items and 20 of them have died as a result of their desperate acts,” he said. “We have to appease the gods or else many will still die and we have to bury them according to tradition. Their corpses belong to the gods and will be exhumed if buried by their families.”

He restated that the deaths were not caused by diseases or Ebola as widely speculated.

“The death caused by Molokun is characterised by severe headache and blindness,” he said. “Proverbs 29:1 in the Bible say: `He that had been reproved and hardened his neck shall suddenly be destroyed without remedy; so youths of nowadays must be careful.’”

Some residents appealed to the chief priest to make the necessary atonement to avert calamity in the town.

They said news of the deaths had given the town and state a bad name.

Sheed Osuolale said he was afraid when the news broke.

Esther Bantefa said the news had given the town and the state a bad name. She said the chief priest should as a matter of urgency perform necessary rituals.

“Our people in Lagos and other towns called us to get information if it was Ebola outbreak,” she said.

Tayo Akinyelure said parents should warn their children against going near shrines.

“Many youths do not believe in all these traditions and customs,” Mrs. Akinyelure said. “It is high time parents warned their children against committing sacrilege.”



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  • amazing2012

    Illiterate !

    • Otile

      My Odua brothers are not illiterates like you Hausa Fulani uneducated. Their problem is the filth in their environment.

      • Ole

        I was in Aba recently. There was a corpse in a dump site in the middle of the town. And closeby is a pharmaceutical shops where fake drugs were being dispensed

        • Mengi

          What were you doing in Aba? Peddling fake drugs abi? Just listen to yourself.

        • Otile

          Face reality omo, don’t make up lies to rationalize your nature. This is the first time I have heard a Yoruba claiming to have traveled the East. What did you go there to do? The Yorubas are always shouting at Ndigbo to stay back in the East because they (Yorubas) have no intentions of visiting the East.

          Hypocrites and all.

          • ulesanmi

            This is bad. whether politics, jokes, you guys will take a swipe on the whole Yorubas without restraint and caution. there is no justification for this. have you been to my town in Ekiti and some other neat and clean towns in Yoruba land before/ why then should you just make a broad condemnation? the High chief gave his own explanation, you may counter him by going to Ode irele, take permission and enter the shrine, come out. if nothing happens to you within 3 months, you would have successfully carried out experiment to demyistify the molokun diety. simple. Otile and co, what is your take on AMADIOHA, OKIJA SHRINE AND OTHERS IN THE EAST?

          • Otile

            You do not understand what is at stake here. I am taking of simple hygiene here and you are preoccupied about imaginary deities here and there.

            Why should I put my life in danger entering a filthy dungeon not cleaned for donkey years, just to prove a point for you? Believe it or not unhygienic environments do cause deadly diseases, which some simpletons attribute to vengeance of non-existent gods.

            High Chief Gboguron is in the business of scaring people and extorting money, good sex from women, and other favors using the imaginary powers of non-existent Molokun. Can he swear that he has ever seen or heard the voice of the so called Molokun god? Come on, man. You see, a good Muslim would call you arna.

          • ulesanmi

            You need not call me names, I am a practicing Christians, what am saying is that you dont just abuse us as a race. if you say Ode Irele or some villages or cities in Yorubaland are dirty, I may not have uttered a word, but taking a swipe on us all is what I frown at.

          • sawston

            I managed a company in the South East for a year and I visited Aba market several times in the course of my job. It is true that Aba market is dirty. You are just propagating a common derogatory image of Yoruba people among the Igbos. Almost every tribe in Africa is engaged in idol worshipping and do so in unclean environments. To single out the Yorubas and suddenly become defensive of the Igbos own dirty habits shows your true colours.

          • Otile

            It is strange to hear a Yoruba confess that he went to Igboland to make a living, is this real or are you jiving me?

            The logic of Yoruba people is so poor, your logic irritates me. I did not single out Yorubas and suddenly become defensive of Igbo as you are claimming. I did not publish this article explaining how the disease claimed several lives, it is a fact. The death did not happen in Igboland, so what am I defensive about.

            Man, face your problems. The disease is caused by germs from the dirty shrine. Do the autopsy of the victims, no true doctor on earth can tell you that the victims died from the attack of molokon god. Get it.

    • Tonnero

      It is interesting that you call a man who believes his local deity an illiterate (which by the way means being unable to read and write) but you venerate one that believes a Jewish one. I leave you to draw your own conclusions.

  • Myson

    Nigeria government both Federal and State should as a matter of urgency deploy enough resources to determine this strange disease. They should also involve international heath organization. A disease that kill the patient after showing the symptom within 24hrs is more lethal than Ebola. There is no deity any where in the world that has power to kill anyone. If Ebola has started in Nigeria, some people will attribute it to deity.

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  • Otile

    If this disease came before the rigged election APC minions would blame it on Jonathan. From all indications the tragedy is resulting from poor sanitation. Rural communities in Oduduwaland are dirty, bacteria ridden and dangerous for human habitation. The so called shrine in question is filthy, a breeding ground for highly mutated lethal bacteria. Those who visited the shire bore the germs that infected others.

    I hope my Odua brothers do not dismiss the point I am making, I mean well for our Odua brothers. The best thing the state government can do for the people of that community is use the helicopter to thoroughly disinfect the shrine and demolish it. There are no evil spirits inhabiting the shrine, deadly bacteria are the culprit. Molokun is an imaginary deity, it does not exist.

    Odua people need to be schooled into basic hygiene.


      Otile,how are you ?

      You nailed it,the Yoruba attitude towards basic hygiene leaves much to the desire,they also need to dump their fetish beliefs and join the 21st century.

      • Ole

        Good Talk. Just the way the Igbos have dumped their Okija shrines


          I am not suggesting that you should dump your ancestral practices however when a disease strikes a community the reaction must be based on modern medical science and not by attending a Babalawo’s surgery.

      • Silent Observer

        You’re trying to pull a fast one here. Isn’t Tawanda same person as Otile/Oleku/Akpos1? Can’t be a coincidence that both of you share same IP address. Good try though.


          You are uninformed !! I and Otile do not even live on the same continent.

          • Silent Observer


          • Omonbendel

            Ride on @wahala. You nailed it…. I have yet to come across a crafty fellow like u.


            I am yet to come across a naive fellow as you. Me and @Wahala the same ? You are a joke !!

          • Silent Observer

            You and @wahala are joined at the hip. Deny all you want but the bottom line is that you’re one and the same person. Pitting yourself against each other will not wash —not to the discerning—-that is.


            Nincompoop !!

          • Silent Observer

            Ok sir. I read somewhere you hope to be made the Nigerian ambassador to Germany. You sure deserve it. I can only wish you the best of luck.

        • Otile

          Do you know what an IP is?

          • Silent Observer

            No I don’t. You tell me pls.

      • Otile

        I am fine my brother, and how about you?

        You are right my brother, some people must be told the truth and nothing but the truth, which may hurt some simple-minded fellows, but the truth must be told.

    • Mengi

      They probably slaughtered some animals for sacrifice and a few of them came back a couple days later, cooked and ate the bacterial-infested rotten flesh on behalf of the deity. It still revolves around basic hygiene like you pointed out.

    • newnigerian1970

      The same situation applies in Okija and indeed any shrine – Edo, Delta, anywhere in Africa indeed has these sorts of places. We just need to educate people in basic scientific beliefs. Superstition has no place in any 21st century society.

      • Otile

        How about the bacteria therefrom?

    • Alicia

      With a “brother” like you, Odua people do not need enemies. Thanks for the advice. Just shove up your behind. You did not even wait for the Ministry of Health to announce their findings before ranting that your BS. How do you know “from all indications the tragedy is from poor sanitation”? Why have people not been dying before now if that were true?

      • Otile

        Alicia, take it easy. I have traveled to many places, and I have been to Odua remote communities too. I know what I am talking about. When did anybody enter into the “holy of hollies” of Molokun shrine? When was shrine last cleaned, I can tell you never. You are talking about a rotten dungeon where animals were slaughtered for cultist sacrifices, emu poured in libation, rotten eggs and fruits strewn here and there for donkey years.

        Alicia, try to leave your kitchen some donkey years uncleaned and come back and feed fat there and see whether you will not become blind and paralyzed by harmful bacteria. Knock off the belief in Molokun diety, it is a way awon cunning babalowos extort money from feeble minded people.

        To answer your question why people have not been dying before now, the answer is a no brainer. Simply people are bared from entering the dungeon. Even the Chief Priest and High Chief Gboguron do not go there. They extort money, wine, sacrificial animals, sex from awon omo obinrin and kiss them waka.

        Believe me, Alicia, I mean well for my Odua brethren. Don’t go there yourself, if you do you certainly catch deadly bacteria and prematurely check out of this world, sista.

        • Jasper

          You nailed it Otile.

  • Arabakpura

    When did Muolokwu migrate to Ondo state?

  • Allayes

    Just find it interesting that Chief Enimade that seems to comfortable with this shrine was also quoting from the Bible … Hmmnn

    • Frank Bassey

      That is Yoruba for you. All the GOs you see presiding over large population have their shrines. You cannot separate a Yoruba from traditional idol worship.

      • simssoon

        Tell them many misunderstand them with their traditional propaganda.You can imagine people saying this with their christian names

  • Scalywag

    Please let the ministry of health and WHO establish the cause of this apparent epidemic. This explanation is not scientific enough to be accepted on face value.

    • Frank Bassey

      You don’t know Yoruba.

  • newnigerian1970

    It’s disgusting that an adult credited with a sound mind can utter this absolute rubbish in the 21st century. A primary school pupil with basic knowledge of science won’t come up with this insane explanation for an illness.

  • Koffa0319

    My husband, who is an Infectious Diseases doctor, said, it may be ENCEPHALITIS OR MENINGITIS, when I told him the symptoms reported are headache, blurry vision/total blindness, convulsion and death. HOPE THE MEDICAL PEOPLE WILL TEST FOR THESE DISEASES.

  • G4

    Where is the Ministry of Health?

  • Wayne Perkins

    With all due respect for the religious sensibilities of those who regard Molokun as a god worthy of their deepest respect, neither he personally nor the supposed unhealthy condition of his shrine could have had anything to do with this outbreak, whereas its victims began manifesting symptoms as early as April 13, according to WHO spokesman Gregory Hartl. That would be some 2 days before the alleged desecration took place.

  • EVEN the devil quotes Scripture for his devilishness.

  • Sammy Charles

    Is this a case of methanol poisoning as a result of consuming adulterated alcohol. Fluid samples of the dead should be sent abroad for analysis by a toxicologist

  • Ogom

    PT should be speaking to health authorities in order to establish the FACTS, not to this illiterate ‘local chief’.

    It is embarrassing to see such a mumbo-jumbo article published in a national newspaper in 21st Century Nigeria.


    Even if it is sacrilege, shouldn’t it be limited to the people who committed it. or is the gods the owner of the entire community and Ondo state. ……the earth is the Lord’s and it’s fullness thereof.

  • Curseless

    Is this man Moses a believer? If so, then this is crunch time. All these local gods explanation is like comparing the Holy one of Isreal with Baal . Let the people in that town particularly Oba Cornelius repent and fast like in Nineveh and God will show mercy