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stories and histories IN 1911, N.W. THOMAS VISITED AN AREA CALLED MPUNIYI IN NISE, PRESENT DAY ANAMBRA STATE

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Adeyemi Olajide » in 1911, N.W. Thomas visited an area called Mpuniyi in Nise, present day Anambra State

in 1911, N.W. Thomas visited an area called Mpuniyi in Nise, present day Anambra State. He photographed the shrine known by the name of the place (Mpuniyi). Another shrine in the precinct, but which Thomas did not photograph is Ngelelikokwu. The site has a lot to say about the encounter between Christianity and the indigenous religious institution in Africa. At the location of Mpuniyi and Ngelelikokwu shrines is now SS Peter and Paul Catholic Parish (Mpuniyi and Ngelelikokwu replaced by St. Peter and St. Paul). The shrine house has been replaced by the church building. Hundred years ago, people flocked to Mpuniyi to seek success and protection. Today myriad Christian subjects go there not only for regular church programmes but for the popular adoration ministry where they pray for miracles.

Behind the church building (which is the area populated by trees in the Thomas photograph), there is a vast area that descends up to nearly one kilometre deep, with trees that have been preserved and clean water cascading down the rock at various points, forming a stream called Mmiri Olulu Mpuniyi that leaves the whole place green. The water fetched from the stream had healing power for the Mpuniyi worshipers 107 years ago. Today, in the vast space down the stream is the adoration ground where people come to pray even overnight and take from the stream the water of life and miracles. From far and wide, people come to fetch from it. The son of the last chief priest of Mpuniyi who used to stay with his father, eating chicken heads and legs, is now a church warden in the parish. The parish priest said: "Mpuniyi now goes to church and has been baptised."
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