Popular Dreaded Deities Across Igboland

Popular Dreaded Deities Across Igboland

by AnaedoOnline

African traditional belief is one that has transcended years of watering down and abuse by different cadres of religion. Africa’s sovereignty was not the only thing hijacked during the era of colonialism, African traditional religion suffered a hit too.   

Igbo people are known for their belief in several deities, attaching spirituality to everything they do. it is true that the coming of Christianity has drastically weakened the structure and belief in these deities nonetheless these deities still hold firm, attracting devout worshippers across the globe. 

In Igboland, polytheism is the order, and here are some of the popular deities across Igboland.



Alaogbaga Mbaise

Alaogbaga is a deity that was once feared by many, particularly the unjust and guilty, and was based in the town of Chokoneze Ezinihiite Mbaise, Imo state. Before the arrival of Christianity and modernization, Alaogbaga was the enforcer of law and order, and the deity’s presence was deeply ingrained in the minds of the people.

The name Alaogbaga is derived from “Ala,” which means earth (the main name of the deity), and “Ogbaga,” a specific species of yam cultivated by the people of Umueze. The shrine is strategically located near the market square at the center of the village, positioning Alaogbaga as the town’s guardian and protector.

The goddess is feared not because of the fear of death, but due to her intolerance for injustice and her punishment of offenders. The sacred animal of Alaogbaga is the tortoise, believed to roam the town and ensure that everything is in order. It is believed that calamity befalls anyone who accidentally harms the totems and does not appease the deity.

In Chokoneze, worshippers of the Alaogbaga deity attribute socio-religious functions to the deity, including control of crimes, settlement of disputes, protection of norms, cultures, and traditions, promotion of human rights, love, peace, security, justice, and morality in the community. These days, the name of Alaogbaga no longer instills fear as it did in the past.

Alaogbaga Igbo deity


The shrine, located in Umuhu community, Ukpor town, Nnewi-South Local Government Area of Anambra State, is situated just a stone’s throw away from the Nnewi-South Local Government Secretariat.

According to myths, the origin of the deity is unknown, although it is said to have existed for over a century. The deity is believed to be a goddess and the wife of the god Urasi, another deity. The goddess is reputed to detest lies and injustice and is feared for her quick judgment and ability to strike down any guilty party in matters brought before her.


Due to these perceived powers, as well as the credibility and accessibility of the Ogwugwu Umuhu Ukpor, the shrine is not only a place where people seek the goddess’s favor, but also a popular location where individuals from different regions and religions come to take oaths and lodge complaints about civil disputes.

ogwugwu igbo deity

Sacred Places/Things Across Communities In Igboland


Odiete Amoke Inyi

The deity famed for his protection of his people, the people of Edemani village in Enugu state. The deity originally called Odiete, was named after its founding father, Amoke Inyi. 

Amoke Inyi, according to stories was a slave sold into slavery to the court of a renowned herbalist in Igala by slave catchers who kidnapped him, as the story goes he learned all the secrets of herbalism from his master. In the seventh year of his service, he escaped when he learned of his impending sacrificial death for the renewal of his master’s power and charms. He prepared a charm that guided him which was revered on his arrival 


The shrine of Odiete Amoke Inyi in Edemani is classified into two. The shrine in the forest and the shrine at home.

The home/domesticated shrine. This is the shrine that is located at “Uno” in Owerre Ugwu. The shrine has lesser principles that govern the proper conduct, administration, and mode of worship of the deity. Women are allowed to enter some apartments of this shrine (home shrine). Women do sweep the environment of the shrine and also do fetch water that is used in conducting certain rituals and sacrifices in this shrine. They can also witness some rituals in this shrine and also take part in cultural dance activities of the “Igba Nkwa” day which is a ceremony done in memory of the deity”.

Strangers and researchers are allowed to enter into some of the apartments of the home shrine

The forest shrine: The forest shrine of Odiete Amoke Inyi is situated somewhere in the Owerre forest of Edemani. The exact location is unknown to outsiders as movements in the forest region where it is situated is restricted.

The forest shrine is the most powerful shrine of Odiete Amoke Inyi. Even the priest and chief priest of the deity take precautions before entering the forest shrine.


What was more; women are prohibited from eating anything used for sacrifice in the forest shrine let alone taking part in the aspect of the forest shrine administration and worship


One of the most popular deities in Igboland, stories have been told about the might and wrath of this goddess. Movies have been made telling stories in reverence of the Idemili, a powerful water goddess whose wrath is famed. 

The deities is regarded as the goddess of all water bodies hence, the name ‘Idemili’ which literally translates as the pillar of water. According to the community’s creation story, she is the progenitor of the people of Idemili which is where the name of the town is derived from. 


Idemili shrine, called Nkua is in Obosi. It is a powerful place and before someone becomes the king of this community, he must visit the shrine. It is only the Igwe and the Iyesele that are entitled to visit the shrine before they assume office. It is a very secret shrine.

The deity’s totemic symbol is a python, in the town of Idemili and its environs snakes are considered sacred animals, It is taboo to kill the snake, some people have the royal python as a pet. The Idemili water that flows through the town is considered the abode of the Eke Idemili. The royal python is believed to have on many occasions have visited indigenes of Idemili who live outside the community to deliver special messages to them.  


The deity whose totemic symbol is a catfish is a female goddess of the people of Mgbom Okposi, Ebonyi state.


Nwannachima is a goddess of fertility, the hallowed pace is a sacred cave with a body of water. Water from the cave is fetched for barren women to drink which is believed to enable them to conceive. Hence, after the birth of such a child, he or she will be named after the goddess Chima Mgbum Ike. The symbol of this deity is the catfish which is not meant to be killed.


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