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STRANGE: Evil hawk robs market woman in Benue community

Written By Idoma Television on Saturday, September 19, 2015 | 12:54:00 AM

By Ekre Christian

It sounds like a scene straight from a Nollywood flick about black magic, where characters with maleficent powers assume animal forms to torment their target victims. It is the kind of stuffs you hear in Tales by Moonlight stories.

All the same, it puts the fear of God in the mind of all eye witnesses and even those who heard about the incident second hand. Why on earth will a bird of prey swoop from the heavens only to snatch money from the hand of a young girl on her way to the market? Certainly, there is more to it than meets the eye.

 Indeed, in the good old days, when traditional views hold sway, such an occurrence would have evoked a huge hue and cry of abomination and the people of the community would be thrown into great turmoil, plunged into a frenzy to consult the oracle and appease some gods to avert any untoward event.

Nevertheless, the people of Olediro Ugbugbu, a suburb of Owukpa in Ogbadibo Local Government Area of Benue State did not find this inexplicable incident funny. That a strange hawk ‘declared war’ on a young woman on her way to the market and robbed her of her money was enough reason for apprehension and confusion.

How did it happen? The victim, a certain 22-year-old Vera (surname witheld) was on her way to Ukwo, a popular market in the area when she was ambushed by a fearless hawk that snatched from her hand a princely sum of money wrapped in a white handkerchief. 
An eyewitness, who spoke with Idoma Voice in Owukpa, recounted the strange encounter. “Vera was walking ahead of us on that fateful day. When we were approaching the Onyirada stream, we suddenly heard her screaming “my money, my money, my money” and running towards the bush. When I looked up, I saw a hawk flapping in the air with a white handkerchief.”
Aeriel view of Owukpa

The handkerchief snatched by the hawk was purportedly containing over N2500. 
“I was shocked because I saw her wrapping the money inside the handkerchief before we left the house,” said the eyewitness. “Vera nearly cried herself to death, because the money was given to her by her father to purchase some items from the market for him.”
According to her, the poor girl’s agony was borne out of fear that her father “would not believe that a hawk snatched the money from her.”

The distraught victim of a thieving hawk was so devastated she started crying and rolling on the ground, thereby creating a big scene such that market-goers had to tarry for sometime to console her. Inconsolable, she cried all the way to the market.

When approached by Idoma Voice, Vera, who graduated from GSS, Ugbugbu and is currently a tailoring apprentice, declined to comment on her odd ordeal. “What you heard is true but I don’t have the luxury of time to narrate how it all happened. It is past; I don’t want to say anything about it,” she said simply.
Idoma Voice sampled the opinions of some elders in the community on this seeming incongruous incident. The general verdict was that the incident was out of place.

An elderly man, Agaba, said: “hawk robbed someone? That is strange. It is an omen. She needs to be very careful. This has never happened in this community. I have been living here for over 60 years and I’ve never heard of where an animal robbed someone.”

Ane, a 60-something-year-old traditionalist said: “when I heard about the incident, I approached the father to bring his daughter for spiritual cleansing but the father refused.”
That is to be expected of a father and his daughter who are staunch member of St Jude Catholic church, Udaburu.

She persisted: “The man even claimed his daughter spent the money and was not robbed as she claimed. However, eyewitnesses have confirmed that it happened.  It is left for them. This is a bad omen.”
Elder Abah, an octogenarian, said, though, seemingly unbelievable, it wasn’t the first-of-its-kind that he had heard in his donkey years on earth. He had heard of a precedent. His narration: “Long ago, a man used to rear chickens. Because of the many chickens he had, he was nicknamed “Idoko Obugwu” by his peers. One day, a friend of his came to his house and saw the chickens and told him how much he would also love to have some of the chickens.

“Few minutes after the friend left, a hawk swooped down and carried one of the chickens. The hawk, however, ran out of luck - a container of snuff fell off its wings. The owner of the chicken saw the container, identified it as his friend’s, quickly took it and headed to his friend’s house. On getting there, he demanded for his fowl. The friend at first feigned ignorance untill the chicken owner brought out the container of snuff and asked him: “who owns this?” Then, the friend begged him not to shout. He quietly went into the room and brought out the stolen chicken.

Deriving from this precedent, the old man summed up his view. “What am I saying in essence? It could be a close friend who appeared in form of a hawk.  We all know hawk is not a domestic or friendly bird. I think something is wrong somewhere. I’m sure the hawk is a friend in disguise.”
However, another school of thought debunked the mystification of the stealing hawk. One resident who would not want his name in print scoffed at the idea, saying, “there’s nothing strange here.”
He said, it is possible the hawk mistook the white handkerchief for a chick. “I see nothing strange or ominous about it,” he reiterated.

This argument was also posited by a cleric, though in a different dimension. According to Pastor Emmanuel, “God has several ways of passing message to people. Maybe that is how God wanted to get her attention.”
Citing an anecdote from the Bible, he said: “Don’t forget that, ravens fed Elijah in the Bible. The man-and-animal relationship has always been there right from time immemorial.”

The pastor in charge of Assemblies of the Lord Called Ones concluded thus: “It was a bird created by God. There is nothing like omen.”
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