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A statement by Chinyelugo Anionwu who is the chief of staff to the Onitsha monarch said: ‘This is the period when the monarch goes into a trance in total seclusion to commune with the ancestors in supplication to God for the forgiveness of communal transgressions and wrongdoings over the past year, as well as pray for a peaceful and bounteous year ahead for his community.
‘Due to the imperative to sustain the COVID-19 protocols for personal and public hygiene and safety in the face of the prevailing third, and more virulent, wave of the pandemic, His Majesty, has proclaimed that Ofala Eze Onicha on October 6 will be marked very modestly and devoid of the usual fanfare, colour, pomp, and pageantry that have become the global hallmark of the ancient festival. Also, there will be no Azu Ofala celebration. The Owuwa-Ji (New Yam) Festival, which commenced on Friday, 24 September 2021 would end on Thursday, October 21, with Ikelebe-ji (the new yam celebration by the monarch) will similarly be observed modestly.
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