Enin River: The Good, Bad And The Ugly
The mystery surrounding a mysterious stream in Ikot Ntung village, Oku clan in Itu Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom state called Idim Enin (elephant stream) sounds more like a myth but careful investigations by Inside Niger Delta reveals that there are real life events with solid evidence, victims and survivors traceable to the shallow water body.
The area is blessed good vegetation with rich agricultural produce as well as aquatic life and the people predominantly farmers and fishermen which translate to huge economic and financial blessings because of the rich soil and rich aquatic live.
Idim Enin which is located about three kilometers from the defunct multinational Nigerian News Print Manufacturing Company, (NNMC) has been in existence long before human life was discovered in the area and is notorious for breeding fine species of fishes which are held sacred by people within and outside the community, and no one dares to consume or risk mysterious death. Fishing in the stream which is so tempting is prohibited by the spirits that controls the water.
Inside Niger Delta which visited the community recently gathered from the eldest man in the community and the Ekpurikpu Oku Iboku (Clan head of Oku Iboku) and Chairman of Itu Traditional Council of Chiefs, Ete Idung Effiong Uruk Okon that it was a taboo for anybody to catch or eat fish from Idim Enin from time immemorial.
According to the monarch, his forebears had investigated to know why it was suicidal and sacrilegious to consume fishes drawn from this stream to no avail, except that the mysterious deaths of persons who consumed fishes from this stream in the past were traced to it and since then, nobody has dared to eat any fish drawn from that stream.
Another elderly woman who spoke about the stream and the sacred fish related the story of a man from a neighboring community who attempted to fish in the stream out of greed and ended up with dried fishes in his fishing net instead of fresh ones.
“The only thing that saved him was the fact that he is an in law in the very village where the stream is. His name is Effiong Asuquo, he set his net in the night and sneaked in the morning to go and check it. He saw so much fish when he was approaching and was very excited but on getting there; all the fishes turned to roasted ones. He ran back to the village and confessed out of fear. The only thing that saved him was his status as an in law because even the spirits here respects, love and does not harm an in law” the lady in her 70s narrated in vernacular.
However, while the eating of fishes from the Idim Enin could attract death penalty, it was contrary in the drinking of the water drawn from it.
According to Ete Idung Okon, the water fetched from the Idim Enin is usually very clean, extra-ordinarily cold and appetizing when drank just as those who farm within the vicinity of the stream, usually have bumper and high quality harvests compared to the farm produce from other locations within the same community.
What however makes the stream to remain dreadful till date in spite of the invasion of every community of Oku Iboku by Christianity, he informed, was the fact that sometimes, the stream would appear almost dried up and the next moment, it would be in a full tide irrespective of the season of the year.
More so, the stream undertakes a movement once in a while and, crosses from side of the road to the other side, it is only those who are extremely lucky and opportune that would witness that movement”.
“It is usually very terrifying and electrifying seeing the stream cross itself from its naturally location to the other side of the road and that of course, usually happens when the environment is very quiet and when most people must have gone out to work or to their farms”, Ete-Idung Okon explained.
Explaining further, he said that no one was expected to cross the road when Idim Enin was about to cross even if it takes a whole day to complete its movement.
Inside Niger Delta gathered that even when the road was constructed and asphalted and motorable, idim enin still crosses but this time around it becomes a tourist attraction each time it is expected as motorists including strangers would wait long hours for the movement to be completed.
It was also gathered that a young man whose family could not be traced had crossed the road after waiting for long but was not fortunate as the stream immediately rose and swept him to an unknown destination.
Another mystery observed about the stream when Inside Niger Delta visited was that the splashes of a large volume of water body can only be heard on the one side of the road but cannot be seen while the one seen is a shallow body which according to the people is the remnant of the volume the crosses during the movement.
Idim Enin is so real and mysterious even till date despite the advent of Christianity such that every parent in the community still leave strict warnings to their children against the dangers of the stream which are almost always fatal.