Since a Fulani herdsman discovered a mystery river, which suddenly emerged and took over a large expanse of land in a forest at Nnachi, in Udi LGA of Enugu State, the community has not had rest.
People have continued to troop to have a spiritual bath and be made whole. However, it seems the party is coming to an end, so to say, as the river is drying up.
Checks revealed that the river is disappearing, with only a small muddy portion remaining.
For the people of Nnachi, the drying up of the river is not a surprise. They said that the mystery river usually sprang up every seven years and lasts for seven days before disappearing. They, however, confessed that the last time the river emerged was about 30 years ago before appearing last November and remaining in place for more than three months.
The water, which has been nicknamed ‘River of Bethsaida,’ is located about a kilometre into the bush, off the old Awka – Enugu Expressway.
Indeed, since the water appeared in the first week of November 2013, the area has turned to a Mecca of sorts, just as jerry can sellers, food vendors, commercial motorcyclists and photographers have thronged the community for business.
A commercial motorcyclist, who took this reporter to “Bethsaida,” confessed that people, who started the business as soon as the healing river appeared “made so much money,” as, according to him, “people come here in thousands on a daily basis; the peak periods are weekends, especially Sunday; so business has been good.”
Continuing, he also stated; “People have come from very far places to be part of what is happening here. Personally, I have carried some Chinese on this bike; they were about four and they refused to be paired on one motorcycle.”
The commercial motorcyclist, who later identified himself as Ugochukwu Nweke, from Effium, in Ebonyi State, narrated how he carried a cripple to “Bethsaida” and he walked home, abandoning his crutches.
A photographer, who operates with the name, Honesty for God’s Photos, and who was selling pictures, calendar, and VCD plates of events at the river, narrated his experiences, revealing how the river is drying up.
The young man, who hails from Mgbo, in the Ohaukwu Local Government Area of Ebonyi State said: “I came down here in November last year because of this water and I have remained here since then. When I came here, the water covered everywhere; all these trees you are seeing now were all submerged by the water and I have witnessed several miracles and healings since I arrived. Truly, God has visited His people through this water.”
“I have used my camera to record series of healings; the blind have regained their sight here. This calendar contains pictures of those healed through this water. The deaf and the dumb have been healed; cripples threw away their crutches here and walked. People have come here and cried to God for solution to various problems and as an eyewitness, I can confirm that God has blessed a lot of people here.
“But those who soiled their hands in one way or another have also received their punishment here. Some of them came here but died after washing in the water.”
Adding his voice to the punishment those who soiled their hands receive at the shores of the mystery river, Ugochukwu narrated how a man came and tried to fetch some water but the water he fetched turned red and all efforts he made to put the water into his container failed. He stated that the man attempted to take a bath in the water but died after confessing that he killed two of his boys, who were learning trade in his shop.
“He died inside here and the Okada that transported the dead body to the main road charged a fee of N7, 500,” he said.
Although there is no accurate account of the number of people, who have died at “Bethsaida,” there are speculations that, at least, five persons lost their lives.
Chief C.C Illobi, businessman, who deals on plates and hails from Anambra State, came to “Bethsaida” in December to do business. Said he: “Before I came here, I had been hearing stories about this place. I was determined to see things for myself. I wanted to be convinced. When I came here, it dawned on me that the stories were factual. I have witnessed several miracles. I have seen the blind regain their sights here; it happened in my presence. There was also a woman, who carried her pregnancy for four years; people saw her and witnessed it. She did not believe the stories she heard but when her relations came here and saw what was happening, they convinced her to also come. Her brother brought her here on a Friday; the next day, she went into labour and delivered.”
“One man, who says he worships with Christ Embassy came here with his Bible a few hours ago. He prayed for a long time and went to bath in the water but immediately he came out he fell down. People started telling him to start confessing but as a prophet too, I told them that the man was not evil, that they should leave him alone. They carried him off the sun to a cool place; I took a sachet water and poured on him. After sometime, he regained consciousness and said he had never seen a thing like that, adding that he now believed that God was at work here.
“Another man came here and asked if we were sure that miracle happened here; people cautioned him. They told him that if he was in doubt he should spend some time there and see for himself. He started videoing the environment and those swimming. But when he finished and wanted to view what he had recorded, all he could see was a rainbow-like object, covering the water.”
Mr. Ruben Onwe, from Izzi, in Ebonyi State, believes he had been poisoned in one of his legs and decided to seek healing at “Bethsaida.” Said he: “The water is wonderful; people have been talking about it even on the Internet; the story is everywhere.So, I decided to come and be healed. And after taking my bath in the water I believe I am healed.”
For Emeka Agu, from Okpatu, in Udi LGA of Enugu State, “the first time we came here, my wife used the water and sand we got from here to massage one of her relatives, who had a swollen leg. The leg was so swollen he couldn’t even lift it. A few minutes after administering the sand and water on the leg, the man started jumping up, that he was healed. We that brought the water and gave him were amazed; personally, I thought the man was joking, but he kept jumping around in excitement.
“The following day, he called on phone to announce that the leg had been completely healed. After a week, he continued calling to say the thing had disappeared. That was when I believed that things were really happening here. Personally, I have been feeling lighter and better within me since I came.”