BY EMMA AMAIZE
KOKORI — REMORSEFUL kinsmen of Kelvin Oniarah, the suspected Delta State kidnap kingpin from Kokori, Ethiope East Local Government Area of the state, currently undergoing trial, have decided to go to God in prayers, asking Him with broken hearts and tears to have mercy on them and rebuild their land.
Last weekend, over 2000 men, women and children from within and outside Kokori, in a spiritual programme tagged, “Kokori Solemn Assembly,” coordinated by Rev. Abada Obodo Manuwa, a retired Chief Superintendent of Police, congregated at the heart of the town to pray for the return of peace to their community.
Among the influential indigenes that attended the prayer retreat were the President‑General of the community, Mr G. S. Avbunu‑Diogba, a lawyer, Achoja of Agbon Kingdom, Olorogun Sunday Umunade
Rev. Manuwa, who led the first prayer cited the book of Joel where the people of Judea lost all they had, but turned to God for restoration.
He said: “The calamity that befell the community can be likened to that of Judea, we lost livestock, poultry, fish-ponds were destroyed, houses were razed, property destroyed, our community was deserted, but I tell you the Bible says if we the people of Kokori turn away from our wicked ways, and turn to the Lord, He, God, will heal our land.”
The prayers were heralded with praises, dance and worship songs to the Lord by the mass choir on the road, running from the market to the Anglican Church in the community closed to vehicular traffic.
Reverend J E Edojah who continued with the prayers said it took the sin of the people for God to turn His back on them.
His words: “We will beg God for forgiveness, let every one kneel before Him and ask for forgiveness from God. The children have offended Him, the women offended Him, the men offended Him, we have wronged Him, and it is for our wrongdoings that this calamity has befallen us.”
Strongly believing that the return of peace to Kokori depends on how they begged God for mercy, most of the people wept as they prayed.
Other messengers of the gospel who led in different prayer sessions were Pastor J. O. Akpojivi, Rev. Victor Ovie Michael, Rev. Daniel Menta, Rev. J. E. Eke, Pastor Emmanuel Onokparunu, Rev. Canon Odechume, Pastor Stephen Oharebe, Pastor Emmanuel Abasi, Pastor Lumumber Idiabana and Rev. Peter Onowaukpor.
Rev Manuwa while concluding the prayers announced a decision reached by the pastors to make every February 1 “Kokori Prayer Day.”
President‑General of Kokori community, Chief Avbunu‑Diogba in a chat with newsmen, called on residents that fled the community to return home, saying: “There is peace in Kokori, am calling on residents of Kokori to come back home, even the soldiers are saying they should come.”