The Demonization Of Ikom Monoliths And Christianization Of Cross River BY AGBA JALINGO


As the uproar continues over the demolition of the replica of the Ikom monoliths at Zone 6 roundabout in Calabar, and its replacement with the sculpture of Jesus the Good Shepherd, CrossRiverWatch today sent a team to Alok, the original sites where the monoliths were found. Government aparachiks have continued to insist that Jesus must reign over our State and everything that represents idolatry, in their judgment, must be brought down. Now what exactly is the bone of contention.

The stone monoliths of Alok in Ikom LGA of Cross River State, originally consisted of around 400-450 engraved standing stones of varying heights between one to two meters, distributed around thirty communities, and are thought to be up to 3000 years old. The carved stones are grouped in circles facing each other. They bear a form of writing and a complex system of codified information.

According to the United Nation’s World Heritage site, “Although they seem to share the same general features, each stone, like the human finger print, is unique from every other stone in its design and execution. They are similar in arrangement and ordering to the Stone Circles in the Gambia, but unique in their complexity of design and interpretation. Like most rock art works in Africa, like the one in Tanzania, the Ikom monoliths could be West Africa’s answer to the United Kingdom’s Stonehenge monoliths.

“The geometric images on the monoliths suggest that their makers possessed more than a basic knowledge of mathematics, not only because they are geometric, but also because of the obvious implication that there were computations and numbers on the layout of the stones. While the images and texts carved on the monoliths remain undeciphered, researchers and linguists believe that the inscriptions represent a prehistoric form of writing and visual communication.”

An environmental study of the site identified the most immediate threats to the stones to include, neglect, effects of weathering, erosion, exposure to heavy rainfall, extreme heat and sun, biological attack caused by high humidity, damage from falling trees, theft, vandalism, local agricultural practices such as bush burning.

The threats have depleted the number of the stones and there are now estimated to be less than 250, with many having been distributed amongst major museums throughout the world. Because of these threats, in 2007 the monoliths were added to the World Monuments Fund’s list of sites in danger and are being considered for inclusion into UNESCO’s World Heritage Site list.

The Stonehenge monoliths generated more than £30m in tourism income to the UK, in the past five years, according to Tourism Minister John Penrose on BBC. Average of £6m annually. Tanzania is ramping efforts to open up the ‘Rock Arts’ in Kondoa to increase tourism revenue and Gambia has completed plans to massively promote the ‘Rock Circles’ of Senegambia, to also boost tourism revenue. But the attempt at Christianizing Cross River State by our new leader, is not only demonizing our monoliths, it is threatening the value and history behind the famous Ikom monoliths.

The replica of the monoliths which was erected at the Zone 6 roundabout in Calabar, by the Duke administration was meant to draw attention and tourists to the original sites. Like putting an advertorial bill board on a highway or at the airport. It was meant to arouse curiosity in both indigenes and visitors to our State, of the existence of a pre historic civilization and academia in our State, that is older than the birth of Christ, and draw them to the original site with a view to generating tourism income. But that replica has been destroyed and replaced with the sculpture of Jesus the Good Shepherd. While the monoliths in Ikom are threatened by environmental and human factors, the replica in Calabar has been demolished by the antics of political gerrymandering

What exactly will be the value of the new statue to us? Does the erection of religious statues increase the godliness of the people? Will the new religious statues springing up in Calabar stop our leaders from stealing our money and make them govern us well? Will these statues survive beyond Governor Otu’s administration if his successor isn’t interested in the Christianization agenda or are we going to continue wasting tax payers money on statues in every administration? Are those who harbor and are implementing this agenda aware that there are Cross Riverians who are not Christians? Were these leaders voted to govern us or to teach us God? Can these leaders tell us a roundabout in Israel, the holy land, that is decorated with the statue of Jesus? I just say make I ask.

Yours sincerely,
Citizen Agba Jalingo.

Disclaimer: The opinion expressed in this article is strictly that of the author, Agba Jalingo, and does not represent TheLumineNews, its agent or the organization the author works for.


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