Vice-Chancellor of Nnamdi Azikiwe University (UNIZIK), Prof. Charles Esimone says there are plans to recreate a semblance of “Evil Forest’’ within its Awka campus.
“We are contemplating naming the arena an `Igbo Village’ so as not to be misunderstood by our people, who are predominantly Christian population, who can read ulterior motives.’’
He said this while exchanging views with newsmen during a workshop that the university and the Nigerian Conservation Foundation (NCF) co-sponsored to work toward an Action Plan for Anambra Forest – Landscape Restoration project in Awka.
The VC noted that evil forests were fast disappearing in South East states due to poor environmental education and awareness.
According to him, the institution will be collaborating with some NGOs such as NCF and Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETfund) to establish an Igbo Village, a Golf course, and a natural zoo that would promote Igbo culture while seeking to preserve our natural heritage as created by God.
Prof Esimone noted that already various species of monkeys exist in Awka with an appreciable flock of monkeys currently roaming in certain areas of the campus in Awka.
They would be used to form the foundation of the natural zoo.
They had been preserved as a result of taboos placed against their slaughter indigenes of Awka, who have a myth built around the monkey as having been saved by them during past inter communal wars.
During take-off of the state, Anambra had eight forest reserves, but was left struggling to maintain six of them threatened by extinction.
The Evil Forests of the past are dark, scary places, where the lines between the living and the dead are drawn.
It was largely a forest reserve of sorts in its natural habitat and left with all its virginity. It was used as a dumping ground for those believed to have committed sacrilege.
Animals roam there freely. Ironically, the concept of what the university wants to achieve is a cultural Igbo Village, where the portion would achieve a typical Igbo village setting.