If you can believe that someone in the Bible could turn to a pillar of salt even without ever seeing the pillar, then you shouldn’t think twice before believing that Agbele turned to stone in Igbeti (Oyo state, Nigeria).
Agbele was a very powerful and popular woman living in Igbeti with her child, every woman adorned her for how she cares for children, and every child wanted a mother like Agbele. This and that was what led to her story.
Once upon a time when the gods were quick to strike and when activities like stealing were “highly condemnable” – it was either you do the needful or waited for the gods to strike you in their own way (which would have been definitely deadly); Agbele went to steal Yam so as to feed her hungry child; No mother would watch her child cry for food and not do something.
Aside from the large deposits of marbles discovered at the town, the Igbeti people are good tuber crops farmers and hence, have various yam barns around their homes.
On that fateful day, in the cold and darkness of the night with a baby crying for food, Agbele knew she had just one option, it’s either she finds a way to feed the baby, or the baby could die of starvation.
Now, this was the issue, Agbele was a very popular woman in the village, so she must have thought begging for food wasn’t an option- well, you can call that pride.
She then decided to go steal from one of the barns around the town, she was lucky enough to get half-cut yam tuber, however, she couldn’t stop the starving baby from crying on the way.
The cry of the baby alerted the night guards and unfortunately, she was caught!
How could she have faced the shame? – A whole Agbele caught stealing yam? How!
She was powerful, so she thought she could escape; she bent down to make some incantations which would hide her in the ground, but the gods can’t be played with – she and everything on her turned to stone.
Back to 2018, the stone of Agbele stands just right by the roadside in Igbeti, no way that you would get to Igbeti and not see the stone – this serves as a reminder to the locals that the gods are watching all their deeds, hence the obvious moral checks exhibited by the locals.
Do you think the gods were quite harsh? Could her stealing be justified? After all, she needed to feed her baby abi..? or do you think there shouldn’t be any excuse for wrongdoings…?