Monarchs storm Anambra for abolition of Osu.
History will be made in Anambra State today as traditional rulers in Igboland are set to abolish the age-long practice of the Osu and other caste systems in the region.
Etche and Ikwerre traditional rulers are among kings from far and near that have converged in Agukwu Nri, Anaocha Council of Anambra for the exercise.
Apart from the monarchs, other traditional title-holders, community leaders and prominent Igbo leaders will witness the ritual of ending the discriminatory stigma of ‘Osu’ (outcast), ‘Ohu’ (slave) and ‘Ume’ (incestophile).
Disclosing this to newsmen yesterday, the spokesman of the organisers and personal assistant to the Nri regent, Prince Ifeanyi Onyeso, said the pronouncement to abolish the caste systems would be made at a special Nri royal monument for treasure custody known as ‘Ikpo Eze-Nri’.
Onyeso stated that certain punishments would also be pronounced on the Nri throne today against individuals or groups that go contrary to the pronouncement.
“Whoever that calls anybody Osu or practices the Osu caste system will be visited with punishment. Only a Nri man can come and carry out any cleansing of an abomination before the curse that befalls such a person can be removed,” the prince stated.
Osu caste system is a practice in Igbo society where some people are tagged second-class citizens because they were believed to have been dedicated to some deity. He is forbidden from engaging in marital or business relationships with a freeborn, let alone taking traditional titles. Same with Ohu, who are believed to have inherited slavery, and Ume, who are believed to be seeds of incestuous relationships.
However, the Adama chief priest of Nri, Amobi Nduka, has disagreed with the proposed abolition.
Arguing that it did not follow the traditions of Igboland, he urged Igbo sons and daughters to “ignore the nugatory proclamation.”
He said while he and Eze Nri had never been in support of the discriminatory practice, revocation of such must follow due process and executed by the relevant authority.
In a statement yesterday, he warned against ignoring the prowess of Adama in Eze Nri institution.
“Adama is solely the abrogation emissary to towns where cleansing is required. If Eze Nri was said to have abrogated or revoked ‘nso’ within his hegemony, Adama performed the cleansing in the background.
“When all said and done by Adama, the Eze Nri must strike the ‘ofor’ (which Adama had provided him) against the ground surface to signal that the performance of Adama was upheld, and the consequence sustained.
“Adama therefore rebuffs and consistently refuses to give or grant support nor will assume any responsibility for abrogation declared by unqualified persons.”
He added that abrogation declared without due process is a void. “Such a nugatory proclamation should be ignored. He who is imbued with ‘nso’ cannot abrogate nor revoke ‘nso ana’. Abrogatee cannot in pari passu be an abrogator