Time Has Come For Abolishment Of Osu Caste System – Obi Of Onitsha
The Obi of Onitsha, Igwe Nnaemeka Achebe has called on all Igbos to join hands to eradicate the Osu system.
He said the practice is antiquated, unlawful and obnoxious and called for a concerted war against the act.
The Osu caste system is a practise in some Igbo communities and there are various reasons as to why in the days of old people were referred as Osu.
If a person comes from a lineage where their ancestors were at any point in time slaves,that would discourage the rest of the community from having social interaction and marriages with these group of persons. Unfortunately, the stigma is transferable to even children yet unborn.
Another reason a group of people are referred to as Osu is when their ancestors at a time ran to the deity of the land to seek protection after committing a serious offense or from a traditional judgement not in their favour. The priest of the land later comes out of the shrine to announce to the community that they’re now properties of the gods therefore anyone who does them wrong will face severe punishments from the gods.
Achebe said the practice had no place in a 21st century while speaking at a workshop on Thursday in Awka, Anambra State, organised by the Initiative for the Eradication of Traditional and Cultural Stigmatisation in Our Society, a non-governmental organisation.
He urged traditional rulers in Igbo land to kick out the practice in their communities, while acknowledging the body (IFETACSIOS) for its initiative in that regard.
He said, “There is the need for people from all parts of Igbo land to come together and agree that this obnoxious cultural practice, which our fore fathers introduced, no longer have effect on us and our children.
“We are happy with the coming of IFETACSIOS group on this project and we are going to collaborate with them to ensure we end this bad culture that has held our people backward for many years now.”
The President of IFETACSIOS, Oge Maduagwu, in her address, sought the help of the traditional rulers in the area in the abolition of the Osu caste system.
She said abolishing the system would restore the dignity of human beings, promote peaceful relationship and reduce communal conflicts.
Maduagwu said the Osu caste system had wreaked havoc on the socio-cultural, economic and political lives of the Igbo people.
She said, “In Igbo land, it is very sad to note that a young man and young lady might be courting, but the moment either of the two discovers that the other is an Osu, he or she will opt out of the relationship.”
According to her, the group has extended the advocacy on the abolition of the harmful practice to Imo and Enugu states.