An event of monumental dimension took place yesterday, Holy Saturday, April, 7, 2012 in Eziama Obiato Autonomous Community in Mbaitoli local government ofImoStatewhen the traditional ruler, H.R.H., Eze Dennis Obiator Nwaba abolished the despicable osu caste system that dehumanized and deprived some elements of their fundamental human rights. The ceremony was held at the premises ofSt. Thomas(Ang) Church, Eziama Obiato.
Speaking to Christian Voice last Tuesday, Eze Nwaba displayed an unprecedented resolve uncommon in Igboland where the practice is widespread, to tackle it head-long.
According to him, he literally drew the inspiration to move against the practice in his community while on a trip to theUnited Statesfor medical check-up in 2011. He said he watched two Nigerian films on the subject which ossified his determination to abolish the osu caste system in Eziama Obiato.
“After watching the films, I saw the inhuman treatment meted out to our fellow human beings which moved me to strive to abolish it in my community”, the traditional ruler said.
He said having made up his mind on the issue, he consulted the old men in his community for further explanation on the origin of the system. They confirmed that the system originated from fetish practices whereby in the past, the forebear of the present day osu’s were dedicated to some deities after dehumanizing rituals during which parts of their bodies like ears, were cut for identification.
Eze Nwaba said he is greatly pained by the fact that the descendants of the victims of the osu caste system still suffer discrimination and humiliation many generations after.
“Why should this generation of young men and women be discriminated against today for what they know nothing about?,” he queried.
The Obinyere of Eziama-Obiato noted that his community has “been a beacon of light” for the neigbouring towns from which the gospel and schools had spread to such areas as Umunoha, Afara, Ibele, Amanano, Awo Omamma, Umuofor, Akabo, Ejemekwuru and others. It is his view, therefore, that the abolition of the system in Eziama-Obiato would show the light to the neighbouring communities to follow.
The traditional ruler disclosed that he had to summon the members of his cabinet, community and religious leaders as well as the so-called ‘Osu” numbering about 100 to inform them of his intention to abolish the system in the community.
According to him, the President-general of the town, Engr. Sir Oluchukwu Ibekwe praised the traditional ruler’s courage for embarking on the course adding that such was expected of him as a Christian and a Knight of St. Christopher in the Anglican Church. Another personality at the meeting who wholly identified with Eze Nwaba is Reverend Canon C.C. Onyenuma, the Parish Priest of St. Thomas’ (Ang) Church, Eziama-Obiato.
Eze Nwaba who declared that he is “fighting for Christ”, recalled a striking incident during the meeting which he described as a divine approval of his action.
According to him, at the peak of the meeting in his palace with the stake-holders on the intended abrogation of the osu caste system, there was a mighty peal of thunder despite the clear skies which set on fire two palm trees behind his palace without hurting any one.
He interpreted the phenomen as an indisputable proof that God has approved his action.
In a striking move, Eze Dennis Obialor Nwaba, on behalf of Eziama Obiato Community, appologised to the victims of the osu caste system and requested them to forgive them for the infrigement of their fundamental human rights and other wrongs done to them over the ages.
He appealed to other communities to follow his example and abolish the osu caste system and to liberate the victims.