The original osu were believed to be persons who had been convicted of particular sacrilegious acts that were forbidden by society and had to be outlawed, ostracized or excommunicated, while some others were said to have become osu simply because they associated with those society had ostracized and dedicated to some deity, for instance, by taking shelter from the rain under the roof of an osu.
Some others were declared osu from the moment they sought asylum or protection at the shrines of such Community deities. Then even those who bought pepper, oil or palm wine from the osu were said to have automatically become osu themselves. They were now all untouchable, as no “Freeborn” associated with them.
Apart from the osu, there were the ume and the ohu. Infact although the ohu were regarded as ordinary slaves to those who bought or redeemed them, the ume were considered worse and a more serious kind of outcast than the osu who themselves also appear to avoid the ume perhaps because of the strange ways their things depreciate or died. Some others imagine that these outcasts identify themselves by a particular body smell, added to their being comparatively were pretty or attractive than the average Diala. It was however the practice to give them facial marks or scarification on their ears and bodies for identification and ownership purposes.
Thank goodness the church has done so much, beyond condemning this primitive obnoxious and inhuman practice, to stop the discrimination. These outcasts were not allowed to take chieftaincy titles in some Local Communities, but the church has encouraged every member to aspire to the apex of their vocations and professions, according to their divine endowments, without prejudice to the caste system.
Sadly, many people have even in this century continued to pay lip service to this matter largely due to superstitious beliefs and fear premonitory; Just as it was in Apartheid South Africa and even among traditional Hindus of South Asia and India where the caste system was abolished in 1947.
The self acclaimed Diala can work and play (with, and even befriend the outcast; but when it comes to marriage, they consider them incompatible and unfit. The outcast can be their Lawyers, Medical Doctors, Nurses, Drivers and even tailor/seamstress or tonsorial artist for their hair. Furthermore, they can be the landlord, police, hotelier or priest, it does not matter.
Above all, when it comes to blood transfusion, all that people are bothered about is screening against HIV/AIDS (not caste). It is therefore hypocritical that we can buy and use products made by outcasts and engage their services, and yet regard them as sub human.
It is in this connection that the Eziama Obiato Autonomous Community and their Royal father should be commended for blazing the trail in complementing East Central State Government Legislation and proscription, and the much the church of God has done, in this regard.
When a child is born out of wedlock, he is not regarded as illegitimate and therefore no longer carries the stigma, because it is an accident of birth that should not be blamed on him. Why then should that of the outcasts be different, generations after their great grandfather who must have committed some heinous offence was declared outcast?
Is it not a shame that many of the self acclaimed Diala end up in hell fire while the good people they label outcast work their way to Heaven where there is no such discrimination? The churches are filled with men and women who are not recognized by Heaven, although they are baptized. Infact no true child of God should discriminate against others on account of caste. It is the pagans who do so.
Without bias to other Religions, Christianity and the church must continue to stand out to bring sanity to erring society because His Lordship, Jesus Christ says no one who comes to Him shall be cast out or rejected; in Him there is neither Greek nor Gentile, circumcised or uncircumcised (Rom. 2.25-29 and 1st Cor. 7-19).
On the other hand, it is those who reject this free salvation offer which comes by grace (according to Ephesians 2.8 & 9) that are the true outcasts, because the Bible makes it clear that there is no other name (apart from Jesus Christ) that is given by which man must be saved. He is the only way, truth and eternal life; And whoever the Son sets free is indeed free from all covenants and bondage.
In conclusion, Heaven does not reject any believer, irrespective of his social status, nationality, tongue, academic credentials or other achievements. The church maintains the oneness of members because they all drink from the same chalice at the Eucharist, but that such members must come by faith as communicants saved by grace and washed in the blood of the Lamb.
Holy things are not given to dogs; and what society requires is total eradication or abolition since the outcast status is not hereditary, and according to H.G. Wells “To find goodness in the sinner and justification in the outcast is indeed to condemn the law”. We must get wisdom.