Osu caste system: Human rights lawyer drags Imo govt to court

A human rights lawyer and founder of Kingdom Human Rights Foundation, Barr. Kingdom Nnamdi Okere, has sued the Imo State Government over the continued existence of the Osu Caste system in the state.

The suit no HOW/73/2014 seeks to enforce the fundamental rights of the citizenry through an order of the court eradicating the caste customary law in Imo State.

Barr. Okere, who instituted the suit against, governor of the state, joined the speaker of the State House of Assembly, the Community Government and Chieftaincy Affairs Commissioner, the chairman of the traditional rulers council and all traditional rulers of the 637 autonomous communities in the state as well as others.

Okere, who told newsmen that he was not an ‘Osu’ said that he has been adversely affected severally in his personal relationship with those referred to as ‘Osu’.

The suit, which had the Foundation as plaintiff, is praying the court to declare the “Osu/Diala/Ume caste system unconstitutional, illegal, unlawful, barbaric, vicious, immoral and breaches the fundamental human rights of the people who are said to be Osu or Ume.”

It also seeks a declaration by the court saying that the system is capable of threatening public peace and harmony, repugnant and goes against the child Rights Act since a couple with a child could be refused marriage by parents on grounds of the caste system.

Upon such declarations, the suit seeks an order of mandamus compelling the governor and state assembly to proclaim it unconstitutional in an official gazette and mandating traditional rulers, and autonomous communities to meet and make similar declarations.

The court, according to the suit, should also mandate religious organizations to organise an interdenominational service in Owerri over the issue and declare the system illegal, barbaric and racially discriminatory.

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