SIMON EBEGBULEM, Benin City
DEATH seems to await perpetrators of all sorts of evil in the ancient Benin Kingdom as the revered Oba of Benin Kingdom,Oba Erediuwa last Thursday invoked curses on perpetrators of evil in the ancient city.
The Oba had Thursday last week through a statement signed byÂ the Information Officer to the Benin Traditional Council, Robinson Osayanmwen, expressed his frustration atÂ the persistent cases of kidnapping, assassination and armed robbery in the ancient city and called on all Enigies, Edionwere,Â Igie-Ohen, market women and traditional worshippers to come out last Thursday with a view to invokingÂ Â Â curses on the perpetrators.
The ancient city had been under siege in the hands of kidnappers in the past six months. Doctors and business men have been mostly affected and that had made late night patients vulnerable to deaths as the doctors who are afraid of being kidnapped, disappear from hospitals after 6pm daily.
However, Judgment Day was witnessed last Thursday at the traditional Urhokpota ground Benin City , when the Oba told the criminals that his earlier threat to invoke the gods on them was not a mere threat .
In a scary event whichÂ paralyzed the ancient city, all the Chief priest in the Kingdom, market women both old and young, traditional worshippers, herbalists, invoked the wrath of the gods as instructed by the Oba after which they went round all the exit roads to the city to lay curses. Saturday Vanguard gathered such an event has not been done in the city for over 40 years.
The ritual was ledÂ led by the foot soldiers of the Oba, the Iyase (Prime Minister) of Benin Kingdom, Chief Sam Igbe and the Isekhure of Benin Kingdom (Chief Priest of the Kingdom), Chief Nosakhare Isekhure.
The Oba who was worried over the persistent cases of kidnapping, assassination and armed robbery cases that have rendered the police helpless, said he would no longer tolerate crime in his Kingdom.Â Highlight of the ritual was slaughtering of some animals , while theÂ Â priests, including the popular Ayelale priest laid the curses.
According to the Chief Priest of the Kingdom, Chief Isekhure, â€œas Edo people, we are traditionalists, we believe in God through our ancestors. In order to put a stop to all the cases of insecurity in our area, we had to put a curse by inviting the ancestors to destroy all those involved in these dastard acts so that at the end of the day there will be calm in our society.We want peace but you know that those who want peace must prepare for war.
We have not done this kind of thing in the past forty years, the Oba instructed that in order for peace to reign here we must mobilize the most effective tools within our meansÂ and that is to put a curse on all those who are behind kidnapping and toÂ all those bankers who give information to kidnappers about how much a customer has in his account.
Even landlords who knowÂ that there tenants are armed robbers and kidnappers and they accommodate them. All of them will perish. It is unfortunate we have to do this today, we have no choice. Those who refuse to change will perish because the wages of sin is deathâ€.
Commenting also, the Iyase of Benin, Chief Igbe, lamented that â€œour young men who will be leaders of tomorrow are all dying due to the activities of these evil men. So the Oba is fed up of all these. This is the way we react against these kind of thing in the past, so the Oba has gone back to ask the ancestors to help us clear these people in our society.
This kind of action is not just starting. That is the way we use to deal with such situation in the past and we have gone back to it so as to stop this wickedness. These people are punishing us, so when our father the Oba decided that we handle it this way we are happy about it. You can never feel the impact until you are affected.
And I have been affected in my family. And that is why we thank our father for inviting our ancestors to take charge. We can no longer be living this way, this wickedness must stopâ€.
Hailing the monarch for taking the decision to invoke the gods on issues of kidnapping and assassination in the state, the state chapter of the Nigeria Medical Association (NMA) described the action as relief to the people of the state and doctors in the state in particular.
According to the statement signed by its Chairman in the state, Dr Osahon Enabulele, â€œthe Nigerian Medical Association in Edo state gladly welcomes todayâ€™s (Thursday, 10th June, 2010) public pronouncement of a traditional curse on all those involved in the despicable act of kidnapping and other acts of criminality (kidnappers and their accomplices) by Enigies, Igiohens, and all other traditional rulers and worshippers, as directed by the Oba of Benin, Omo Nâ€™Oba Nâ€™Edo Uku Akpolokpolo, Oba Erediauwa.
We gladly applaud this historic ceremony conducted today at the Urhokpota hall, Benin City.As an association, we strongly support this public denouncement as it is in line with Edo State NMAâ€™s position paper submitted to the Oba of Benin on Wednesday, 5th August, 2009, during the historic, 1st-ever street protest march against kidnapping and other acts of criminality organized by Edo State NMA.
The position paper, amongst other proposals, called on our revered monarch to publicly pronounce a traditional curse on all those involved in kidnapping and other acts of criminality in Edo State.Edo State NMA commends the Oba of Benin for this much desired traditional curse and public denunciation of kidnapping and other acts of criminality.
We are strongly convinced that this will surely help to eradicate the menace of kidnapping in Edo State.We call on all Citizens and Residents of Edo State to actively support the Oba of Benin in this traditional cleansing of our hitherto peaceful Edo State.We also call on all tiers of government to do more to guaranty the lives and properties of their constituents, especially as enshrined in the 1999 Constitutionâ€.
Shortly after the ritualÂ Â there was jubilation in the land. Such curse ceremonies are hardly done in the Kingdom and it is expected that severe punishment awaits all those who may want to defy the Oba in his Kingdom