By Vincent Ujumadu
Awka—THREE retired Bishops of the Anglican Church have renewed the battle against continued sustenance of the Osu caste system in parts of Igbo land, with an official letter to all the governors , speakers of the Houses of Assembly and other notable personalities in the area to implement without delay, the 1956 Eastern Nigeria law banning the obnoxious system in the area.
The clerics at the helm of the battle are Raphael Okafor, former Bishop of Ihiala Diocese; Anthony Nkwoka, former Bishop of Niger West and Samuel Chukuka, former Bishop of Isiukwuato/Umunneochi of Abia State.
The Osu caste system was an ancient practice in Igbo land that discriminated against a group of persons allegedly dedicated to deities and the stigma was naturally transferred to generations yet unborn.
Operating under the aegis of Total Liberation Crusaders, the Bishops, who said membership of the crusaders also included notable legal practitioners, high court judges and other professionals and who were equally concerned that the Osu caste system was still in vogue and denying people their fundamental human rights in many parts of Igbo land, warned that there must be an end to the obnoxious practice.
As part of the battle, the bishops had printed handbills, leaflets and posters to be circulated in all communities and had concluded plans to mount giant bill boards at strategic positions in all the Igbo-speaking states to urge people to do away with the discriminatory habits.
The bishops said: “We are worried that generations, who know nothing about these cultural and idolatrous practices are today suffering from the stigma, whether their forefathers willingly or unwillingly became Osu. It is wicked and very unfortunate.
“Moreover, the Osu caste system is antiquated and had been outlawed since 1956.”