By Ozioruva Aliu
ALL first class chiefs in Benin Kingdom and enigie (dukes) of all the dukedoms in the seven local government areas that make up Benin, yesterday, frowned at the recent nolle prosequi (no-case-submission) entered into by the state government on a case against one Arisco Osemwingie and another, over his alleged declaration of himself as His Majesty and the Ogiamien of Utatan nation without approval from the state government.
Addressing newsmen in Benin City, the Iyase (Prime Minister) of Benin, Sam Igbe, who spoke on behalf of the chiefs and enigie said there was no proper consultation with the Oba of Benin Palace before the criminal charges were withdrawn.
He said Osemwengie cannot claim to be the Ogiamien, which he said was a title in the palace and belongs to the Uzama N’Ibie group, alleging that he was only maternally related to the Ogiamien.
He said: “We the Benin chiefs and enigie are very much aware of Ogiamien, the Ogiamien of Benin Kingdom, who is a member of Uzama N’Ibie at the Oba of Benin Palace. Ogiamien is the existing Ogiamien of Benin Kingdom because the family of Ogiamien has not informed the palace of his demise.”
He said Osemwingie and his accomplice have committed a sacrilegious offence against the Benin customs and traditions and have been adjudged enemies of the Benin palace and people, insisting that he should tender an unreserved apology to the Benin people in three national newspapers.
On the stolen artefacts following the British invasion of Benin in 1897, the chiefs commended President Muhammadu and the National Commission for Museums and Monuments for supporting the return of the artefacts to the palace, which is the original owner and called on the state government to fulfill its pledge of supporting the proposed Benin Royal Museum with N500 million to house the returned artefcts as contained in the 2019 budget of the state.
The chiefs noted that the traditional institutions respect constituted authority and appeal to the constituted authority to reciprocate the same.