Breaking: Igbo Culture and Tradition: POHAI, Human Rights Others Poised To Abolish Caste System in Ogwa Land
Everest Ezihe, Owerri
Following their commitments in ensuring the abolition of what they described as obnoxious cultural and traditional practices in Igbo land,Pillars of Hope Africa Initiative (POHAI), National Human Rights Commission,Ogwa Renaissance, Global Family Foundation (GFF) and Kemdi Chino Opara Foundation (KCOF) have for the past two days transversed the 6 autonomous communities that constitutes Ogwa Anunu Umu Mgbe ancient clan in Mbaitoli council area of Imo State sensitizing them on the need to abolish their osu, diala, ohu and Umeh caste system cultural heritages.
The groups within the period visited Idume, Umueze/Abazu, Alaeze, Isi Ogwa, Umunneato Ishi Ogwa and Alaenyi autonomous communities and the reception and turn out was impressive as they canvassed on the need for total abolition of caste system in the various communities noting them as obnoxious and inhuman.
Mrs Chinyere Kalu, the Executive Director of POHAI as the leader of the delegations observed that the indoctrination of caste system by their forefathers was as a result of unGodly ignorance and selfishness.
Kalu maintained that in the present dispensation, that caste system is no longer relevant as it retards brotherly love, communal and individual progresses as well as unity of purpose.
According to her “these people we addressed as Osu, Umeh, Ohu, diala etc are victims of circumstances of what they don’t know of, for instance a linage is proclaimed Osu, Ohu or Umeh simply because their fore father’s took shelter under a roof of the obnoxious cultural victim during a heavy rain and probably the only shelter around.
Another is placed as a caste for the mere fact that his or her fore father exchanged pleasentries with an alleged victim of the caste system. In those days, might was right as jungle justice triumphs. For the mere fact that a strong man can intimidate another and abduct him or her to the gods and goddesses, the victim and his lineage has been placed under the caste system. It’s against the laws of God and man to discriminate against one another based on circumstances of birth” she lamented.
The Executive Director also reported that other communities like Abba, Nri, Mbieri and Ogbor among others that have done the abolition in recent past are witnessing tremendous progress, development, unity of purpose and brotherly love and enjoined Ogwa ancient clan not to miss the golden opportunities now that the iron is hot.
Adding his voice, Chief Mike Onwusiribe, the President General of Ogwa Federated Union(OFU) and the Leader of Ogwa Renaissance Group observed that some obnoxious cultural practices like killing of twins, slave trade, throwing into evil forest a child that grows upper tooth first and undue punishment of widows over the death of their husbands among others have gone into extinctions.
Onwusiribe pointed out that inquiry over who is Osu, Umeh,Ohu and Diala comes into front burner whenever traditional marriage is about to happen while other circumstances like social gathering, friendship, business, politics, health in terms of blood donation and dispensing of drugs no body think nor talk of caste system. This he said is deceit and hypocritical.
He assured Ogwa people that the train of modernization and progress in terms of abolition of Caste system in Ogwa land is unstoppable on the move and every patriotic son and daughter of the ethnic clan must be supportive in one page, stressing that history and posterity will vindicate them.
The elder statesman also revealed that after the sensitization program, a date will be chosen soonest for the commencement of the abolition processes and the abolition proper in the entire 6 autonomous communities that constitutes Ogwa Anunu Umu Mgbe ancient clan, which he assured will be a big and historical event.
Earlier, in his contributions, Mr. Chidi Ukomadu, the Coordinator of Ogwa Renaissance Group expressed disappointment that Ogwa Community which is a pacesetter in terms of civilization, development and Christianity is still bedeviled in act of caste system which he further described as” barbaric, inhuman,unjust and inimical to human development”.
Ukomadu who’s a university don also described the caste system as “obnoxious cultural and traditional practices that are hypocritical, deceitful and an infringement in people’s fundamental human rights and must henceforth be abolished and eradicated in Ogwa and Igbo land in general” he insisted.
Also speaking, Mrs Ukachi Uka, a staff and representative of National Human Rights Commission expressed profound gratitude for the collaborative efforts the commission is making with other groups to ensure the abolition of caste system in Ogwa clan and Igbo Land in general.
Uka frowned at the practices of the obnoxious cultural and traditional heritages which she said is a rape on people’s fundamental human rights as enshrined in United Nation’s declaration of freedom as well as Nigeria 1999 Constitution as amended.
She advised people to always consult her commission and seek legal redress any time their fundamental human rights are trampled upon and stressed that Imo State House of Assembly has for ages past abrogated same.
It’s pertinent to note that as the groups carried the sensitization crusade from Idume to Umueze/Abazu Ogwa to Alaeze to Isi Ogwa and other autonomous communities they were happily received at the Eze’s palaces with an impressive crowd.
Similarly, the people overwhelmingly showed interest and willingness for the abolition, some even attested that within them they have considered the caste system as ungodly and barbaric.
They expressed their support, conviction and cooperation in assisting the groups do the abolition in the entire Ogwa land.