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Obi Of Onitsha Moves To Abolish Osu Caste System

The Osu caste system is an ancient practice common to the Igbo tribe in the eastern part of Nigeria. This practice discriminates against people who are termed inferior because they have been dedicated to the deities of the land.

In some other Igbo cultures, the Osu are people who have been ostracised because they disobeyed the orders of the king and hence are banished.

But this practice was very common when the Igbos worshipped deities and divinations from its priests.

Obi of Onitsha wages war on Osu Caste practice. Photo: WotzunNG

The people who were termed ‘Osu’ were mistreated and publicly humiliated this resulted in some leaving the country. In some instances, children were disowned by their parents for bringing home and getting married to an “Osu.”

Ever since modernisation and westernisation was introduced, there have been moves to abolish this practice but it the stigmatisation still remains.

The Obi of Onitsha, Igwe Nnaemeka Achebe, has raised the matter again and has stated that it is time to end the Osu caste system in Igboland.

He stated that the practice was outdated and has no place in the present century. He also advised other traditional rulers to work towards ending the practice.

The Obi of Onitsha stated: “There is the need for people from all parts of Igbo land to come together and agree that this obnoxious cultural practice, which our forefathers introduced, no longer have an effect on us and our children.

“We are happy with the coming of IFETACSIOS group on this project and we are going to collaborate with them to ensure we end this bad culture that has held our people backwards for many years now.”

The question is can all Igbos accept the abolishment of this practice and embrace the “Osu” members as brothers?

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