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Fani-Kayode, Melaye, Iwuanyanwu storm NHRC over Osu caste in Igboland

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Femi Fani-Kayode, Dino Melaye and Dan Iwuanyanwu have stormed the head office of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) in Abuja to protest the menace of outcaste systems predominant in the eastern part of Nigeria.

The trio, who arrived the NHRC at the weekend, was part of the cast, Silent Prejudice, a television series intervention on the fight against the Osu caste in Igboland.

The project was a partnership between the NHRC and Pillars Hope Africa Initiatives (POHAI), an NGO focusing on the promotion and preservation of a just and equitable society.

The crew members were shooting an episode at the office of the NHRC and Fani-Kayode, Melaye and Iwuanyanwu featured prominently in the star-studded cast with different roles.

Melaye, at the public hearing on the drama, gave account of the challenges he faced trying to fight against the Osu caste system.

According to him, he was brutalised, harassed and humiliated by the people. He, however, vowed to continue the fight until the obnoxious practice is finally eradicated.

Iwuanyanwu, on his part, recounted how as a young school boy he was told not to befriend, relate mingle or marry a particular group of people because of their ‘ancestral background’ as Osu.

He said the practice is hypocritical as many of those who claimed to be free-born and condemned the Osu; usually meet them, especially their women, discreetly.

Fani-Kayode noted that the practice of Osu caste system is inhuman, degrading and contrary to the provision of the laws of the land.

He said it is criminal to refer to someone as an outcaste, urging the NHRC to help abrogate the practice.

Executive Secretary, NHRC, Tony Ojukwu, who presided over the panel, noted that Osu caste system is an infringement on the fundamental rights of citizens, which the Nigerian constitution protects.

He said the practice is contrary to justice, equity and good conscience and therefore unacceptable, promising that the commission will work with other stakeholders towards its eradication.


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