FROM: EVEREST EZIHE, OWERRI
Worried by the societal stigma associated with the obnoxious Osu, Ume and Diala caste system, Irete autonomous community in Owerri West council area of Imo State have resolved to abolish their great grand fathers traditionally imposed segregation on certain classes of their populace and this have restored peace and brotherly love among the people.
HRH Eze Ethelbert Ekwelibe, the traditional ruler of the ancient autonomous community announced this during the community annual festival called NTA Cultural Festival 2018 noting that such antiquated culture have deprived some indigenes of the community their rights and privileges by placing them as a second or third hand citizens in the land of their birth.
Ekwelibe who described such tradition as “Obnoxious, satanic and unchristian” said that he took such decision with his cabinet members after due consultation with traditional institutions, clergies, indigenes and other stakeholders and that the decision is based on popular wishes and demand of the people.
According to the Royal Father “I abolish Osu, Diala, Umeh Caste system today in Irete autonomous community. On no account would anybody be regarded as an out caste in this God given community, either based on their ancestry pronouncement or otherwise” he advised.
The Monarch pointed out that Christianity and the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria had placed all Nigerians on equal pedestal, adding that as Christians, slavery and segregation have been abolished and as far as Irete autonomous community is concerned “we do not recognized Osu Caste system anymore. The laws of Irete community henceforth have abolished all forms of Diala, Umeh and Osu caste practices in the area. Everybody is equal before the federal law”.
Also speaking, Engr. Chris Anukam, an illustrious son of the community supported the traditional ruler and canvassed for an end to the obnoxious traditional practices noting that as an infringement to the fundamental human rights in terms of equity and natural justice.
Anukam expressed disenchantment over the inhuman practices arguing that such tradition is no longer valid in the present dispensation noting that the caste system is an ancient practice in Igboland that discourages social interaction and marriage with a group of persons called-Osu ( out caste)
He commended the traditional ruler and the people of Irete for the abolition, even as he expressed joy and optimism that other community in Owerri West would emulate Irete people arguing that Irete leads others follows.