By Onyekachi Eze
A bill for a law to repeal the abolition of the “Osu” caste system (Law Cap.1, ERN 26) of 1960, and enact the Imo State abolition of “Osu” system law and other matters connected thereto, has passed its second reading at the Imo State House of Assembly plenary session held yesterday, May 10, 2018.
Chief Sponsor of the bill is the Honorable member representing Oru East State Constituency in the IMHA, Hon Nkenna John Nzeruo. Co-sponsors include, Honorables; Ugonna Ozuruigbo, Ikechukwu Amuka, Kennedy Ibeh, Lugard Osuji, Uche Agabige, Donatus Onuigwe, Chika Madumere, Ifeanyi Nnataraonye, Ngozi Obiefule, and Uju Onwudiwe.
The bill passed through it’s second reading after due deliberations by both the Chief Sponsor and the supporters, who described the bill as an important one, adding that God created everyone equal.
Honorables; Donatus Onuigwe and Lugard Osuji stated that the stigmatization and ill treatments being meted on the said “osu” people is unbearable and not worthy of practice, hence, the need for the abolition of the said system.
After robust deliberations, the Speaker, Rt Hon Acho Ihim therefore committed it to the Committee on Judiciary, who are mandated to report back to the House on Thursday, 17, 2018.
To some people, “Osu” is also regarded as “Oru”, “Ohu”, “Ume” or “Omoni”, and people categorized under any of the above is denied certain religious, social and communal rights.
Earlier in his presentation, Hon Nzeruo said the bill if passed into law would enhance a cordial relationship among people in the same family, group, organization, community and the society at large. He disclosed that the essence of living is man’s interaction with each other, but a situation whereby some persons are regarded as “less humans” before the other, the reverse becomes the case.
Trumpeta was also briefed that going by the forces that led to the “Osu” system in Nigeria, it was under superstitious beliefs, which, according to the chief sponsor is targeted at abolishing, and to have stringent measures for anyone bent on stigmatizing fellow humans for things that are ephemeral.
In a related development, the bill is aimed at preventing any forms of molestation, infringement, obstructions, or boycott persons from living a normal life.
Part of the bill read “Whosoever that contravenes the foregoing provisions shall be guilty upon conviction to a fine of #500,000.00 or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding three years or both”.
It further beams it’s searchlight on parents, religious preachers, traditional rulers and cabinet, as well as school authorities, in the compliance of the tenets of oneness among peers and contemporaries.
Meanwhile, it would be recalled that before now, some religious institutions, especially the Catholic Archbishop of Owerri Archdiocese, AJV Obinna has been hammering on the Osu caste system, calling it a baberic act now worthy to be heard in the congregation of Children of God.
However, Hon Nkenna Nzeruo’s firmness in propounding this bill, according to feelers deserves a commendation and massive supports in ensuring that the ugly trend of “Osu” is absolutely abolished.