Irete Monarch, Indigenes Abolish OSU,Diala Cast System ..As Community Celebrates NTA Festival



Tunji Adedeji

The Traditional Ruler of Irete Autonomous Community, Owerri West LGA, Imo State, HRH Eze Ethelbert Ekwelibe and indigenes of Irete autonomous community on Saturday abolished all harmful traditional practices, especially ‘Osu and Diala cast system’, that deprive some indigenes of the community their rights and privileges.

Speaking during the NTA Cultural Festival 2018 held at the Irete Community Primary School, Owerri West last weekend, the respected custodian of culture and tradition in Irete community, Eze .Ekwelibe described such practices as “satanic and unchristian”.

He said ” after due consultation with traditional institutions, clergies, indigenes and based on popular wishes and demand of my people, I abolish OSU, Diala cast system today in Irete Autonomous Community. On no account would anybody be regarded as Osu in his community, either on account of their ancestry or otherwise.

The monarch noted that Christianity and the Constitution had placed all Nigerians on equal pedestal, adding that as Christians, slavery and segregation have been abolished and as far as Irete community is concerned, we do not recognize Osu caste system anymore. The laws of Irete community henceforth had abolished all forms of Diala, Osu caste practices in the area.”

Also speaking, Chief Nicholas Isiuba Ojinaka, Federal House of Representative Aspirant supported and advocated for an end to obnoxious laws and traditions that infringed fundamental human rights, especially “Osu Caste System.

He expressed its grudges with the obnoxious practice saying that such traditions were no longer valued. The Osu caste system is an ancient practice in Igboland that discourages social interaction and marriage with a group of persons called Osu (Igbo: outcast).

He commended the monarch and people of Irete for the abolition, even as he expressed joy and optimism that other community in Owerri west would emulate Irete people. Irete leads and others follows, he averred.

Prof. A A Igwenma , one of those conferred with a chieftaincy title while fielding questions from journalists said that the essence of the abolition was to eliminate discrimination, inequality, stigmatization, marginalization and segregation caused by ancient traditions still in practice.

“We hereby have no believe in laws and traditions which trap other human beings.

“Our major subject is the Osu Caste system in Irete and entire Igboland , an ancient practice which frowns against relationship and any form of interaction with any group of persons called Osu (Igbo outcast).

Earlier, Rev. Fr. Patrick Ibole who represented Bishop AJV Obinna ,the Arch Bishop  of Owerri Diocese during a libration mass at Holy Family Catholic Church Irete, expressed regret that such challenges that bordered on dehumanizing treatment of fellow indigenes (in the state)is still being practiced ,noting that it  had to stop.

The clergy noted that the time has come for the people to embrace Christian teachings and eschew manner of injustice in their lives. “If you know you are holding anybody down in the name of whatever belief that is not godly, please, release such person and let them be free” he said.

Speaking shortly, Hon. Uche Onyeagocha, a front line governorship aspirant in Imo  promised to look into the matter to ensure that the right things is done, if he wins the 2019 election ,adding that his administration would not tolerate injustice in whatever guise.

Also speaking, Hon. CY Amako said “Irete community as a people realized that there is need to take action. Human beings should not be subjected to slavery based on societal class. We should fight for the eradication of evil practices and restore joy and dignity to the lives of those trapped by traditions”.