The Edo State Commissioner of Police, Mohammed DanMallam has revealed that police operatives who brought the Chief Priest of Okhuaihe Shrine, Osarodion Usuanlele, the Ohen N’ UKoni Evbuekoi of the Benin kingdom must appease the gods. DanMallam made the clarification in an interview our Correspondent yesterday in Benin in connection with the clash of age-long
The Edo State Commissioner of Police, Mohammed DanMallam has revealed that police operatives who brought the Chief Priest of Okhuaihe Shrine, Osarodion Usuanlele, the Ohen N’ UKoni Evbuekoi of the Benin kingdom must appease the gods.
DanMallam made the clarification in an interview our Correspondent yesterday in Benin in connection with the clash of age-long tradition and law.
He also said he never ordered the arrest of the spiritual head of the Benin.
The head of the deity is forbidden by Benin customs and tradition to come near the abode of the Oba of Benin.
But, two weeks ago, the priest was arrested and detained in Benin by operatives of the police anti-cultism unit acting on a petition by a member of the outlawed Community Development Association.
The action of the operatives which is viewed in the kingdom as a taboo, because it broke an age-long tradition which held that the Ohen N’ Ukoni, has heightened tension in the land.
A violation of the practice in the tradition started in the 15th Century by Oba Ewuare, the Great, is death.
The Okhuaihe Shrine is located at Evbuekoi in Uhunwode Local Government Area, and as part of the Oba’s Coronation rites, the Chief Priest must engage in a symbolic wrestling with the Crown Prince.
After the wrestling match, both of them would go opposite ways, never to see each other again once the Crown Prince becomes the Oba.
Uhunmwode, where the chief priest resides, is more than 60 kilometres from Benin City.
Three dogs were said to have been slaughtered and other sacrifices carried out near the police headquarters before the Ohen N’ Ukoni was released.
Besides, other sacrifices including the slaughtering of muturu bull are to follow later.
DanMallam described the incident as sad, adding that the indigenous people who were conversant with the traditions were the same people who tried to mess it up.
“Firstly, I did not authorise the arrest of the chief priest and nobody informed me until the traditional offence had been committed.
“Benin kingdom is one of the oldest kingdoms and we have high regards for the kingdom and will not allow anybody to come and mess the tradition up,” he said.
He said the command was looking into the matter, adding that he would ensure that those involved in the arrest of the Chief priest do everything required to cleanse the land and appease the gods of the kingdom.
The CP said that the arrest must have been done by some “overzealous officers” in connivance with some members of the chief priest’s community to humiliate him.
He said that the police had no problem with the Benin kingdom, as the command holds the kingdom and the Oba of Benin, Oba Ewuare II, in high esteem.
Our Correspondent reports that when a similar incident took place during the reign of a former monarch in Benin several years ago over four persons over four persons including the security personnel involved in the arrest, did not live to tell the story. NEWSPAD/NAN.