Oba palace: Okaigheles not banned in Benin

The Oba of Benin Palace in Benin City has clarified that Okaigheles (Youth leaders) across the seven Local Government Areas in Edo State have not been banned, noting that they represents a segment of the aged-long Benin traditional administrative structure.

This followed the recent pronouncement of Governor Godwin Obaseki banning activities of Okaigheles in Benin amid security crisis in Edo State.

Chief Osaro Idah, the Obazelu of Benin who said this while addressing protesting Edo South Okaigheles who sought the palace’s intervention.

He assured that the Palace will dialogue with the government over the contentious issue, and charged the Okaigheles to maintain peace and order in their domains.

Chief Idah, who was joined by Chief Oghafua Oyeoba, the Oyeoba of Benin and Chief Uyi Okungbowa, the Ogua of Benin, said the Palace will not shield any individual caught in nefarious activities.

“Okaighele is not a new thing in Benin. It didn’t start in this Century. As you have age grades, and senior sons, so we have them. When Odionwere (village head) is appointed by the Oba, Okaighele assist the Odionwere in the daily administration of the domain on daily basis.

“It is not something that can be banned by fiat because Okaighele, belongs to the Benin ancestors. We shall inform the appropriate authorities about your concerns.

“You have not been banned. But, the Palace will not support any form of violence of attack on anyone or group of persons in Communities.

‘If anyone is caught, the Palace) will support the government to prosecute such person(s)”, he warned.

Earlier, Comrade Rowland Ogbomo who spoke on behalf of the aggrieved youths and Odionweres (village heads) in Edo South Senatorial District, stated that Okaighele is a creation of the Palace.

He said they were surprised over the announcement by the Governor and appealed to Omo N’ Edo, Uku Akpolokpolo, Ewuare II, Oba of Benin to urgently intervene.

Ogbomo explained that Okaigheles are responsible in maintenance of the law and order in line with Benin native laws and Customs.

According to him, “We are here in respect of the recent ban on Okaigheles by the Governor and we are appealing to our Royal father to intervene and rescue us. We are not cultists”.

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