Bishops renew fight against Osu caste in S’East


Some retired Anglican bishops under the aegis of Total Liberation Crusaders have renewed the fight against the Osu caste system in the South-East region of the country.

They asked South-East governors and legislators to reactivate the 1956 law abolishing the system in the area to end the practice.

The Osu caste system is an ancient practice in Igbo land that discourages social interaction and marriage with a group of persons called Osu, believed to be dedicated to deities.

Addressing a press conference on Wednesday in Awka, Anambra State, bishops Raphael Okafor, Anthony Nkwoka and Samuel Chukuka described the practice as terrible.

They wondered why the 1956 law of Eastern Nigeria abolishing the Osu caste system had remained unenforceable.

Describing the system as a cancer plaguing the Igbo race, the clerics petitioned southeastern governors, lawmakers and notable personalities in the zone to intervene.

Their petition entitled, “The deadly cancer called Osu caste system plaguing the Igbo race,” read in part, “Do you know that there are thousands of people under your watch suffering from the stigma of Osu which they know nothing about?

“In this 21st Century, their fellow Igbo are maltreating them, regarding them as criminals and second class citizens.

“But in 1956, a law was passed by the Eastern Nigeria House of Assembly banning such an obnoxious and discriminatory system.

“We, therefore, earnestly request that you, please, use your good offices to reactivate and enforce this 1956 law of liberation.”

The bishops, who said they were mobilising the youths in the zone, especially students of tertiary institutions in the fight, wondered why the Igbo that embraced religion and civilisation over 150 years ago should indulge in such a practice.

“It is wicked and very unfortunate. Moreover, the Osu caste system is antiquated and has, therefore, been outlawed since 1956.

“In some Igbo communities, these people are not even allowed to participate in elections.

“The Igbo have come of age; we cannot continue to listen to fables. We cannot continue to dance to the whims and caprices of the uninformed people.

“Let the youths rise up; ignore the societal pressure not to do so. When the youths do so, Osu will become a thing of the past sooner than later,” the bishops stated.

Source: Punch


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