No Case Submission: Benin Palace Tackles Edo Govt Over Ogiamen Chieftancy Dispute

All the first class palace chiefs in Benin Kingdom and enigie (dukes) of all the dukedoms in the seven local government areas that make up Benin have knocked the Edo State government over the recent nolle prosequi (no-case-submission) entered into in a criminal case involving one Arisco Osemwingie and another, in respect of the former’s alleged declaration of himself as His Majesty and the Ogiamen of Utatan nation without approval from the state government.

At a press conference in Benin City on Thursday, the Iyase (Prime Minister) of Benin, Chief Sam Igbe who spoke on behalf of the chiefs and enigie, said there was no proper consultation with the Oba of Benin Palace before the criminal charges against Osemwingie were withdrawn.
Igbe insisted that Osemwingie cannot claim to be the Ogiamen which he noted, is a title in the palace and belonged to the Uzama N’Ibie group. He alleged that Osemwingie is only maternally related to the Ogiamen.

According to the Iyase, “We the Benin Chiefs and Enigie are very much aware of Chief Osarobo Ogiamen, the Ogiamen of Benin Kingdom, who is a member of Uzama N’Ibie at the Oba of Benin Palace. Chief Osarobo Ogiamen is the existing Ogiamen of Benin Kingdom because the family of Ogiamen has not informed the Palace of his demise.

Igbe posited that Osemwingie and his accomplice have committed a sacrilegious offence against the Benin customs and tradition, and have been adjudged enemies of the Benin palace and the people. He demanded an unreserved apology from Osemwingie to Benin people in three national newspapers.

On artefacts looted from the Benin palace during the British invasion of 1897, Igbe commended President Muhammadu Buhari and the National Commission for Museums and Monuments for supporting the return of some of the items to the palace which was the original owner. He called on the state government to fulfill its pledge to support the proposed Benin Royal Museum with N500 million which is to house the returned artefcts as contained in the 2019 budget of the state.

Noting that traditional institutions respect constituted authority, the senior chiefs appealed to the constituted authority to reciprocate the respect .

However, in his reaction to issues raised by the chiefs, the director of information and external affairs of Ogiamen family, Monday Wehere, explained that “The Ogiamen title came to be in 1200 AD; it predates the Oba Eweka dynasty. It has been on; and from that time till now, we have installed 24 Ogiamens, and Arisco, the 24th Ogiamen. There is never a time we have installed Ogiamen and we take permission from the state government or the palace of the Oba of Benin. The only one they can abolish is the one they created by themselves in 1979”.

On Osemwingie’s paternity, Wehere said he is a direct descendant of Ogiamen. He said he is the direct male child of Late Prince Daniel Osemwingie Orumwense, who he traced to Pa Idu Ogiso. Wehere said his mother’s ancestry could be traced to the Iyase of Udo in Ovia South West local government area of the state.

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