It has been a long time in the making, but prominent Igbo monarchs have vowed to abolish the Osu caste system across all parts of Southeast Nigeria. The event is expected to bring together key Igbo traditional rulers to Nri Palace in Anambra for procession and spiritual nullification of the controversial practice.
The practice started in some ancient Igbo societies where the Osu were a people dedicated to the gods as an atonement for an abominable act; and the Ohu were those born or sold into slavery.
As time progressed, every member of the society became integrated with each other, but in some parts of Igboland, people still saw those who are from the Osu lineage as tainted and carriers of bad spirit. The Osu is the only caste that still has a lingering negative echo today. Although those from the Ohu backgrounds are also discriminated against, it’s more of a rare occurrence as they’re seen as being innocuous than the Osu.
To this day, some people mostly discriminate against the Osu when it comes to marriage, and they’re also seen as unfit to lead in their communities or even hold any prominent position. A lot of young Igbo people have been critical of the practice as being inhuman and calling for its abolition.
Eze Nkeli Nzekwe Kelly of the Eri Dynasty emphasized that the exercise will be all encompassing where the Osu practice will be nullified and their estranged brothers and sisters together with their kits and kins who were previously sold into slavery in America, Europe and the Islands will be reunited with the rest of their people.
Prince Ikenna Onyesoh of the ancient Nri Kingdom said it will be ‘spiritually suicidal’ for anyone to carry on with the practice once it is abolished
Many believe that the abolition of the practice will mark the end of the shameful Osu caste system and the discrimination that comes with it.