The pimps and madams concerned are now jittery and are said to be in disarray over the curse placed upon them should they continue their nefarious activities. The turn of events is said to be due to the importance attached to the curses from the revered Benin monarch and their efficacy. There are antecedents. An age-long myth subsists about the efficacy of curses that proceed from the mouth of a ruler of the Benin Kingdom. It is widely believed that such curses do not go unfulfilled once the target is guilty of the sin for which he or she is charged.
And the Oba’s curse is no respecter of age or status. The story is also told of Ikoka, a community in Ovia South West Local Government Area, which remains yet a remote village in spite of the fact that it serves as a host to one of the largest rubber plantations in the country.
It is said that Ikoka village and its people were cursed by Oba Ewuakpe in the 14th Century after the people asked him to work when he asked them for food. The curse he placed on the community, according to historians, is that only their women would experience progress, while houses built in the village would collapse as they are being built and their roads would turn bushy as they are being cleared.
Today, Ikoka is tucked away inside the rubber plantation without an access road to the community. To get to the village, one has to navigate through the rubber plantation. Thus, it is believed that the village is still under the curse of the late Oba.
Residents of Iguomon community in Uhunmwode Local Government Area recently cried out that they were dying from strange ailments because of a curse placed on the community by Oba Erediauwa. Inhabitants of the community had to besiege the Oba’s palace to beg that the curse to be revoked in order to save them from further calamity.
Pa Roland Ugiagbe Okhuorabo, the man who was supposed to be installed as the next Odionwere (the traditional ruler of the community), was quoted as saying that he would not present himself to be installed until the curse is revoked.
The foregoing are pointers to how much the inhabitants of Benin Kingdom hold the Oba’s words in awe. The people see him as God’s representative on earth. All the deities in the land belong to him and consequently are under his directives. His words are law across the state because almost all the traditional rulers in the state and some communities in neighbouring states are princes from the palace.
But besides the Oba, Edo residents are known to fear curses from any juju. For example, when fire gutted the Oba’s market in Benin in 2004, many of the traders came in the morning and found that some thieves had used the fire outbreak as a cover to loot their shops. Adun, promptly summoned Aiyelala worshippers who held a procession round the market, warning whoever had stolen the goods to return them. By the following day, the thieves had returned the goods and placed them at different locations in the market.
The Benin monarch, Oba Ewuare II, at the Ugha Ozolua with palace chiefs, Enigies, Ewaise, Obo during the placing of curses on human traffickers, kidnappers and armed robbers recently.
The jitters that followed the curses recently proclaimed by Oba Ewuare II on the individuals responsible for the trafficking of female prostitutes from the Benin Kingdom to Europe, America and other parts of the world, would be better understood in the foregoing context.
Recent reports indicate that things are no longer at ease in the camps of pimps, madams and native doctors responsible for trafficking young women from the kingdom to work as prostitutes in foreign lands. Many madams responsible for trafficking young women abroad are said to have been in shock on account of the curses the Oba proclaimed at a ceremony attended by priests from various shrines in the state.
The priests at the said ceremony included the Ohen Okhuae, Ohen Ovia, Ohen noriyekeogba, Ohen Ake, Ohen Niwuo, Ohen Sango, Odionwere, Iwueki the Enigies and native doctors. Some ancient juju and several others known as esusumahi were brought out as instruments for the invocation of the curses.
At the said occasion, the Oba also performed rites that were meant to set trafficked victims free from the various oaths they have been made to swear at various shrines in the state or elsewhere. The Oba also warned native doctors in the kingdom to return whatever items they had collected from the trafficked girls.
In invoking the curses, the Oba said: “From today, we end all the oaths and it will not affect those placed on the oaths. Anybody that walks on Edo land and eats the food cooked with salt and oil will die if they continue to do things that will bring shame to the land.
“The juju will kill those who want to henceforth engage in human trafficking. Even those who go to other places to perform juju will also die. Native doctors should not force girls again, and they should return the things they collected from the girls.” News of the Oba’s action reportedly spread across Europe like wild fire. Checks conducted by our reporter indicated that the ‘madams’ were shocked at the pronouncements. The Oba’s curse created a huge war in Europe between traffickers known as madams and their girls.
Cross section of Ewaise with the various charms and esusumahie used for cursing human traffickers, kidnappers and armed robbers.
The girls are expected to pay as much as €35,000 depending on how much the madam spent to bring them to Europe. According to a source in Italy, “the madams are not happy even though some immediately released their girls after the Oba’s curse. The Oba’s curse came as a shock to them. They said there was no warning or signs that such a thing would happen.
They said the Oba should have given them some time to free the girls themselves. “It is difficult for the madams to take any extra step to recover their money, because as you know, our people fear curses more than death. But some madams are saying the Oba did not mention anything like money. They said the Oba only removed the oath they took before coming. “But some madams said they are not from Benin. The madams don’t have anything to tell the native doctors again because the Oba has already placed a curse and warned the native doctors not to back them.” In a chat with our reporter, a renowned native doctor, Chief Clement Okooboh, said the Oba had neutralised all the oaths trafficked victims were placed on, warning other native doctors to desist from the act or face the wrath of the gods. Chief Okooboh stated that all sons and daughters of Edo land must adhere to the Oba’s directive and also pass the message to other people.
His words: “At the pronouncement from the palace, everybody knows their direction. If you have been involved in oath taking, you know that all that is over. Anything that has to do with human trafficking, unless you are travelling for better things. That is where I think we have to support. “You should know that anything that happens must first happen in the spiritual. Whatever it takes to make sure the negative yoke is broken physically, we should do it spiritually. We will not run away from that because it has been said that we should not support those travelling abroad.
“Before I travel with my children, I do one or two things with our deity for safe trip. I know the implications of oath taking. I have never encouraged it, especially when it comes to travelling by land. I have never encouraged people to travel by land. “Those who are still paying deaf ears to our father’s instructions should be ready to face the wrath of the gods. Our father has renounced the oaths. Whatever thing they have been doing, the Oba has neutralised all the oaths placed on the girls. What he is telling the native doctors is not to engage in the act again. Whoever is calling the girls to come and renounce is stupid. He is daring the gods of our land.”
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