Chief David U. Edebiri is the Esogban of Benin kingdom; in this interview with OJIEVA EHIOSUN he threw his weight behind the recent curses placed by the Oba of Benin, Oba Ewuare II, on perpetrators of various crimes in the state. Excerpts…
What is the implication of the recent curses made by the Oba of Benin on human traffickers and other related offences?
Well, you want me to say it is not good? I’m a member of the palace, one of those who stand by the Oba any day any moment. So what the Benin monarch has done as I have told other people is quite novel and I think it is the best in the circumstance in which we have found ourselves now. Again, with all these bad publicity being peddled about Benin City, the Benin nation and Edo State in general, I think the Oba has done the right thing in this regard. No Oba or king would want his people to die, certainly not.
At the same time, no Oba or king would want his subjects to take it upon themselves to make life unbearable for other citizens, or to sleep with the two eyes open every night. What the Oba has said is that this thing has been going on for a very long time, people have taken several steps to stop it, even when the present monarch was an ambassador to Rome.
He once told us of the efforts he made to curb or stop the illicit activities of some of our people. His efforts actually yielded some positives results, at that time, but after some time, the thing took another dimension again, becoming scandalous for the good people of Edo state.
How do the people of Edo feel seeing some unpatriotic elements getting involved in human trafficking and taken young girls to Europe for prostitution?
To tell you how bad the situation has been within the past few months, one morning I was listening to international news as I use to do every morning, I tuned on to BBC, the first thing story I heard was about Benin, about human trafficking. I changed to CNN and discovered that throughout that week, the CNN had no other news except about Benin City and the business of prostitution.
They even sent some reporters to Benin City to interview people on the matter. It is as if Benin had become or this place is the home for production of harlots and other anti-social vices. I couldn’t understand it, it was becoming unbearable and scandalous.
This prompted the Omo No’ Oba to come out with this method of passing a decree or whatever name you may wish to call it. What he said was that henceforth, all those who are engaged in these anti-social activities should stop; failing which this is the repercussion.
That is exactly what happened. Following these pronouncements, it had been praises for the Benin monarch; we have supported him since he ascended the throne. He has done a lot, very hard working Oba, always ready to do more for the Benin Kingdom and the state in general.
There have been a lot of reactions from people all over the world concerning the curse on evil doers in the state; is there a limitation to the effects on those concerned?
Look, the curses placed by the monarch on the people involved in this shameful business has no boundary or limit; it is not a matter of tribe, religion, or political affiliation, it is not meant for the Benin man or woman, whether you are from the Benin, Auchi, Ekpoma, or Igarra, as long as you step your foot on Benin soil, you drink the water that comes from this land, you eat the food from the soil, the curse will hunt you if you go against the rule. So if people think that they are not from Benin and so the curse would have no effect on them, they have themselves to blame.
Is it possible for the monarch to reverse these curses should anyone be bold enough to own up?
If that is the case, and someone summons the courage to open or make a public declaration about his or her involvement, the monarch knows what to do about such a case. I had people say on social media that a village around Benin is already been ravaged by the curses, that some people are reaping the results already. I do not know whether it is true or not, and I do not know if the palace is aware of this recent development or not. But what I do know is that anyone that gets himself or herself involved in such abominable act would have to wait for the results.
How would you assess the achievements of the Oba since he came on board as the Oba of Benin Kingdom?
The Omo N’Oba N’Edo Uku Akpolokpolo, Ewuare II has done a lot for the Benin Kingdom. Since he came, a lot of good things have taken place. He is a big blessing to our kingdom. Look at the issue of the so called Community Development Associations which had given us sleepless nights, the moment the Omo N’Oba came and banned the activities of the CDA, peace came back to our land. Before now, somebody would work and buy a piece of land, the moment you want to begin work on the site some miscreants would come from nowhere to tell you that the land belongs to them, and you would be made to pay through your nose before you could get back such land if ever you would get it.
The establishment of different high powered committees headed by men of integrity by the Oba to settle matters of various kinds is something that should be applauded by all. In the past, it was not so, people had very bad experiences in the hands of those responsible for the settlement of land disputes and other related matters.
In time past, they would tell both the complainant and the defendant to bring millions and millions of money, but now all those have been abolished since the Omo N’Oba came on board. There are many achievements of this Oba; Benin society had returned to the type of stability we want; there is absolute tranquillity now in the Benin area, and by extension in the whole of Edo State. So the Omo N’Oba is doing his very best and we call on all men of good will to give their support to whatever the Oba is doing for public good.
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