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Taboo Of Female Dogs In Omoku - Culture - Nairaland

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Taboo Of Female Dogs In Omoku by ajuksobi: 11:30pm On Nov 16, 2023

Ajukura, Fidelis O.
16th November, 2023.

You must have heard that female dogs are forbidden in Omoku. Do you have any idea why this innocent creature was banned or forbidden from moving about freely in Omoku? To understand this issue, let us first turn our attention a little bit to the concept of taboo. What is taboo? A taboo is a religious or social practice(s) that forbids or restricts certain behaviour, activities, relationships, places or things. Taboos are context based - they vary from one community to another.

Taboos emanate from societal norms and customs. The purpose of taboo is to ensure proper functioning of the community in the way that is considered fit by the people.

Shortly after Ogbas, descendants of Aklaka settled in their new found land, they were faced with a number of challenges. One of them was the violent and aggressive activities of their Aboh neighbours. The Abohs were superior to Ogbas because they had trained (men) fighters and better weapons. With this advantage, they threatened and ransacked Ogba communities especially, those living along the coastlines. It was as a result of the activities of the Abohs that the entire Ogba people met in Omoku and resolved to have a centralized leadership that will help in coordinating a resistance or counter attack on the Abohs. This leader, according to the peoples' resolution was to reside in Omoku, a community that was considered central in Ogba land. From Omoku, it was easy to connect to every Ogba community. According to Ben-Fred and Henry Onyedibia "Okoya (Nwaebe) was chosen supposedly due to his father's kingly regalia which he put on to the 'Nnokota Ka Ogba Li'kpo". The royal robe which Okoya wore to the meeting of Ogba people in Omoku singled him out and eventually was made 'Eze Ka Ogba Li'kpo' (leader of the entire Ogba).

Around 1655, few years after Okoya Nwaebe Nwalia had settled down as Eze Ka Ogba Li'kpo in Omoku, the Abohs struck. With everybody gone into hiding, the Abohs had a field day ransacking the small community unchallenged. While they were searching for valuable items to plunder, Eze Okoya's dog which may have seen its master lowered into a bunker in order to protect him from the marauding Abohs started barking and scratching the surface of the bunker. As the dog continued doing this, the Aboh warriors became suspicious and decided to find out why the dog was disturbed. In the process, Okoya was discovered and subsequently decapitated. Although, Ogbas who were initially overwhelmed with fear and watched events from their hiding places mustered the courage to defend their land after seeing their king killed in a most gruesome manner. With the boldness of a lion, they attacked the Aboh warriors such that they (Abohs) ran away but perished at a location or spot in the Omoku river called 'edebu'.

After this incident, elders of Ogba land met and jointly passed a law banning female dogs in Ogba land. The Umu-Ebes ceased the opportunity to demand that the Ogba kingship be made their inheritance. Families that challenged the position or claim of the Umu-Ebes were oppugned by the Umu-Ebes to release one of their prominent sons to be massacred like Okoya their son, brother and father. When none of them could make the sacrifice, the elders swore, decreeing that henceforth, the kingship is an inheritance of the Umu-Ebes. These laws remain active till this day. Between 1999 and 2000, Oba Chukwumela Nnam Obi 11 made a frantic effort to have the ban on female dogs and other laws considered archaic and retrogressive repealed. This move was however met with a stiff resistance by the people. When it became obvious to the Oba that the people were not interested in having the age long tradition broken, he soft-pedaled and allowed the people's will to prevail.

Till date, female dogs are considered as taboo in Ogba land. But, with the divisive politics that is prevalent in Ogba land, many communities have distanced themselves from this law. Concerning Omoku, it is my believe that all the laws that do not possess the spirit of the contemporary time including the ban on female dogs will someday be jettisoned on the ground of being superfluous and encumbering.

(From the desk of The New Onelga Pinnacle).

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