Edo Police boss blows hot over arrest, transfer of Chief Priest to Benin city
Commissioner of Police in Edo State, Mr. DanMallam Mohammed, has assured that disciplinary action will be taken against the policemen who whisked away the Chief Priest of Okhuaihe shrine at Evbokhoi, Uhunmwode Local Government Area in the State, Chief Osarodion Usuanlele, to the Police headquarters in Benin city for questioning.
Dan Mallam, who confirmed Usuanlele’s arrest, however, insisted that the arrest and transfer of the high chief, who holds the title of Ohen N’ Ukoni Neyedo, by operatives of the Anti-Cultism Unit to Benin was based on a petition by an indigene of the area.
Speaking to Tribune, the Police boss said based on the allegation by the local, whom he emphasised ought to know better, the policemen invited him to Benin for interrogation.
The commissioner, however, blamed the policemen for insisting on transferring the suspect to Benin despite his strident protest that moving him to the Edo State capital will amount to a desecration of Bini culture.
DanMallam said: “The issue could have been resolved over there at the local police station without moving him to Benin.
“The police must respect the culture and tradition of the people in areas where they operate.
“We are not taking the matter lightly and will deal with our men who are involved in the incident.
“They ought to have listened to the complaint of the chief and deal with the matter at the nearest police station, instead of bringing him to Benin.”
He denied receiving a list of items from the chief priest to cleanse the land, noting that the locals bought the items and did the sacrifice themselves.
The items reportedly included 14 native cows, tortoise, sheep, goats, cocks, among others.
We had earlier reported that going by an age-long tradition of the Binis which has been on since the times of Oba Ewuare the Great in the 15th century, the Ohen N’ UKoni is forbidden from setting his feet in Benin, the abode of the Oba as it is said to amount to a desecration.
As part of coronation rites of the Benin monarch, the chief priest engages in a symbolic wrestle with the prince of Benin, after which both men go opposite ways, never to see each other again, once the prince becomes the Oba.