Osu Caste System

Osu; Man's Inhumanity to Man

The osu’s are treated as inferior citizens. They are made to live in shrines or market places and are not allowed to have any relationship with the real free born. They are also seen as unclean, and are not allowed to break kola or make prayers on behalf of the free born, because it is believed that they will bring calamity upon the community. These forms of maltreatment and punishment have prompted the osu’s to flee to other countries for survival. In the wake of modernization and civilization in Igboland, the osu caste system has been criticized by people who believed it is against the fundamental human rights of this set of people; and that they deserved better treatments in terms of freedom of association, from social discrimination, justice and equity. According to some human right groups who are calling for its abolishment, some of the punishments meted out against the osu’s in Igboland include: parents administering poison to children perceived to have Osu blood, disinheritance, ostracism, denial of membership in social clubs, violent disruption of marriage ceremonies, denial of chieftaincy titles, deprivation of property and expulsion of wives.

Silent Prejudice TV Series

It is this inequality, injustice and maltreatment that we at POHAI, have captured episodically in the serial drama/movie "SILENT PREJUDICE", seeking to continue to expose the hypocrisy surrounding the osu caste system, thereby calling for a complete abolishment and abrogation of the inhuman practice from the face of the earth. Recall that the issue of "OSU" caste system has received all manner of legislative attention, several calls for it’s abolishment and executive pronouncements in the past, yet nothing changed due to the age long believes cum endemic and fragile nature of the subject matter. In 1956, the then Eastern Nigerian House of Assembly passed a law abolishing it, but it was never implemented. The Nigerian constitution declares every person free and equal before the law yet it persisted. On the 9th of March 2017, Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State abolished "OSU caste practice in Enugu State, that also ended up as mare rhetoric’s and was vehemently rejected, resisted by the so called free born(s). Similarly, in December 2018, the traditional ruler of Nri ancient Kingdom "Eze Nri" in Anambra state pronounced the abolishment of Osu caste system but what happened? The people rumored that perhaps the King himself is an outcaste and should not be taken seriously. Also in June 13, 2019, Governor Willie Obiano of Anambra State while addressing south east traditional rulers during the opening ceremony of a two-day seminar organized for Anambra State traditional ruler's council in Awka, challenged them to fight for the eradication of Osu caste system in Igboland. This goes a long way to show that the Osu practice is indeed beyond legislations and pronouncements; it is an issue of innovative advocacy because of it’s pervasive nature. People should be reoriented and made to see reasons through practical exhibitions against this practice on TV, radio and other online platforms week in week out. A direct example was aptly captured in one the scenes in Silent Prejudice where the hypocritical issue of the so-called free born secretly sleeping with Osu women in the night, and referring to them as Osu in the day time.