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Obaseki Dares Benin Palace, Insists On Group’s Ban

Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki, has insisted that the ban on Okaighele (community youth leaders) activities in seven local governments in Edo South Senatorial district is still in force.

Recall that the Oba of Benin Palace had on June 7, 2024, kicked against the action of the Edo State Government.

While addressing the Okaigheles who protested to Palace, Chief Osaro Idah, the Obazelu of Benin, who spoke on behalf of the monarch, had said Okaighele is not something that can be banned by fiat as they belong to the Benin ancestors.

According to the Palace, Okaighele represents a segment of the aged-long Benin traditional administrative structure.

“Okaighele didn’t start in this Century. As you have age grades, and senior sons, so we have them. When Odionwere (village head) is appointed by the Oba, Okaighele assist the Odionwere in the daily administration of the domain on daily basis.”

But reacting to the Palace’s comments, the Edo government said Okaighele and cultists pose the most severe threat to the security and stability of the state.

The Commissioner for Orientation and Communication, Chris Nehikhare, who spoke on behalf of the government said Okaighele’s was made in the interest of public safety.

He described the development as a move to curb the alarming rise in cult-related activities.

“The Edo State Security Council data has shown that these two groups (Okaigheles and cultists) pose the most severe threat to the security and stability of the State, resulting in the decision of the Council to place a total ban on the criminal groups”.

“While we respect the tradition and customs of our communities, it is important to note that the safety and security of our citizens must always come first”.

“Chief Osaro Idah, Obazalu of Benin’s contradictory statement does not change the gravity of the situation at hand, and we stand by our decision to enforce this ban on Okaigheles to protect the lives of our people.”

He warned that government would not allow any individual or organization no matter now highly placed to undermine the efforts of the State Security Council to protect the lives and property.

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