Head-Thieves, Deaf-Mutes And Liars...Part 3
THE LEGAL LIMITS OF "CEREMONIAL"
Whereas our laws accord as much recognition to our cultures and traditions and prescribe ceremonial duties to the Sultan, the Emirs, the Obas and Obis who are the primal custodians of these practices by statutorily allotting 5% of our revenue to their upkeep,
Whereas the legal maxims of sources of laws and hierarchy of laws places customary laws under local government bylaws (third tier), which are subsumed by state laws (second tier) themselves lesser than federal laws (first tier)...and ultimately the constitution,
Whereas even judgements of the Supreme Court being legal precedents are by themselves given the strength and verve of full-bodied laws and are so observed by lesser courts until such times as they are reversed or voided by the Supreme Court or Acts of The National Assembly.
Whereas such hierarchy of, or seniority of, laws, makes all lesser laws in conflict wholly, or in part, with higher laws, to be void to the extent of such inconsistencies,
Whereas such constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria clearly guarantees the fundamental rights of citizens resident within the territorial confines of the nation,
Whereas such rights to life, free movement, speech are universal and their observance is the usual barometer by which the civility of nations is guaged,
Whereas the federal government of Nigeria and by inference, states may enforce these rights through our courts as ably aided by the awesome powers of our security forces.
Whereas such security forces possess such powers of violence that may be dispensed if need be in determined enforcement of these rights,
It is so worrisome that the fundamental human rights of the citizens of the Federal Republic of Nigeria are so trampled upon as captured by the following news headlines:
"Wives, Children Barred From Monarch's Burial...."
"Journalists Warned To Vacate Town Latest 4pm After Oba's Funeral..."
"Oro Cult Invades Ooni's Funeral In Church..."
"Monarch Given Private Burial After Church Service..."
"University of Ife, Banks Close At Behest Of Oro Cult In Ife"
And worse still:
Imposition of traditional curfews.
Undisguised and unrestrained threats of death if such curfews are violated.
Wholesale kidnapping of citizens.
Actual brazen murder of citizens by beheading by ritualists.
Cult activities by older men cloaked in cultural disguises... as younger cultists are hounded and jailed.
Official tolerance for secret burials, gruesome mutilation of corpses by non-pathologsts and cannibalism!
The supporting evidence for these atrocities are just too many!
1. An unending string of denials and outright lies about the Oba's death even when his death abroad was already public knowledge.
2. A resounding silence to queries about his wellbeing even though as a public figure, the citizenry deserves a honest brief about same.
3. A delayed official confirmation of his death running into weeks! Why the delay? Were the ritualists unsure of his death...or still snooping for human heads? Obviated by the eventual announcer who stated that "official announcement of the Oba's death was in tandem with his status"...thus confirming that they intentionally lied to us earlier and the announcement was intentionally delayed!
4. A whole university was shut down by the Vice Chancellor for fear that his students may be beheaded!
5. Banks and other commercial houses were closed in compliance with threats issued by the Oro Cult as town dwellers stocked up their homes with groceries in panic.
6. The Oba was given a "private burial" that precluded even his wives and male children after his church funeral was invaded by the Oro Cult.
7. All journalists were ordered to leave the town before such burial.
The foregoing forms the concluding part of the series on the gory traditions of an important segment of Yorubaland...which in my humble opinion, is an unemotional analysis of the head-yanking culture of the town of Ile -Ife in Southwestern Nigeria.
Dr Tosin Akindele is a medical practitioner and public affairs analyst.