A Benin traditional ruler, Enogie of Ekpoma, Zaiki Abumere II, has said some traditions in Ekpoma, a community in Edo State, will be abolished soon.
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In an interview with PUNCH, Abumere said the traditions that compels a son to inherit his late father’s wife will be stopped soon, adding that the one that forces a woman to drink from the water used to wash the corpse of her husband and swear that she had nothing to do with his death, has been abolished.
“If you are talking about traditions, there are some traditions that have been changed. We are still trying to work on some, especially the one that gives a son the right to inherit his father’s wife. It was in vogue in those days, but we are trying to discourage it now.
“There is also a tradition that compels a woman to drink from the water used to wash the corpse of her husband and swear that she had nothing to do with his death. No, we don’t allow that at all here again, we no longer accommodate it. It has been abolished.”
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The Ekpoma monarch, a lawyer and banker, listed some of the taboos the community do not take lightly. According to him, actions like a man sleeping with another man’s wife, or a man sleeping with his daughter, are totally frowned at in the community.
“In Ekpoma, it is a taboo for any man to sleep with another man’s wife. We don’t take it lightly. Also, it is a taboo for any man to sleep with his daughter or for anyone to commit suicide. There are others which I cannot remember now but we consider life precious and no one is allowed to take their own life.”
Abumere further stated that though some communitites still engage in such act, but he has warned against such babaric act, adding that he usually seek the intervention of the government in case it happens.
“But that does not mean some communities are not engaging in some funny things but if it gets to me or I’m aware of it, I stop them immediately. There was an incident involving a woman; she ran to my palace. Her husband died and she was asked to swear and all that.
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“I sent a message to them immediately to stop that. I warned against it and told them I would take it up and report them to the government if they went ahead with it. There are lots of non-governmental organisations working on that.
“We just settled a matter here: a man died and they said the first son was not his. They doubted if he was his son or not.
“I said the best way to settle the matter was by conducting a DNA test but some people were still saying the woman must be compelled to swear that the child belonged to the deceased, but I told them it was the DNA test that would solve the problem.