BTC suspends five chiefs for affirming Ile Ife as ancestral home of Benin people


The Benin Traditional Council, BTC, has suspended five chiefs from their roles for engaging in conduct against Benin Custom.

BTC announced their suspension in a statement signed by the Iyase of Benin, Chief Sam Igbe, on Saturday.


The statement said the affected functionaries visited the Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi, where they falsely claimed to be emissaries of the Oba of Benin and rendered inaccurate and disjointed account of the connection between the Benin Royal Dynasty and the Ooni-ship of Ife.

The statement reads: “The attention of the Benin Traditional Council has been drawn to video clips circulating on social media in which a group of self-serving traditional functionaries from Benin engaged themselves in a sacrilegious show of shame and falsehood against the Benin Custom.

“In the said clip, the individuals who have been identified as Johnbull Igbinosun, Iduhonre (Ihogbe), S.E. Aigbiremwen, Efesieoghoba (Ogbelaka) and two other Ogbelaka functionaries identified as Ogbeide Osagie and Osamudiame Edo were in the presence of the Ooni of Ife, falsely claiming to be emissaries of the Omo N’ObaN’ Edo Uku Akpolokpolo, His Royal Majesty Oba Ewuare Il, Oba of Benin.

“These individuals not only declared themselves subjects of the Ooni but also rendered inaccurate and disjointed accounts of the connection between the Benin Royal Dynasty and the Ooni-ship of Ife.

“While the BTC does not wish to be drawn to restating the well-known connection between the two thrones of the Oba of Benin and the Ooni of Ife, the general public is urged to disregard the inaccurate accounts rendered by the ill-bred individuals named above.”

The Council further described the conduct of these functionaries as “inappropriate, sacrilegious, and calculated to ridicule traditional history and to bring disrepute to Benin custom.”

It added, “Consequently, on the authority of the Omo N’Oba N’Edo Uku Akpolokpolo, His Royal Majesty Oba Ewuare Il, Oba of Benin the Prescribed Authority over Benin Custom, the BTC hereby announces the suspension of the individuals mentioned above from their role as Benin traditional functionaries.

“The general public is advised to refrain from having anything to do with them as traditional functionaries in Benin kingdom throughout their suspension.”

It would be recalled that the Benin Chiefs during a visit to the Ooni had reiterated that “Ile-Ife is the ancestral home of the Benin people.

The purpose of the visit was to formally invite the Ooni to attend the forthcoming Patriots Award event.

In an exchange in a now-viral video, one of the emissaries reminded the Ooni that their collective understanding has always recognised Ile-Ife as the Benin people’s ancestral home, irrespective of contrary narratives circulating online.

“We have always been told that Ife is our home.

“I don’t care about the propaganda on the internet or whatever anybody is saying.

“We know our history and as far as we are concerned, when I was coming here, I knew I was coming to meet my father so I was very comfortable,” the emissary said.

Recently, there has been an endless debate and discussion about the true origin of the Benin Kingdom.

While Ile-Ife is widely regarded as the ancestral home of the Yoruba people, the Benin Kingdom has been said to have historical connections to Ife.

Located in what is now modern-day Edo State, the Benin Kingdom was one of the oldest and most developed states in the coastal hinterland of West Africa dating back to the 11th century AD.

However, there have been conflicting claims and historical debates about the precise origins of the Benin people.

While some historical narratives have suggested that the Benin people descended from the Yoruba people of the South-West, others have claimed the reverse was the case.

These disagreements have often sparked tensions among people from both sides of the divide, especially on the internet.


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