Owukpa Women Protest Change in Burial Rites

Ali Adoyi and David Ujah Abakpa
3 Sep 2016

Some Idoma women from Owukpa in Ogbadibo local government area of Benue State have risen against a recent change in their culture where a woman is now buried in her husband’s house against the extant culture where such deceased wife would be taken to her father’s house for interment.

It would be recalled that controversy recently trailed the decision by Owukpa elders and leaders to bend the extant culture, as a woman whose corpse was reportedly buried in her father’s house on her family’s insistence despite the new culture was later exhumed by some vigilantes mobilized by the traditional ruler, the Onomo of Owukpa, Chief Emmanuel Odeh.

The development further angered a section of Owukpa who protested to the traditionalk ruler of Idomaland, Oche Idoma, Agabaidu Elias Ikoyi Obekpa in Otukpo Benue State. Their argument is that the extant tradition must not be tampered with, and as such, women must continue to be buried in their husband’s family homes.

According to a woman leader, Maria Adoyi, ‘’ this can’t happen during our time. We can’t just wake up at the middle of the night to change a known tradition whose roots can only be traced to our forefathers. Women must not allow this to happen, not in our time. The repercussion is grievous.’’

On the contrary, some women group who embarked on a solidarity march to the palace of the Onomo of Owukpa in Ukwo-centre said they were not comfortable with the burial tradition, saying the tradition was putting their womanhood to question.

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