Wednesday, 5 January 2011

Nigerian community 'will stone to death' gays

Abia State in NigeriaState of Abia. Image via Wikipedia
Source: African Activist

Nigeria's Ebem Ohafia community in the Ohafia Council Area of Abia has placed a total ban on homosexuality warning that those involved will be ostracised, no matter their status.

The traditional ruler of the community, Eze Ukoha Kalu, announced that the community would stone to death any confirmed homosexual in Ebem. The Nigerian Observer reports:
This was one of the resolutions made in Ohafia in Abia by the generality of the people, who had gathered at their ‘Abum’ village square to celebrate their 2010 Cultural Carnival.

Reports says that the theme of the event was “Knowing your root” and that the event was part of activities meant to revive the fading cultural heritage of the people.

Speaking at the carnival, Mr. Uche Ukoha, the Chairman of the event, expressed regret that the cultural heritage of most communities was facing serious challenges because of the impact of western culture.

“Our rich cultural heritage is fast fading away, giving rise to an uncultured western lifestyle that has no respect for humanity, norms and ethical values.

“This is more pathetic as this ill has found its way into Churches that are supposed to be custodians and strongholds of morality.

“We cannot allow this in this community and I suggest that any of our children that brings this condemnable attitude into this community will have to be shown the way out,” he said.

Ukoha noted that the rise in youth delinquency, corruption and community instability were all signs of decline of the people’s culture.

The traditional ruler of the community, Eze Ukoha Kalu, after getting the reaction of the crowd, announced that the community would stone to death any confirmed homosexual in Ebem.

Reports also stated that that Ebem is the only community in Ohafia that has a matrilineal method of succession in terms of traditional leadership.

It is the only community in Ohafia that had a bloody encounter with the white colonial masters at the early stage of its development.
According to John C. McCall at Southern Illinois University-Carbondale's Department of Anthropology, Ohafia has a warrior culture central to the people's sense of identity.
Prior to the colonial period the ancestors of the Ohafia people were renowned as mighty warriors. This aspect of Ohafia's history remains fundamental to the Ohafia people's sense of identity. The warrior's cap (okpu agu or "leopard cap") is ubiquitous in Ohafia and is recognized all over Nigeria as a marker of Ohafia citizenship. The Ohafia warrior tradition and its role in the constitution of Ohafia identity is explicitly embodied in the performance of iri agha -- the Ohafia War Dance . The warrior identity is deeply ingrained in Ohafia cultural practice and the process of acquiring deep knowledge of the warrior tradition begins in early childhood. 
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