The Benin Palace has disowned one Mr. Rich Arisco Osemwingie for unlawfully crowning himself as the Ogiamien of Benin, saying that by so doing, he has committed a sacrilegious offence against the Benin customs and traditions.
According to the palace, for Rich Arisco Osemwingie to have unlawfully crowned himself as the Ogiamien of the Benin Kingdom, a Chieftaincy title in the Benin royal stool, he has been adjudged enemy of the Benin palace and the Benin people in general.
Reading from a statement signed by Chief Sam Igbe, the Iyase of Benin, Chief D. U. Edebiri, Esogban of Benin, Chief M. N. O. Ozigbo-Esere, Osuma of Benin and eleven other chiefs of the palace at a press conference in Benin on behalf of the palace, the Iyase of Benin, Chief Sam Igbe said, the said Arisco Osemwingie is not Ogiamien and does not have locus standi to claim or be addressed as Ogiamien neither has he any right to the title of Ogiamien of Benin Kingdom.
Chief Igbe said the recent publications from the office of the Edo State Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice with regard to the Edo State withdrawal of the criminal case against Mr. Rich Arisco Osemwingie and one other person to the crime whose name was not disclosed
necessitated the press briefing.
Chief Igbe said they would have responded long before now but restrained for reason of contempt of court, adding that now that the case has been withdrawn, they decided to address the general public via the press conference.
“The Benins, both at home and in the diaspora have been very angry over the withdrawal of the criminal case against the said Rich Arisco Osemwingie and one other.
“We were told that his relationship with the Ogiamien family is maternal and not paternal, hence he has no right to, or say, in the Ogiamien chieftaincy title.
“The Benin chiefs and the Enigie are aware of Chief Osarobo Ogiamien, the Ogiamien of Benin Kingdom who is a member of Uzama N’Ibie at the Oba of Benin Palace.
“Chief Osarobo Ogiamien, is the existing Ogiamien of Benin Kingdom because the family of Ogiamien has not informed the palace of his demise” Igbe said.
The Iyase also said that the Benin chiefs and the Enigie found out that there was no proper consultation with the Oba of Benin Palace before the withdrawal of the criminal case against them (Arisco and one other) by the state government.
He maintained that nevertheless, the said press statement by the Edo State Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice re-emphasized that the paramount traditional ruler in the seven local government areas (Oredo, Ikpoba Okha, Egor, Ovia North East, Ovia South West, Orhionmwon and Uhunmwode) is their revered monarchy-Oba Ewuare II, the Oba of Benin.
He said with the submission of the Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice that it is the prerogative of the Oba of Benin to give any chieftaincy title to whoever he deems fit, and the consequent withdrawal of the case by the Edo State government, the palace, therefore, demands apology from the said Arisco to the Oba of Benin.
“The Edo State Government has withdrawn the said criminal charges against Mr. Rich Arisco Osemwingie, but after due consideration, we hereby demand that Mr. Rich Arisco Osemwingie should tender an unreserved apology to the Benin people in at least three national newspapers and pledge his unalloyed loyalty to our only and indivisible Benin Throne, which is the Oba of Benin and this apology should be made within a reasonable time”, he said.
Speaking on the Benin Artefacts and the Benin Royal Museum, the Iyase of Benin said, ” we are very happy and delighted over the return of Benin Artefacts taken away in 1897 following the Benin invasion by the British Soldiers.
While thanking President Muhammadu Buhari for his role in ensuring that stolen artefacts are returned to their original abodes, Chief Igbe called on the Edo State governor, Godwin Obaseki to fulfil his pledge of supporting the construction of the Benin Royal Museum instead of building another for which a part of the Benin Specialist Hospital has been demolished.