Oba Of Benin Resolves 100 Disputes Through Open Mediation
Before Oba Ewuare II ascended the throne as the 40th Oba of Benin Kingdom on 20th October, 2016 every complaint brought before the Palace were usually heard at ‘Ogue-Ematon” in the Oba Palace. And in some cases committees made up of Palace Chiefs were constituted to listen and resolve such complaints on behalf of the Omo N’Oba.
However, the Benin Custom and Tradition places restriction on women and forbids them from entering the “Ogue-Ematon”, which means that women with cases to be heard at “Ogue-Ematon” are represented. Reports have it that some of the committees constituted to resolve issue distort fact and misrepresent issues to His Royal Majesty.
In a bid to bring sanity, fairness, equal right and justice to Palace administration, the reigning Oba of Benin, Omo N’Oba N’Edo Uku Akpolokpolo, Ewuare II initiated the “Open Mediation” at Ugha-Ozolua in the Oba Palace. The purpose among others was to provide opportunity for women who cannot make their representation at “Ogue-Ematon” to personally do so, and to eliminate the hitherto attendant distortion of facts when being represented by third party.
Since the commencement of the Open Mediation at Ugha-Ozolua, over 100 cases have been successfully resolved, while so many others are at various stages of being resolved.
For instance, those who have obtained justice include Mrs. Ann Aghayere whose land was forcefully taken from her by the Odionwere and the Ohen in Amagba; Mrs. Philo Akhere who was prevented from developing her land in Idunmwungha by youths loyal to the Odionwere.
Others are the Enogie of Egba, HRH Palmer OmoregieUzama, who was suspended by the Chairman of the outlawed CDA; the confirmation of Enogie of Uteh-Ekoko, HRH OgieayevbonaIgbinenikao whose leadership of the Village was been contested as the traditional ruler of the Village as well as the Ohen of Azagba, High Priest Nosahare Ogieriakhi who was confirmed as the traditional head of Azagba Village.
These landmark judgements by the Palace have no doubt restored hope to the seemingly despondent people and it has brought peace as well as laid to rest the crisis or agitations that have persisted in those villages and communities in the past.
It would be recalled that Oba Ewuare II was coronated on 20th October, 2016 and on 20th October, 2017 the Omo N’Oba will be one year on the throne. Consequently, activities and events to celebrate the first anniversary of the coronation of Oba Ewuare II will commence in the first week of October to be rounded off on Sunday 22nd October, 2017 with a Thanksgiving Service at Holy Aruosa Cathedral, Benin City.
Therefore, to enable everybody to prepare and be part of the upcoming activities to celebrate the first anniversary of the coronation of His Royal Majesty, Oba of Benin, the Benin Traditional Council decided to suspend forthwith the Open Mediation usually held every Thursday at Ugha-Ozolua in the Oba Palace.
During this period everybody would be sensitized about the new Benin Customary Alternative Dispute Resolution Committee (BCADRC), which will be inaugurated soon by His Royal Majesty, the Oba of Benin.
The Committee which will be made up of seasoned eminent jurists will be in charge of resolving issues and disputes among the people and villages. The Palace is confident that the Benin Customary Alternative Dispute Resolution Committee will effectively continue with the unprecedented landmark initiative of the Oba of Benin. However, the Open Mediation at Ugha-Ozolua will still be there, but this time for only those making appeal from cases already handled by the Benin Customary Alternative Dispute Resolution Committee.
At this point, one will like to highlight some of the beauty of the Open Mediation at Ugha-Ozolua. First, cases are not received or heard in proxy. In other words, the complainant and the accuse must be present before any matter is heard. Secondly, the Omo N’Oba personally listen and resolve all issues brought before the Palace.
This is a mark departure from the past when Chiefs were used to form Committees to resolve issues. Thirdly, there is no opportunity for anyone to distort fact or misrepresent issues. These brought so much credibility to the process and restored the peoples’ confidence in its resolutions which are based on fairness, equity, equal right and justice.
Therefore, Oba Ewuare II deserve commendation and praise. Little wonder why the Oba Ewuare II has been regarded as a messiah who has come to save and liberate his people from the hands of some shylock individuals in the society. The banning of the illegal activities of Community Development Association (CDA) is a case in point. This has brought hope and succour to many people who hitherto could not purchase hand or develop same due to extortion and oppression meted on them by the disbanded CDA members.
By: Desmond Agbama,
Chief Press Secretary to the Oba of Benin