JUST IN: Enigie Are Not Traditional Rulers, Benin Palace Warns

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The palace of the Oba of Benin has said that Enigie (Dukes) are not traditional rulers but appointees and representatives of the monarch in their domains and has threatened sanction against the dukes who continue or allow themselves to be addressed as such.

Addressing a press conference in Benin City on Friday, the Benin Traditional Council (BTC) said the media have misinformed the public by referring to them as kings.

The Counsel to BTC, Professor Edoba Omoregie (SAN) warned that “any further breach of this traditional protocol would be considered by the BTC as a serious affront to the entire Benin people and the Palace of Oba of Benin, which breach will be visited with serious consequences under the law.”

In a statement jointly signed by Omorege, The Obazelu of Benin, Chief Osaro Idah, The Esere of Benin, Chief S.O. Obamwonyi, The Eribo of Benin, Chief J. E. Oviasogie and others said “By virtue of Benin Customary Law, which is part of the existing laws of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 and earlier affirmed in the Traditional Rulers and Chiefs Law, 1979 (as applicable in Edo State), the traditional chieftaincy title of Enogie of any community in Benin Kingdom is the creation of the Oba of Benin and under the authority of the Benin Traditional Council.

“Upon appointment, an Enogie is assigned as a Chief of the Oba Palace to a community as a representative of the Oba of Benin in that community; but never as a traditional ruler as there is only one traditional ruler in the whole of the Benin Kingdom who is the Oba of Benin.

“Despite this unambiguous Benin Tradition which is well codified in existing laws, members of the print and electronic media have resorted to erroneously addressing Enigie of the various communities in Benin Kingdom as traditional rulers. This is a serious breach of traditional protocol which has caused unnecessary confusion to many unsuspecting members of the general public who are unaware of this serious sacrilegious blunder.

“The BTC therefore use this medium to strongly urge and admonish all members of the print and electronic media to refrain from further reference to the Enogie of any community in Benin Kingdom as a traditional ruler, but only as a Chief of the community to which the Enogie has been appointed by the Oba of Benin.”

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