Edo CP denies authorising arrest of Benin Kingdom chief priest


Commissioner of Police in Edo State, Mohammed DanMallam, has denied ordering the arrest of the Chief Priest of Okhuaihe Shrine, Osarodion Usuanlele, the Ohen Nu Koni Evbuekoi of Benin kingdom.

The priest was arrested and detained in Benin by operatives of the police anti-cultism unit.

His arrest followed a petition by a member of the outlawed Community Development Association (CDA).

The action of the police is seen as a taboo in Benin Kingdom as the chief priest is not by tradition supposed to visit Benin.

As part of Oba’s coronation rites, the chief priest must have symbolic wrestling with the crown prince after which they both depart, never to see each other again once the crown prince becomes the Oba.

DanMallam told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Thursday: “Firstly, I did not authorise the arrest of the chief priest and nobody informed me until the traditional offence had been committed.

“Benin kingdom is one of the oldest kingdoms and we have high regards for the kingdom and will not allow anybody to come and mess the tradition up.”

He said he would ensure that the officers involved appease the gods of the kingdom and cleanse the land.

The CP said that the arrest must have been done by some “overzealous officers” in connivance with some members of the chief priest’s community to humiliate him.