Mr Tony Ojukwu, Executive Secretary, National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) on Friday said that the “Osu ” caste system was a violation of human rights and therefore illegal.
Ojukwu made this known in Abuja during a scene on a movie series ‘ Silent Prejudice ‘ by a Non- Governmental Organisation( NGO) named Pillars of Hope Africa Initiative (POHAI).
He said the “Osu” Caste system is a system which considers some as free born and others as slaves.
” It does not allow association between the so called free borns and the slaves. It does not allow marriages or same market, school or association between them in anyway.
” It is therefore degrading and accordingly, the commission thereby declare that Osu caste system is violation of human rights and therefore illegal.
” Any person who continues this, has violated the human rights of the citizens, the Osu caste system is therefore declared null and void and unconditional.
” As any such practises are considered a violation of human rights an such people should not go unpunished ” he said.
He called on those who practice and encourage such to said all parties involved should to regard as a degrading cast system.
Speaking to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN ) Mr Chris Oge- Kalu, producer /director of ‘ Silent Prejudice’ said the aim of POHAI was to bring to the front burner the issue of Osu.
He said that the scene was a public hearing on the Osu caste system which involves NHRC because the issue being treated in the movie was the system as practised in the South- East.
” The issue is a human right issue and a lot of people shy away from it and pretend that the issue is not there.
“People don’t want to to talk about it, that is why we took the initiative to come to NHRC for we reasoned that by collaborating with the commission, we will pull the bull by the horn”
“What we are doing is an advocacy because the evil that this Osu system presents is much” he said.
He added that the Osu victims are seen as leprosy and that people should not go near to them and that some believe that they have body odour and all sorts of things.
Acting as senators were Mr Femi Fani- Kayode former Minister of Aviation as Uche Kai and former Sen. Dion Melaye, as Ibekwe.
Also in the cast was Mr Dan Nwanyawu former presidential candidate who acted as Chief Odumegwu.
NAN reports that the Osu Caste System is an ancient practice in Igboland that discourages social interaction and marriage with a group of people, referred to as Osu (outcasts).