Benin Nation Remembers Oba Ovonramwen

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The late Oba Ovonramwen

Benin - September 13 - Mediaage NG News – Today, 13th of September makes it 126 years that Oba Ovonramwen was exiled for life to Benin – Calabar by the British.

He was the last independent Oba (King) of the old Benin Kingdom in present-day Nigeria that has existed for number of centuries.

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Oba Ovonramwen was revered as a god until he surrendered to the British an died in exile.

His attempt to seal Benin off from Europeans was met by stiff resistance from the colonialists and by 1892, was forced to sign a protection treaty with the British administration.

Disputes over trade along the Benin River (1892–94) led to a campaign against Benin, with the murder of the British Acting Consul General in January 1897 preceding a full-force military action until Benin City was captured in February 1897.

“At about 02 pm of that day, an announcement was made by Moore (after his capture). Ovonramwen became human as each of his crowns were removed every 16th minute because, he was made to pay homage to the British in a Benin way, that is, rubbing his head three times on the ground”, Patrick Oroansaye, one of the grandsons of his fifth generation said.

MediaageNG Benin Nation Remembers Oba Ovonramwen Benin - September 13 - Mediaage NG News - Today, 13th of September makes it 126 years that Oba Ovonramwen was exiled for life to Benin - Calabar by the British.

“Some chiefs committed suicide, having seen it happen.

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“The point where he rubbed his head on the ground is in the Benin City museum, there are three trees planted there.

“The White man now placed him on top of a boat. He was put on a deck and taken through every riverine community in Edo and Delta states to show the Uhruobo, Itsekiri, Benin, and Ijaw people that they have captured Ovonramwen, he’s not a god, he’s human, that he did not turn into a bird to fly away, neither did he turn into a leopard to escape or did he become an elephant.

“He was kept on board until they got to Benin where he wore an agbada, and Agbobo from Bonny or Ubani took his photograph, one of his photographs that we see today”, Mr. Oroansaye said.

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