Five persons including a musician were arrested on Saturday by palace authorities for holding a burial ceremony during the coronation of the Oba of Benin, Omo n’Oba n’Edo Uku Akpolopkolo, Oba Ewuare II.
It was gathered that they were arrested while the ceremony was ongoing at Uwa Primary School in Oredo Local Government Area of the state.
It was learnt that some chiefs from the Oba’s palace stormed the venue and placed ‘Umenhe’ leaves (palm frond) on the food, drinks and canopies, indicating that an abomination had been committed.
The ‘Umenhe’ leaves also signify a message of no trespass from the Oba.
Many of the guests and family members burial looked surprised and disappointed.
Some of them also gathered in groups discussing the development.
One of those arrested, who identified herself as Josephine Ehimwenma, alleged that they had been given the approval to go ahead with the ceremony by some chiefs, since the main coronation had been completed.
Ehimwenma also claimed that the family members of the deceased were not aware that the ban had not been lifted.
She said, “Three days ago, I went to the palace and I met some chiefs and told them that I have buried my father (and) that I just wanted to entertain friends and well wishers. They said I should go ahead and demanded ‘chop’ money.”
A source in the palace said the family was asked to buy some sacrificial items for cleansing the land.
A member of the Iwebo palace society, Chief Sunday Okhiokpamwonyi, explained that the family would pay a fine and postpone the burial.
“Ewaise and Ogbelaka will tell her what to do to cleanse the land and to save the family,” he added.
Meanwhile, the monarch has promised to ensure peaceful coexistence among the diverse groups in the country.
Oba Ewuare II spoke on Saturday during a special ceremony organised in his honour by the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar III, at the Oba’s palace in Benin, the Edo State capital.
The monarch was crowned as the 40th Oba of Benin Kingdom on Thursday morning and received his staff of office from Governor Adams Oshiomhole at an elaborate ceremony held at Urho-Okpota hall.