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Rivers Community Celebrates Annual Iria Festival, Initiating Young Virgins into Womanhood

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In the Okrika Local Government Area of Rivers State, the Ogu kingdom’s annual Iria festival has once again captured widespread attention, as young virgins are initiated into womanhood. The Iria ceremony, an ancient festival of the Okrika people, takes place in various towns, particularly during the months of December and January.

 

 

Dating back to the 16th century, the Iria Festival has become a source of excitement for both locals and outsiders, drawing anticipation in the last three to four months of every year. The festival is known for featuring maidens who, as part of the initiation process, showcase their breasts.

Beyond its role as a cultural event, the Iria Festival is viewed as a yearly competition where families in Okrika use the opportunity to highlight chastity. Parents present their virgin daughters for initiation into womanhood, marking the beginning of the fattening room phase. In this phase, the young women are nourished with body-enriching meals, including pounded yam mixed with pounded plantain and fresh fish.

Photos from this year’s Iria Festival have gone viral on social media, portraying the cultural richness and traditions of the Okrika people in Rivers State.

 

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Culture

FG Seeks Opportunities For Youths In Creative Industry

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The minister of budget and economic planning, Abubakar Bagudu, has called on the managing director/chief executives of the Nigerian Film Corporation (NFC), Ali Nuhu, to find meaningful opportunities for Youths to take advantage of the creative industry.

Bagudu also advised the corporation to seek collaboration with KOICA of South Korea, Japan and the French Embassy, to move the creative industry in the country forward.

The minister called Dr Nuhu, a disruptor brought into government to use his creative ability to convey positive messages of Renewed Hope and project resilient Nigerians who daily toil to live meaningful lives.

Bagudu also advocated for support from international  organisations and relevant stakeholders  for the Nigerian Film Corporation to boost the economic growth of the country.

The minister made remarks when Dr Nuhu  and senior members of the corporation paid him a courtesy visit in the ministry on Thursday, according to a statement that was issued by the ministry spokeswoman, Julie Osaige-Jacobs.

Bagudu noted that President Bola Ahmed Tinubu was deliberate in the establishment of the Ministry of Culture and Creative Economy as he recognised the fact that some organisations or fields of endeavours contribute to economic growth of a nation.

In his response, the NFC boss said the purpose of the courtesy  increase in the budgetary allocation of the corporation, is to enable it to achieve its mandates. He specifically noted that the increase in budgetary supplementation would enable the Corporation to maintain its liaison offices, the development of the NFC permanent site, capacity building of the existing staff and the recruitment of its aging personnel.

The NFC is one of the parastatals in the Federal Ministry of Culture and Creative Economy that has the mandate to foster a thriving and enduring film industry and cinema culture in Nigeria.

 

 

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Benin Traditional Council Warns Governor Obaseki Over Mediation in Royal Dispute

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The ongoing conflict between the Oba of Benin, some suspended Enigies (dukes), and Edo State Governor Godwin Obaseki escalated on Wednesday as the Benin Traditional Council issued a stern warning to Obaseki regarding his attempts to mediate the rift.

Several Enigies have taken legal action against the Oba of Benin, Omo N’Oba N’Edo Uku Akpolokpolo, Ewuare II, and the state government over their suspensions. They argue that the Oba lacks the authority to suspend them without the approval of the state executive council and Governor Obaseki.

The Benin Traditional Council, in a statement signed by nine prominent palace chiefs, condemned any external interference in the kingdom’s customary arbitration processes. The statement emphasized the sacred and time-honored methods of resolving disputes within the Benin Kingdom, which they urged all parties to respect and utilize.

The statement was signed by the following chiefs:

  • Chief Norense Ozigbo-Esere, Osuma of Benin
  • Chief Edionwe Oliha, Oliha of Benin
  • Chief Henry Osato Bazuaye, Aiwerioghene of Benin
  • Chief Ekhoerovbiye Oviasogie, Uwangue of Benin
  • Chief Ada Igbinovia, Eribo of Benin
  • Chief Stanley Obamwonyi, Esere of Benin
  • Chief Osaro Idah, Obazelu of Benin
  • Chief Okuonghae Edomwandagbon, Ine of Benin
  • Chief David Aibiokun Ehondor, Obahiagbon of Benin

An excerpt from the statement reads: “Our attention has been drawn to the reported plan by the Governor of Edo State, His Excellency, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, to initiate dispute resolution of the suit filed by two suspended Enigie against His Royal Majesty, Omo N’Oba N’Edo, Uku Akpolokpolo, Oba of Benin.”

Governor Obaseki’s involvement has been seen by the traditional council as an overreach, potentially undermining the established customs and authority of the Oba. The council’s declaration reflects the deep-rooted respect for traditional governance in the Benin Kingdom and a commitment to preserving its independence from political influence.

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Ladoja, Chiefs End Feud, To Unveil Next Olubadan Thursday

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In an attempt to resolve the lingering crisis over the vacant stool of the Olubadan of Ibadanland, the Otun Olubadan, High Chief Rashidi Ladoja has decided to withdraw his suit against the Oyo State governor, Seyi Makinde and the late Olubadan, Oba Lekan Balogun.

Ladoja had initiated the legal action over the elevation of 10 Ibadan High Chiefs to beaded crown-wearing Obas, and had in the suit filed before the state High Court in Ibadan, in July 2023, also joined the 10 monarchs as defendants.

The former Oyo State governor is also expected to convene a meeting of the Olubadan-in-Council to nominate the Olubadan-designate, Oba Owolabi Olakulehin, as the 43rd Olubadan of Ibadanland, on Thursday.

It would be recalled that Makinde approved the elevation of the 10 from the High Chiefs to Obas, following the recommendation of the late Olubadan, Oba Balogun.

Ladoja’s decision to withdraw the case and the convening the Olubadan-in-Council meeting, , it was  gathered, formed part of the resolutions of a meeting convened by the leadership of the Central Council of Ibadan Indigenes, CCII, in conjunction with the elders, held at the Ikolaba residence of Chief Bode Amoo, on Monday.

It was further gathered that issues surrounding the enthronement of the new monarch and the reported lingering crisis among the kingmakers had been finally resolved.

Apart from the uncertainty in the health condition of Olakulehin, which had stalled the coronation, following 21 days after the transition of Oba Balogun, Ibadan elites had successfully mounted pressure on Ladoja to withdraw the case to pave way for the next Olubadan to emerge.

Until the meeting on Monday, some members of the Olubadan Advisory Council were insisting that they would not be part of any meeting that Ladoja would convene.

Going by the Ibadan chieftaincy arrangement, Olakulehin will be nominated by the next person to him in his line of Balogun, which is the Otun Balogun, Oba Ajibola, at a meeting to be convened by the most senior high chief in the other line (Otun), within 21 days of the demise of the paramount ruler.

A source said that, “The aggrieved kingmakers have resolved to put the past behind and work together as one for the common interest of Ibadanland. The meeting has in attendance all the kingmakers except the Osi Balogun of Ibadanland, Oba Tajudeen Ajibola and the Ekerin Olubadan of Ibadanland, Oba Hamidu Ajibade Salaudeen.

“The fifth columnists have been put to shame as we have resolved all the issues surrounding the enthronement of the 43rd Olubadan of Ibadanland. The CCII convened the meeting which had in attendance all the kingmakers except the two of them, notable elders of the land, and present and past leaders of the CCII.

“All issues have been resolved. There is now peace and harmony among the kingmakers. The Olubadan-in-Council is now one. God has put the fifth columnists to shame. In attendance at the meeting were the Asiwaju of Ibadan, Chief Bode Amao; Prelate Ola Makinde, past Presidents-General of CCII, Chief Y.K. Akande, Chief Bayo Oyero, Chief Wale Akinwande, Chief Soladoye and a host of others. We used an internal dispute mechanism to resolve our dispute in Ibadanland.

Notice of Thursday’s meeting to be convened by High Chief Ladoja is out. The meeting to be convened by Ladoja is in accordance with the 1957 Olubadan Chieftaincy Declaration.”

 

 

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