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    Kasim Bilkisu
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      THE CULTURE OF OGUGU IN KOGI STATE

      Ogugu is a community of Igala-speaking people of the Olamaboro local government area of Kogi state Nigeria. The people of Ogugu were pagans before the coming of Christianity and other religions during the 20th century.

      Ogugu land had a culture called “ibegwu” which means ancestors or ancestral spirit of the people, the Igala Ogugu people believe that their ancestors are watching over them and it stops them from doing any mischievous act such as murder, adultery, abortion, premarital affairs, etc if not he or she will be visited by the ancestral spirit with a mysterious ailment and before the person can be cured he/ she needs to confess publicly and also engage in necessary ritual cleansing.

       

      Ibegwu’s ancestral spirit can be seen only by those who violate the laws of the land, which existed before the 17th century. The people of Ogugu lived in total peace and tranquility because everyone was careful not to fall, victim, as the punishment was too severe. Ogugu land has other cultural heritage that binds any child of Ogugu, this has put every man and woman under check and balance. Even if any Ogugu descendant travels outside the land or relocates to another country and he/ she involves in any act that is forbidden in the Ogugu, the ancestral spirit “ibegwu” will arrest the person and they are a way of reconciliation and penalties.

       

      The Ogugu marital rite is the Agarama rite, the traditional joining of the couples to the deity known as ibegwu.

      These are things you ought to know about the “OGUGU CULTURAL NORMS”

       

      1. Abortion is not allowed for any Ogugu man, when he impregnates a woman either in wedlock or out of wedlock, he is forbidden from involving his money for the termination of the pregnancy, and if by any chance the woman adds the man’s money unaware to him, he would still die except cleansing is done. It is believed that the blood and destiny of the unborn child havebeen wasted.
      2. Before an Ogugu man decides to do family planning with his wife, he must inform the eldest man in his clan. And, if he takes this decision on his own, the ancestral spirit will arrest him and a strange ailment will befall him until he publicly confesses and performs all the necessary rites for cleanse, his ailment is said to be incurred. It is believed that children come from gods and no man has the power to reject them. Nowadays the women of this era indulge in family planning without telling or involving their husbands to prevent them from the punishment of Ibegwu as they are the target for such forbidden acts.
       

      3. Married women in Ogugu are not allowed to indulge in marital affairs it punishable by death that is if she fails to confess and do all necessary rites or if she confesses to her husband and he keeps quiet and continues eating the food that she prepares for him, without sending her out of his house or making her perform the necessary rites, he will die and also his first male child will also die.
      4. As an Ogugu man either married or single, you are not allowed to suck a woman’s private part, their culture forbids it.
       

      5. An Ogugu man is not allowed to engage himself in a money ritual if he tries it, the punishment is death.
      6. In Ogugu land a man who lost his father or mother-in-law a befitting burial ceremony with cultural needs must be done, if he fails to do it the outcome is that he will not be allowed to make any form of contributions towards the burial, or else he will die.
      7. No Ogugu man or woman is allowed to kill his or her fellow brother or sister.
      Although carefully reviewing everything said it reveals that there is nothing harmful or barbaric in this practice, violating the ibegwu is not an instant death, it is a provision for cleansing and purification no matter the gravity of the offense.

       

      Apart from these traditions, a woman is supposed to be totally submissive to her husband in all aspects. The Ogugu land has elderly and aged people which means the tradition does not cut people’s lives short as rumored, except it is been violated.

       

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