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Chief David Edebiri, the Esogban of Benin Kingdom in Edo State and Chairman of Benin Forum, the umbrella body of all Binis in the country and Diaspora said unknown to many, witches run the government and make decisions that are binding on all.
He explained: “There is the upper class; those are the people running the government. They run the government all of us are. And once they make decision in that area, it is binding all over. They think of how the society will grow.”
Head of Benin witches and wizards, Chief David Edebiri
Edebiri who oversees operations of witches and wizards among other traditional functions, said though he is the “departmental head” of witches and wizards in the monarchy, he was not a witch himself but he was only rendering service to humanity by taming their excesses.
Asked where he acquired the authority he uses to tame suspected witches and wizards, Chief Edebiri replied: “Ah, it is the power of God Almighty and that of the Oba of Benin (laughter). We have averted much havoc that these people would have caused in Benin Kingdom.”
Speaking to Vanguard, he recalled a time when witches were very brutal in Benin Kingdom until a traditional parliamentary action was endorsed by the great, great grandfathers, to put together a group, which he (Edebiri) is presently the leader, to curtail their excesses.
According to him, in the past, witches were either killed or sent to the evil forest, but now, the erring ones were court-martialed and deactivated to live a new life.
Chief Edebiri revealed that most of the witches are either church singers or something in the church but they do not succeed anywhere the name of Jesus is mentioned.
He said: “I tell you that most of them do not succeed anywhere Jesus is mentioned. And I asked them, do you mean that you people fear the awesome power of Jesus Christ, they said yes. I asked them further, if you say that you fear the power of Jesus, how do you feel when the pastor is condemning you people in the name of Jesus, they said they will be condemning the pastor too. But I can tell that so many of them have been converted to Christianity after passing through this place.”