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Updated: Friday 9th June 2017 06:33 am



Osu People Search Percussion and Oru
in Oraifite Igboland Nigeria West Africa


The History of Osu & Oru People


The history of Osu and Oru people started before the formation of Oraifite as a town. Osu is one dedicated to an alusi and such a person cannot commit any crime against the alusi or mmuo.

An Alusi Shrines in Oraifite.

An Alusi Shrines

There is nothing he or she does that is nso or alu, because he is owned by a specific alusi and feeds from the proceeds of nwa afo, in any form.

He/she lives his/her own life with the alusi and should not shave his/her hairs nor cut the finger nails.

The person must not go to the stream when others are in the stream and if he/she is there, no freeborn will help him to carry his pot but they will treat him with aloofness.

Nobody goes to his/her house and if he/she comes to market, to avoid contact, he/she will throw his/her money on the ground and the good too will be dropped on the ground for him/her.

He/she will not marry a free born. A free born.will not cross his or her legs over one's leg. If a free born has sex with Osu until a ritial is done to cleanse the abomination.

He is termed an Osu. If a free born marries an Osu, then his/her lineage is changed. His/her relations will declare him/her an Osu.

The person's relations will not communicate with her freely again. If a free born male marries an osu female unknowingly, and later discovers, the woman will be driven out with her child or children.

Then a cleansing ritual will be performed. The stigma still continues on the man because he has defiled himself.

The osu group are very powerful in their dealings because if in any form, a free born fights, them and injures them, the free born will spend a lot of fortune in appeasing the alusi that owns them.

Who is Osu or Oru?

An Osu - Artist Impression in Oraifite.

An Osu - Artist Impression.

An Osu or Oru is one who is bought for the services of an alusi, in the case of Osu, or human being in the case of Oru.

An Oru can grow Up to take wife from the village where he was bought depending on his achievements.

Also a female Oru can be married out to a free born depending on her character. Under such circumstances, he/she is cleansed and declared free.

But it is not so with the Osu. The Osu is the extreme act of wickedness by human being and needs to be completely abolished.

Christianity has tried to abolish slavery, igba oru, but the Osuship is still persistent in Oraifite and its environs - Idemili, Nnewi (North and South).

Aguata and Orumba local government areas, and some parts of other Igbo land. It is totally absent in Nri.

If a person or family steals, kills or oppresses the weak to death, in order to take over his or their property, the alusi or ani becomes angry and pronounces a curse on the person or family.

The person or family or a representative who may not be the immediate culprit, now seeks for the cause of their problems.

The afa will reveal that a person or family had sold, for example a daughter, nwada into slavery and she had died in foreign land and her death has not been redeemed.

The afa will pronounce that the ritual of igo osu should be done as an exchange of the sold away daughter.

The person or family in order to save more lives from the vengeance of the alusi, has to look for a female to use for the ritual of osu - igo osu.

The person or family buys another female slave and she is used for the ritual. The slave used is declared an Osu and she will no more return to her people.

The Ritual of Igo Osu


If a person is under a curse, and will do the ritual of "igo - osu". Here are the procedure he/she must follow:

  • One will go to the alusi that pronounced the curse on him/her with the following:

    • 2 goats
    • 6 cocks and 2 hens
    • 16 Igbo kola nuts, oji igbo.

    This is called ekwelum igo osu - I have accepted to do the ritual.


  • He now calls his kins, onu mbibi, and tell them his mission with:

    • 8 bowls of pounded food - Okwa nni isato.
    • 8 shillings (eight Naira)
    • 1 bottle of gin and 4 kola nuts.


  • His kins will now help him to look for an osu to come and do the ritual. Through the oracle, they have to know the accepted one.

    The Osu will now negotiate with him on how much he will pay.

    In most cases, there is always a go between, whose duty is to negotiate both the money and the right osu to be used. He then buys:

    • 4 goats
    • 2 baskets of fowls- ngiga okuku.
    • One piece of cloth
    • All cooking utensils - okwa, ikwe, ire, eku, nma-ekwu.
    • One bowl of pounded food for the osu to eat before going to the alusi.


  • By 8.00 p.m., they will carry all these things that are bought and go to the alusi with the osu.

    The priest of the alusi will be waiting in preparation to the ritual. When they come, the items will be checked one by one.

    The Osu, is stripped naked and laid on the ground like a corpse ~ in front of the Alusi.

    Her legs will be tied with leaves of fresh palm, frond, and her hands placed on her bossom and tied with the same omu leaves.

    The ritual has now started because' this time she is now a mock corpse in place of dead ada - daughter, that has been tormenting the family.

    The osu is now treated like a corpse and her hair will be shaved and Sometimes her ear cut and the blood taken.

    White chalk, nzu, is put in her mouth and the ofo, of the alusi is placed mildly on her head called iti - ofo n'isi..

    The blood of the animals and fowls killed will be sprinkled on her body and at the end of the ritual, two cannon shots will be fired to mark the end of the ritual which shows that the sold nwada has now been brought home and buried.

    The Osu will now carry all those things as her reward, while the priest takes his for the services.

    She will go home with escorts but will not talk to anybody till she reaches home and takes her bathe.

    The person or family will now go home rejoicing that they have cleansed their home.

Today, in Oraifite community town, there are great changes in the osu because they now mingle with the free borns to buy and sell, and they belong to all communal councils or clubs and social gatherings.

The Nri preached against the osu system, then the British and missionaries. All these helped to reduce it.

The Osu girls are secretely befriended by free boys and vice-visa. It is only when pregnancy occurs that people hear of it.

Some women, knowing fully well that one is an osu, still marry the man. People eat openly and drink openly with the osu today.

Some people argue that it is a wicked act that should be stopped and the children of these oppressed people declared free like others. Others argue, it is tradition tied with the alusi.

In any case, this article is not fully a medium to call for the abrogation of the osu system, but I've tried to show how the cultural heritage of Oraifite has changed in the areas of Osu like in other areas.

These changes are same in most Igbo communities because most of the osu are now taking ozo titles, which was not so before.

Probably, with time, there may not be any thing like osu or Oru in Oraifite and all over Igbo land where the system has been existing.

History Of Oraifite

Oraifite History Modern History of Oraifite Map of Oraifite

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Culture & Traditions Igbo Marriage Ceremony Igbo Funeral Ceremony Igbo Wedding Pictures Festivals Age Group - Grade System Igbu Ichi Illegal Courts Miscellaneous Matters Osu and Oru people Gift Items for Marriage Between Oraifite Indigenes Pictures of Igbo Food

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Masks and Masquerades
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