Esan Native Law and Custom On Tying Ojomen Round a Farmland or Another’s House

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The Ojomen has special significance amongst Esan people. It could signify rejoicing while under different condition it could mean a taboo either for the sacredness of the object round which it had been tied or because that object has been cursed. Thus during some feasts e.g. eating of new yams, the palm fronds in Esan custom, are tied at every gateway and in the streets. That signifies great rejoicing in Esan. But it a man does not want people to use a path after himself he ties Ojomen across it or if he found a palm with ripe nut and he does want another man to reap them he ties Ojomen round the tree. In Esan custom that ban is inviolable. Knowing the awe with which Esan regard such a ban it is a great offence for a man to use Ojomen lightly. For example, during the beginning of the farming year, a man goes to tie Ojomen round a certain bush he himself has no intention of farming, by that action he has made a one-man law as prohibitive as if it were made by the most autocratic and dreaded Onojie in the land. In fact neither he nor any other villager can farm on that parcel of land that year. Therefore if a man tied these fronds across the entrance of a house no one else will dare enter the house again. Truly have our ancestors viewed the irresponsible use of Ojomen with all seriousness. Such stupid acts in Esan are followed with immediate slaughtering of a she-goat against the offender.

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