The Ahorhan of Ora
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Written by Ekhaguosa Aisien (Last up date March 31, 2022)

The Ahorhan were exorcist. They were said to have been an Ora family brought to Benin Oba ESIGIE when a severe earthquake -took place Benin. The earthquake split open the ground Oto gbohio, resulting in a great chasm at the Unuogua, the large open space in front of the Benin palace, occupied today by the National museum complex. Quite a number ‘of houses in the City were destroyed and some lives were lost. This family, said to be experts at dealing with such naturally occurring disasters, was said to be from the ORA/OWAN town of IMODU.

Ahorhan was said to have succeeded in closing up the gully. On completion of the assignment he got fourteen stalwart to dance a vigorous dance on the healed spot, to test the strength of the healing of the ground satisfied with the result the herbalist laid a heavy chain across where the chasm had been. He drove huge iron spikes-Aban, into the ground on either side of where the gully had been and with these spikes the ends of the chain were held down across the healed portion, as a precaution against the ground opening up again.

The family prospered and multiplied by the side of the lofty rampart of Ogbe Ewuare Moat. Later in the search for more living space, a branch moved to Ogbelaka Quarters, to the Street now know by their name near the shrine of the ELOWE N’ UGBOHA of the Igun N’ Ugboha Blacksmith guild, the personage who was said to have brought the family in the first instance to Benin. Later still, in the search for farmland another branch settled beyond OKA village, in the settlement now called USENI-EVBORHAN.

The Ahorhan people are propitiators of the soil. They keep the physical earth in good humour, so that geological cataclysms do not befall Edo-land. Any transgressions against the physical earth by the citizenry are reported to the Ahorhan. The guild cleanses the land in atonement rituals, protecting Benin from any repercussions which might otherwise have flowed from the act. Such acts include suicides and serious sexual transgressions.

In old Benin the Ahorhan enclave was a haven for any fugitive fleeing from whatever and whoever would seek to apprehend him. In this connection the territory of the guild functioned in the same manner as the Ogbore, the outer courtyard, of the premises of any Benin Chief. Once the succeeded in gaining entrance into the Ahorhan Quarters he was safe from further pursuit, as the Ahorhan Quarters he was safe from further pursuit, as the enclave was never violated. It was thereafter the responsibility of the head of the guild who, performing the role of the justice of peace, acted as a go-between the contending parties concerning the matter at issue, when an appropriate resolution of it would be obtained.

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