Category: Religion/Belief


Traditional belief/ Religion

Edo state inhabitants’ enjoy the freedom of religious worship. Inside and outside Observers give credit to the state, as one of the most peaceful places in Nigeria. The state has escaped the ethnic and religious bloodbath that has engulfs and destroys tens of thousands of lives in the country. Edo state is also credited as a places were religions and state are separated.

There are three types of religion, Christianity, Islam and Traditional religion. Traditional faith is rooted in an indigenous belief system based on a Supreme Being supported by deities and natural forces, which act as intermediaries between the divine, and humanity. The Portuguese brought Christianity to the Benin Empire in the 15th century, and during this period, Missionaries were sent from Portugal to establish churches in the kingdom. The remnants of which are Aruosa N’Akpakpava, Aruosa N’Idunwuerie and Aruosa N’ Ogbelaka all in Benin City. Subsequent Obas and their chiefs were made Catholic priests and were encouraged to dress like one and to spread Christianity throughout the Benin Empire. To this day the Benin monarch, his Chiefs, Enogies and other traditional titleholders still dress like a catholic priest. Alongside with different varieties of Benin royal dresses. The garment now represents royalty and one of code of dressing of Benin’s people. Pope Innocent XII sent father Angelus with a special letter to {25th} Oba Oreoghene{1689AD-1700AD} encouraging him and his subjects to continue to keep to the Christian faith.

Oba Esigie 1504AD-1578AD sent the priest of Olokun shine at Ughoton to Portugal to understudy Christianity and report to the kingdom. But Benin Empire inhabitants’ continue with their traditional religion not until the tail end of the 20th century that Christianity takes roots, due to indigenous Pentecostal churches. In a recent survey carried out a vast majority of the Edos Considers themselves Pentecostal Christians why a very few say they practice the traditional religion. Christian groups comprise the Anglican {Church of England}, Roman Catholic, Baptist, Methodist, Jehovah’s Witness, God’s kingdom society, Apostolic and Pentecostal churches. In Benin City, there is the Holy Aruosa, a traditional place of worship headed by the Oba of Benin. The Pentecostal Churches popularly called the ‘Born again Churches’ have made remarkable progress in recent years and spearheaded by the renowned flamboyant, well-travelled TV minister. Late Arch. B.A. Idahosa through his popular high profile American styles TV Christian ministry and crusades. Spread Pentecostal Christianity from his base in Benin City to other parts of Nigeria, Africa and beyond. Although he is dead now his legacy lives on. Historians will have it to say; that the history of Christian evangelism of the 20th century in continental Africa will not be completed without the mention of Arch. Idahosa. All year round Christian and non-Christian alike visit his tomb along Airport road Benin City very close to the City Airport. To pay respects to the Christian Pentecostal Icon.

To this day, it is unusual to pass a street in Benin City without coming across one or two Pentecostal churches they can easily be found in remote villages too. Nupe warriors who carried out their campaigns in some part of the north of Edo State when the land was still under the jurisdiction of Benin Empire Monarchial Authority. The Benin royal forces were able to prevent them from spreading it into the main Benin kingdom introduced Islam towards the end of the 19th century. Hence, Islam has a large following only in those parts. To this day, it is hard to see a Benin’s person who is a Muslim though many Muslims live in Benin City and other parts of Benin kingdom.