The horses of Ebonyi (II)
One story best captures the extent and depth of Hausa activities relating to the horse, in Onueke and the surrounding communities in Ebonyi State. This is the moving story of Danlami Mohammed who has had a long connection with Onueke, and this relationship goes back to the year 1973.
He tells Daily Trust that long ago his father and grandfather had been transporting horses to the present day Ebonyi state “I hail from Bunkure local government in Kano state. My grandfather brought my father to Onueke on a horse, many years ago. We don’t know of any other business, except it be that of horses.”
He adds, as the earlier respondents did, that horses are brought from many states in the far north, down to the Onueke animal market. Then he shows the ways in which the horse has become an important feature of Igbo life today.
His words “When a title is given to somebody in Igboland, the horse is part of the ceremony. On some occasions the horse is given as a gift to an elder in the community. On other occasions it is part of a burial ceremony, and after the burial they will slaughter it.”
He says that the horses taken down to Onueke are “former polo horses in the north which have become weak. It is okay to dispose of them since they are not useful for the game of polo. These are Nigerian horses, but there are a number of them that are brought in from Niger Republic,as well as Cameroon.”
Horses are cheaper than cows, he
In Igboland horses have a function at burials, and at the giving of traditional titles.
Nwankwo Sunday says 15 horses are killed every market day,and 4 horses on all other days of the week.