The horses of Ebonyi (II)

Daily Trust - - FEATURE - By Tadaferua Ujorha who was in Onueke Horse meat is a del­i­cacy in many parts of the South-East.

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

PHO­TOS TADAFERUA UJORHA

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.

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