FORBIDDEN: Here are eight things prohibited in the Oba of Benin’s palace


The Oba of Benin palace is the highlight of vacationers’ rendezvous in the ancient kingdom of Benin. Since its existence in 900AD, the Palace has continued to stand graciously, surmounting battles and wars.

The Monumental Palace harbors architectural marvels, brasses, antiques, and artifacts signifying its historical preeminence. In 1999, UNESCO listed the Oba’s palace and Igun-Eronmwon quarters as Cultural Heritage Sites. Indeed, it tops the destination checklist of Edo imminent tourists. The kingdom is presently ruled by His Royal Majesty, Omo n’Oba n’Edo Uku Akpolokpolo, Oba Ewuare II.

In case you want to join the long list of visitors, Bloomshire has compiled a list of acts that are forbidden in the palace:

Black Attire

Black clothes are forbidden in the palace as it connotes mourning. The Oba must not set eye on a black cloth because he does not mourn. It is a taboo.

Whistle Blowing

In most cultures, blowing of whistle is believed to rouse the spirit of the dead. People of Benin are no exception as they believe blowing whistle in the palace may summon any of the thousands of deities in the palace. This can spell doom for the whistleblower as well as people around.

Finger Pointing

Pointing of finger is an act which typifies deep spiritual meaning. Therefore, it is forbidden for anyone to point fingers at the Oba or his Chiefs. The Oba himself only point fingers at people in a bid to proclaim blessings on them or otherwise. Anyone found guilty will be arrested by the Ifienwero, the spiritual guard who wades off spiritual attacks against the Oba. The offender is then asks to take an oath and confess his intention for pointing at the Oba.


Dogs do not stray into the Benin palace. Any trespassing canine either dies naturally or is killed. This is so because dogs were substituted for human sacrifice after the abolishment of the latter in the pre-colonial era.

Ehemgbuda Shrine

According to Benin history, the powerful Oba Ehemgbuda was born a hermaphrodite. Witch doctors were summoned to remove the female organ on little Oba Ehemgbuda. Afterwards, he was paraded naked to assuage villagers concerns that the heir to the throne was indeed male. The Ehemgbuda shrine is believed to harbor his spirit, thus any female who enters the shrine will become infertile.

Palm Oil Fruits

Just like blood, palm kernel is usually red in color. Palm Kernels, in or around the palace is considered as a bad omen as it means that the land will take blood and usually someone would have to die. Even vehicles loaded with Palm oil fruit are prohibited from plying streets surrounding the palace. Any visitor flout the law, an animal is sacrificed to avert death.

Royal Women Quarters

The Royal Harem houses the Queens of the Oba. Male visitors and relatives alike are prohibited from entering the quarters or extending their hands to its inhabitant in form of greeting.

Open Umbrella in Festivals

During festivities in Benin, nobody is allowed to cover his or her head with an umbrella irrespective of the weather condition. Only the Oba is afforded such luxury.

Report by Adeniji Adebisi

Aba Festival, Igara

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