Forbidden: Things you should not do while visiting the Oba’s palace in Benin…

The Royal Palace of the Oba of Benin is a sacred site therefore you should not do any of these while visiting the Obas palace.

The Royal Palace of the Oba of Benin is the most prestigious sites in Benin and one of the top things to see when in Benin City, Edo state. It is one of the most famous Royal Houses in the whole of Africa. It is The palace, built by Oba Ewedo (1255AD – 1280AD), is situated at the heart of ancient City of Benin. It was rebuilt by Oba Eweka II (1914 – 1932) after the 1897 war during which it was destroyed by the British. The palace was declared a UNESCO Listed Heritage Site in 1999.

It is seen as a sacred site so it has its dos and don’ts — including no wearing of black, no whistling, no pointing at the Oba or his chiefs, etc.

In case you want to join the long list of visitors, Amuwo Parrot News (APN) 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.

8. Wear cap in the presence of the #ObaofBenin

9. Appear before the #ObaofBenin empty handed. You have to carry some kolanuts and spirit wine.

Oba gha to kpere……… iseeeeeeeeeeee

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *