In ancient igbo culture, particularly among the people of Nsukka in Enugu state Nigeria, and before the introduction of christianity and western culture, the Omabe served as the enforcers of law.
Asides participating fully in spiritual activities attached to various festivals they also served other enforcement purposes such as; taking a lady back to the home of her husband for those who ran away for whatever reason. It was an abomination for a woman to abscond from the home of her spouse. They formed an intricate part of settling land disputes because in their presence only the truth is said. Also, the Omabe was used to pass information that an ordinary person wouldn’t muster the courage to speak, that is, they say the difficult things such as truths, who deserves what etc.
As law, no one had the right to hit an Omabe. It was a taboo to do so which came with many grave consequences like banishment. They served as agents of positive social control and their presence made even the bravest of men quiet. Westernization and Christianity reduced the relevance of the Omabe significantly and it is pertinent that we leverage technology and digitization to reintroduce an endangered and beautiful culture of the Igbo people of Nsukka.