Vulture significance in Ogoni Culture
AbstractThis study explained the spiritual and social significance of vulture in Ogoni culture. It also explained how the use of vulture to refer to human beings and its characteristics became sources of social relations and conflicts in Ogoni culture. It adopted both the anthropological and sociological approaches. Findings from the study revealed that vulture is used as a symbol of ancestors in Ogoni traditional religion and the people tolerate the bird. It is also used as social slang to signify group of people circling around something as a vulture would do. During the movement for the survival of Ogoni people (MOSOP), some pro-government chiefs and elites who form committees to aggressively prevent non-members from joining or following them to enjoy government patronage were branded vultures by some MOSOP members, describing them as scavengers that survive on others as prey. This became a source of social conflict. The mere identification of pro-government Ogoni people as vulture, made them vulnerable and threatened in Ogoniland hence, they sought for government protection which sent troops that collided with Mosop activists. This study recommended among others that references to vulture in Ogoni culture should be done with particular consideration of its spiritual and social significance to avoid social conflict. The ways to peace and harmonious living in Ogoni land are tolerance, avoidance of misinterpretation and inappropriate use of the term vulture to literary refer to human Being in both spiritual and social matters.
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