Nigerian Women In History

A Brief History Of Emotan – The Market Woman Who Saved a Benin King From Being Murdered

   

Her statue which was built in May 20th, 1954, stands at the Ore Oghene Road, Opposite the Oba Market, Benin City, Edo state, and it testifies of her life and deeds while alive.

As a market woman, Emotan sold foodstuffs in the Oba market during the reign of Oba Ewuare, the 12th Oba of Benin, around 1440AD.

Described as a great king, a respected leader and warrior, Ewuare was said to have made many enemies including his younger brother, Oba Uwaifiokun, who ursurped him from the throne and then conspired with his chiefs to kill him.

Emotan got wind of the conspiracy and revealed it to Oba Ewuare. She also protected him by hiding him in her hut. She was said to have shown immense kindness to Oba Ewuare when he was fighting to regain his throne back.

So, when When Ewuare regained his throne, Emotan became a favoured citizen. When she died, her good deeds were not forgotten.

To compensate her kindness, Oba Ewuare ordered that her body be buried at the Oba market, in the same spot where she used to trade and a tree was planted on the grave site. She was also to be worshipped as the mother of love and kindness.

Emotan was also credited to have founded the first informal daycare centre in Benin as her hut was a popular make-shift nursery for the children of families patronizing the market.

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