The African Princess who was buried alive to save her people.
We all talk about the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross to save mankind, here is a story of an African Princess who choose to be buried alive as a sacrifice to save her kingdom.
The legend of Princess Inikpi is morbid but empowering. She is remembered among the Igala people as a very beautiful and intelligent princess, whose selfless commitment and sacrifice helped rescue and keep
the survival of the Igala nation.
Princess Inikpi was the only beloved daughter of Ayegbu Oma Idoko , the then
Atta of Igala kingdom. The Igala people
call her Inikpi oma’fedo baba, meaning
“Inikpi, the father’s beloved.”
A brooding war between Benin and the
Igala people caused the land to become
unsafe — farmlands being taken over by
enemies and the streams poisoned.
The Igalas feared imminent death from
starvation and lack of water. When the
Atta consulted the oracle, it proclaimed
that to ensure safety of the kingdom and
victory in the war, the king had to bury
his most beloved child alive — the only
daughter of the king, Princess Inikpi.
Surely, the king was distraught and
heartbroken. For days, he didn’t eat or
drink and he wished for an alternative
solution. The princess noticed how downcast her
father was and asked to know the
reason behind his sadness. Instead of
opening up, he held off telling her the
reason for seven days, but on the
eighth, he relented and told her the
words of the Oracle.
The princess, who loved her father and
her people as much as they loved her,
could not bear the thought of holding off
on the solution that would save Igala
land. Therefore, she agreed to be sacrificed
and set off voluntarily to the bank of River Niger at Idah (some say market
square), where she was buried along with 9 slaves who would help her in the journey to the afterlife. Legend has it that when the enemies
approached Igala Kingdom, what they saw was a town in flames and so they turned back with the assumption that the town Idah was already under attack as they saw a maiden wearing white, holding a sword and riding on a white horse.
However, it was the influence of the
For this, the Igala people are forever
deeply grateful to Princess Inikpi for her
sacrifice and act of heroism. A statue of
the princess stands at “Ega” in Idah,
which is considered the Igala traditional headquarters and many Igala people
bear the name “Inikpi” to honour her.
Several plays have also been produced
to celebrate her story.