AGE GROUP STRATA
The age group stratification depends on the decision of the elders and performance of age group rights and obligations. There are four principal age group strata. These are: Evbirhoba-evbo, Eroghae, Ighele and Edion.
Evbirhoba-EvboEvbirhoba-evbo are 6 13 years or more. This age group consists mainly of primary school children. They are regarded as infants who are not strong enough to perform communal duties.
EroghaeEroghae are 14 27 years or more. The group is regarded as semi-adults. They help to keep the village clean. They clear market places, road to stream and important shrines.
IgheleIghele are 28 45 years or more. This group is regarded as the soldiers of the community. They are responsible for the building of houses, construction of new roads, digging of graves for deceased, organize search party for any lost inhabitant, and keep murderer in custody till the arrival of the police and many other related functions.
Edion are 46 year till death. The Edion group is sub-divided into smaller groups. They are :
Edion ne giere (junior elders) or Edion Igbesi.
Eghaki (stall allotters)
Ikhevbo (Day watch elders)
Edion Oghe Ukpo (Elders of the altar)
Edion ne giere or Edion Igbesi (young elders)The promotion to this top hierarchy is subject to vacancy. The initiation to this group includes the search and killing of pig known as Igbesi ceremony. The movement of all other age groups to a higher cadre rests squarely on the initiation of this group by the elders of the altar (Edion Oghe Ukpo). It is pertinent to note that unless an individual performs all the initiation rights, he is not a member of this group no matter his age. All married women are promoted to the different age groups along with their husbands no matter their age. The function of the young elders is to oversee the work of the Ighele and communicate the achievements to the higher elders.
Eghaki.Eghaki are 50 60 years or more (Stalls allotters). The next grade in Edion is Eghaki. This group supervises the market traders, see to the arrangement of foodstuff, settle market disputes and allocate stalls to applicants. The ceremony of killing a dog in the market is done before leaving this stage for another. The dog will not be eaten.
Ikhevbo are 60 70 or more (Day watch elders). This group remains at home during the day to take care of the young ones. Among their functions include handling of emergency cases like convulsion in children, house on fire, accident victims and receiving visitors to the village.
Two ceremonies are involved before leaving this grade to the highest grade of the elders. The first ceremony involves the killing of a goat which is eaten by all the elders. The second ceremony which initiates them to Edion Oghe Ukpo (elders of the altar) involves the killing of another goat which is only eaten by the Edion Oghe Ukpo. This ceremony is performed on the altar of the ancestral elders. Non-initiates who partake in this food do so at their own risk. It is like taking Holy Communion in some Churches when you have not been confirmed. The remnant of this food is either thrown away or buried.