The Phenomenon of Death and Its Moral Implications Among the Esan of Edo State, Nigeria

Felix Ayemere Airoboman, Joseph Inegbenebho Osagie


This study is an ontological inquiry into the phenomenon of death in Esan culture before the advent of imported religions and other Western incursions. It does not busy itself with life after death per se but on death itself. It examined how the phenomenon of death informs the Esan worldview and influences the concrete behaviour of the Esan people. It discussed the reasons why Esan people feared dead, the deceased, and why they avoid seeing the dead. It also extended its discussion to mourn generally, mourning of a deceased spouse, burying the dead and the concrete steps people take in Esan to impede or prosper the journey of the deceased to after life and his concrete life in the hereafter. It then discussed the people’s attitude toward death and the dead. It argues further that the occurrences of death, the agony of dying and the belief in life after death have some moral implications which influence the moral disposition of the Esan people toward their neighbor, the sick, the dying and even the deceased in solidarity. Not only this. It also makes them to live good lives to avoid the consequences of bad living either here or in the hereafter. While focusing on Esan per se, this inquiry attempts some comparisons with some other cultures.


Death; Causality; Ontology; Hereafter; Fear of death; Mourning; Moral implication

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