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Ogiso Arigho came to the throne and met the kingdom in shambles. He was very wealthy before he was crowned Ogiso. He was a great merchant and spent most of his time outside Igodomigodo particularly in Yoruba, Ilorin, Nupe,Igb.irra and lgbomina lands. He was outside the kingdom during the great famine because of his involvement in trade. He had the knowledge of economics and brought his previous experiences in money to Igodomigodo.

He was determined to curb the inflation that had virtually paralyzed the kingdom’s economy. He stands out as the greatest economist of ancient Benin. He introduced a system of double payment by a decree which mandated anybody buying anything and anywhere with money to pay twice or double the price fixed for the item bought. The other half of the money paid went into Ogiso treasury. Anyone who refused to pay the sale tax was punished by paying twice the amount initially charged as sale tax. Also anyone who embezzled the collection there from would pay twice the amount embezzled. The aim was to reduce the amount of money in circulation. His strategy was that if people did not have much money to spend, they would work harder in the farms and produce more food for the kingdom.

When food is, plentiful, its price will fall. There was compliance by the buyers immediately the seller mentioned Arigho’s money. It worked marvelously for no one would dare disobey the order of the king. More so they were bound by oath, since this money was to be kept in the Ogua Edion (ancestral shrine) to which every citizen owed automatic obedience.
Tax CoiIectors in various parts of the kingdom. In the villages all money (cowries) collected by the market traders were deposited in the ancestors shrine (Ogua Edion). No one tampered with the money until the Avbiogbe would come and collect it and banked it in (Aza Igho) treasury.

Ogiso Arigho’s measure worked. The term Igho Arigho came into expression meaning the untouchable money. Many people went into farming to minimize their purchases and avoid sales tax. One social effect of the economic condition that prevailed under the reign of Obioye and Arigho was that the poor became poorer and attached themselves to the rich ‘nobles. This led to the development of voluntary slavery, which was quite different from the slavery of the Atlantic save trade era.

These slaves of Arigho period were treated like family servant in Igodomigodo. These people worked in the farms of the nobles in the villages and could own their own farm alongside their masters. The nobles had time to go and attend palace functions either monthly or weekly. Some nobles who had many slaves could stay in the town of Igodomigodo city (Benin City) for many weeks while the slaves could farm in the village.
The slaves as children could play games, share food with their master’s children. The young slaves were made to do the work their master’s children were supposed to do. As women, they helped the wives and daughters of their masters in the household work. The women could marry their masters and then lived as free house wives. But if one slave married another slave the couple could be allowed to live on their own near their master’s house. They could own their farm but still work in their master‘s farms together

Some villages in Benin today grew up as a result of slaves owned by certain Nobles who settled them in villages to work for them. But these villages were not regard as slave’s villages. Slave could be employed by his master to trade for him. There was no fear that the slave would run away or would cheat his master. Instead the master and the slave might share the profit from the trade.

Some slaves were also made at that time to rear cows, goatsand hens for their masters in the villages Udo, Ughoko, Ugo, Evbohighae, Ogbese, Usen, Uhen Urnoghurnwun Egboko, Iguemokhua Evbokabua, Ogba and Urhiorngbe were such places where cow] (Enila) were reared in Igodomigodo.

As we have read, most of the Ogiso had developed art and craft since Ere the second Ogiso. But from the reign of Arigho, slaves were employed and contributed to the development of art and craft in lgodomigbdo. They became proficient all types of art and craft. They were not member of the guilds but they worked on individual basis. They did some brass work, but were not as perfect as that done in Igun Eronrnwon quarters in Benin City Some brass work were carried out at Udo town. It was encouraged there when Udo was conquered, the art works. Seem to have died. The slaves also worked on metals which they used in the farrns of their own and. their masters,Iron ore was locally available in Igodomigodo. They made cutlasses (opia) hoe (Egue and Aho) axes (Ughanrnwan) and other implements for domestic uses. The people of Ineme or Ineme Nekhua were prominent in iron works.

They were also: good in wood works such as carving doors, windows and posts. They wove fibrous materials and leather works. They wove bgs (Ebo) clothes with cotton (Oru) mats (Ewa) leather boxes (Ekpokin). The type of slaves in Igodomigodo in Arigho’s period, were like servants who although were not paid, were fed and clothed and allowed to live like one of their masters family. There were no real slave markets at that time but because of the hard times and economic situation, some people gave out their children as slaves to Nobles who could cater for them to survive the severe economic situation

As we had seen with ah the measures taken by Ogiso Arigho, the situation improved and food production increased. There was enough money saved in the bank or treasury. He kept ah the doubled untouchable money he collected for a long period. The inflation died down because little money was in circulation pursuing plenty food stuff. There were many slaves in the farms and farming was both for the Nobles and the slaves themselves. The untouchable money filled 100 deeps (Uye Igbe) each containing 200 billion cowries.
When Arigho died, he was buried near his bank and no one was allowed to touch the bank because Arigho’s money was untouchable. Ogiso Arigho was the greatest economics of his time.

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