A 344-year-old tortoise, popularly known as Alagba in the palace of the Soun of Ogbomoso, Oyo State, has passed on.
The scared tortoise, arguably the oldest in Africa, was sick for a few days before her demise yesterday.
The tortoise was brought to the palace by the third Soun of Ogbomoso, Oba Ikumoyede Ajao, in the 17th Century.
The tortoise became a popular breed upon the ascension to the throne of the current Soun of Ogbomosoland, Oba Oladunni Oyewumi. The monarch provided good shelter and health support for the tortoise.
Private secretary to Oba Oyewumi, Toyin Ajamu, said Alagba, which attracted people from all walks of life from Nigeria and abroad, “will be greatly missed not only by the palace, but everyone who came in contact with her.”
“Alagba had lived in the palace for centuries. The tortoise played host to many monarchs in Ogbomoso in the past.
“Alagba became popular because Oba Oyewumi used his personal resources to cater for her. The tortoise had two staff members of the palace dedicated to her.
“They provided food, health support and other logistics, to make sure she got the best treatment. Oftentimes, Kabiyesi shared great moments with Alagba.
“On a daily basis, Alagba had tourists visiting her from different parts of the world. The palace household, Ogbomoso community and stakeholders in the tourism sector are mourning Alagba’s passage,” he said.
The palace secretary explained that plans were underway to preserve Alagba’s body for historical records.