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Meet Alagba, a giant 330-year-old male land turtle, who is probably the oldest living being in Ogbomosoland and even in the world!
This fact, however, complicates the process of determination the actual age of a local celebrity, popularly called “the elderly one”.
According to Gossip Mill Nigeria sources, Alagba enjoys his life at the palace of Ogbomoso King in Oyo state.
Locals say that Alagba was brought to the palace about three centuries ago by Soun Ikumoyede Ajao, the third Soun of Ogbomoso. Soun Ikumoyede Ajao was reportedly born in the late 16th century and reigned since 1770 to 1791.
Alagba is said to be guarded by the Soun of Ogbomoso himself, and three caretakers: Mr Adeniyi Alagbe, Mr Abdulahi Bello and Baba Iyabo. They say the animal, whose weight is over 100kg, eats three times a day and its meals are prepared along with people’s food in the palace. “He usually eats food of three to four people whenever it is eating and finishes one and half bucket of water which he takes once in every three months, “ Mr Bello said.
Mr Alagbe added: “No matter how heavy a person is, Alagba will carry him or her on its back and be moving about, but the incumbent Oba, who cares so much about the well-being of Alagba, stopped people from climbing on its back as the animal got older.”
In an interview with Daily Trust, Suleiman Abdullahi, Alagba’s photographer, said the creature used to be caged and chained for its protection from thieves. Unfortunately, captivity affected its legs and perforated its shell.
“The animal has attracted lots of tourists from all over the world and majority of them even wished to take the tortoise away, if they were permitted,” he said.
Meanwhile, Nigerians in Osogbo are still waiting for representatives of Guinness Book Of Records to come and confirm Alagba’s age.
At the moment the a Seychelles giant tortoise named Jonathan, whose age is about 184 years, is believed to be the oldest known living reptile on earth.
Jonathan lives on the island of Saint Helena, a British Overseas Territory in the South Atlantic Ocean.