Traditionalists’ procession paralyses business activities in Osun

Business activities were paralysed in some areas in Ile-Ife, Osun State, as Obatala adherents took Oro procession to streets within the metropolis.

The traditionalists had announced a five-hour curfew beginning from 2pm to 7pm on Wednesday in some areas in Ife town to enable the smooth passage of the Oro procession.

The leader of the Obatala adherents, Oba Isoro O. Dada, in a statement, advised residents of the areas where the procession would pass through to respect the curfew and stay indoors for the benefit of Ile-Ife.

Dada’s statement titled, ‘Special Announcement from the House of Obatala to all Muslims and Dwellers in Ile-Ife,’ partly read, “This is a special announcement for all dwellers of Ile-Ife, Oro Owa-Ilare festival that will commence on Wednesday 27, 2024.

“The Oro will begin exactly at 2pm and will end at 7pm. We hereby announce that every dweller of Ile-Ife to stay indoors around the following areas: Igbotapa, Ajamopo, Gbodo, Ita Olopo, Oja-Ife, Ita Oranfe, Enuwa Square, Ooni Ilare, Sabo, Road 7 and Olumogbe street. It will be very good if every dweller in these areas listed above adheres to this instruction for the benefit of Ile-Ife.”

Muslims and Oro adherents in Ile-Ife have endured a frosty relationship in the past which often degenerated into violence.

For instance, on Thursday, March 30, 2023, an Imam, Abdullateef Adediran, and five worshippers who had gathered for 4pm prayers at Ilare Mosque in Ile-Ife, were injured during violent clashes involving them and some Oro adherents, who were passing through the neighbourhood where the mosque was located.

Reacting to the development on Wednesday in a statement obtained in Osogbo, the Ile-Ife CAN chairman, Rev Canon Sam Onitiju described the restriction of movement as illegal and warned that no one should be molested under the guise of traditional rites.

The statement read, “As Christian Association of Nigeria, Ile-Ife, our attention has been drawn to a press release by Obalesu Dada on behalf of Obatala Traditional Worshippers on illegal movement restriction and stay indoors of people in some areas in Ile-Ife on Wednesday 27th March 2024 between 2pm and 7pm.

“We want to bring to the notice of Christians and dwellers in Ile-Ife that His Imperial Majesty, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi, during the peace meeting with religion leaders and Osun State Commissioner of Police on May 15, 2023, held in his palace, with the Muslims led by Chief Imam Alhaji Abdul Semiy Abdul Hammed, the Christians led by CAN Chairman Rev, Canon Dr Sam Leye Onitiju and traditionalists, led by Obalesu Dada himself, Kabiyesi emphasised on the need for religious tolerance and also warned against the restriction of movement of people in broad daylight.

“In the light of the above, we encourage all Christians to observe their Holy Week services in churches across Ifeland without fear of molestation and attack from any individual and/or group of people.”

He called on the Inspector General of Police and Osun State Commissioner of Police to ensure that peace in the town was not disrupted, insisting that no one should be molested under the guise of religious rites by the traditionalists.

Checks by our correspondent, however, revealed that residents of the areas earlier designated for Oro procession stayed indoors while the curfew lasted.

Also, in Ilare, police operatives and non-conventional security operatives were deployed to the streets to prevent clashes between the traditionalists and Muslims in the area.

It was also learnt that public and private schools in the areas shut down operations before 2pm, while shop owners also closed down early.

Motor parks and streets were also deserted during the curfew as residents stayed indoors.

A resident of Ilare, who wanted to be identified simply as Tadese, said there was tension in the area while the Oro procession was passing through the area.

“Some Muslims were in the mosque here in Ilare where there were clashes last year. They stayed on the veranda of their mosque and were praying while the Oro procession was passing through the area. But police and vigilante men were deployed to the area in large numbers. So, there was no crisis.

“But schools in all the areas where curfew was imposed closed early. Motor parks were deserted, and business activities were paralysed for the period while the Oro procession was moving through the town,” he said.


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