CAN kicks as traditional worshippers declare five-hour curfew in Osun

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The leadership of the Christian Association of Nigeria in Ile-Ife, Osun State, has described the five-hour curfew declared by the adherents of Obatala deity, between 2pm and 7pm on Wednesday as illegal.

The curfew was said to have been declared to enable Oro procession that would move through selected areas in Ile-Ife, to have free passage.

A statement signed by Oba Isoro O. Dada, the Obalesu Obatala Agbaiye, advised residents of the listed areas, where the Oro 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 the 27th Wednesday, 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 these 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.

On Thursday, March 30, 2023, an Imam, Abdullateef Adediran, and five worshippers who had gathered for 4 pm 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 is located.

Reacting to the latest curfew declared by the Obatala adherents in a statement obtained in Osogbo, the Ile-Ife CAN chairman, Rev Canon Sam Onitiju, said, “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 lle-Ife on Wednesday, March 27, 2024 between 2pm and 7pm.

“We want to bring to the notice of Christians and dwellers in Ile-ife what transpired at a peace meeting His Imperial Majesty, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi, had with religion leaders and Osun State Commissioner of Police on May 15, 2023 held in his palace.

“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 religion 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 the Osun State Commissioner of Police to ensure that the peace in the town was not disrupted, insisting that one should not be molested under the disguise of religious rites by the traditionalists.

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