Islamic leaders, traditionalists may clash over Oro curfew

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There is palpable fear in the Ipokia Local Government Area of Ogun State as Islamic leaders in the community have threatened a showdown with leaders of the Oro adherents over imposition of a curfew.

The traditionalists were alleged to have imposed a curfew on the people in the area as part of activities marking this year’s Oro-Orisa Oba Festival in Ipokia.

The Chief Imam of the area, Al-Imam Abdulwaliy, said the curfew contravened a court judgement and a peace pact banning such practice during the festival.

Abdulwaliy is the Chief Imam of Umar bin Khatab Mosque, Odan-Aje, behind General Hospital, Idi-Iroko.

The traditionalists in August 2019 stormed the mosque and dispersed Muslim faithful observing afternoon prayers for allegedly acting contrary to their warnings while they observed their ritual.

The traditionalists also allegedly shattered the doors and windows of the mosque.

Stakeholders in the area later met and entered into an agreement to forestall a recurrence of the incident.

Abdulwaliy, popularly known as Omoakin, said the curfew, if not reversed, could plunge the community and the state into a religious crisis.

He noted that the Oro adherents had already announced plans to hold this year’s festival in the daytime, beginning from Saturday.

 He said, “It remains surprising that Oro-Orisa Oba members in Ipokia continue to pay deaf ears to different peace agreements reached between Muslims/Christians and traditional adherents in Ipokia.

“Meanwhile, a restriction order has been placed on the celebration of Oro-Orisa Oba Festival during daytime, restricting the celebration to hold between 12am and 4am.

“The judgment of the High Court of Justice, Ilaro Judicial Division (15th August 2017); High Court of Justice , Ipokia Judicial Division (30th January, 2018), peace agreements reached among religious stakeholders in Ipokia Local Government Area (August 2019 and February 2020), all condemned daytime celebration of Oro-Orisa Oba Festival.

“For peace to reign in our society, all the above stand firmly against the celebration of Oro-Orisa Oba Festival during daytime.”

Reacting to the development, the Caretaker Chairman of the council, Kabiru Abolurin, said a peace meeting had been called to address the matter on Thursday at the local government secretariat, Ipokia.

He said security agencies had also been alerted to ensure peace in the state.

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