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Islamic leaders in Ipokia local government, Ogun State have warned of a brewing religious crisis with leaders of Oro adherents in the area.
This is coming as the Islamic leaders threatened a showdown with leaders of Oro adherents over planned imposition of daytime curfew .
The traditionalists were alleged to have imposed a curfew on the people in the area council as part measures to mark this year’s Oro/Orisa Oba festival in Ipokia .
The head of the Islamic leaders, Al-Imam Abdulwaliy who is also the Chief Iman of the area, said the curfew declared to allow them observe the ritual daytime, contravenes a court judgment and peace pact, banning such practice during the festival.
Abdulwaliy, popularly known as Omoakin, said the curfew if not reversed could plunge the community and the state into religious crisis.
The Clergyman is the Chief Imam of Umar bin Khatab Mosque, Odan-Aje, behind General Hospital, Idi-Iroko, which was invaded during prayer hours by the Oro adherents in 2019.
Recall that some traditionalists in August, 2019 had stormed the mosque and dispersed Muslim faithful, observing afternoon prayers, for allegedly acting contrary to their warnings while they observed their ritual.
The traditionalists reportedly shattered the doors and the windows of the mosque.
Stakeholders in the area had met and entered into peace agreement to further stop such occurrences.
Speaking on the development, Abdulwaliy said the Oro adherents had already announced plans to hold this year’s festival daytime, beginning from Saturday.
He said the action contradicts court judgment and recent peace pact signed by the stakeholders in the area.
A high court ruling in Ipokia, Ilaro and a peace treaty amongst religious stakeholders in the area had condemned daytime celebration of the festival.
Abdulwaliy expressed concern that the Oro adherents could not continue to hold residents “hostage” by denying them their right under the guise of yearly ritual.
“It remains surprising that Oro /Orisa Oba members in Ipokia Local Government continue to pay deaf ear to different Peace Agreements reached between Muslims/Christians and traditional adherents in Ipokia.
“Meanwhile, 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 Aug ,2017); High Court of Justice , Ipokia Judicial Division (30th January,2018), peace agreements reached among religious stakeholders in Ipokia Local Government (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 celebration of Oro/Orisa Oba festival during daytime. However, some adherents of Oro/Orisa Oba in Ipokia are going against different court judgments and reconciliation/peace Agreements reached that no curfew should be declared under the guise of Oro/Orisa Oba celebration during day time.”
While calling on the state government, security agencies and other stakeholders to call the adherents to order to allow peace to reign in the state, the Imam said the Oro adherents should restrict their festival to midnight, saying “no religion should deny people their right to movement and practice of their religion.”
In his reaction, the Caretaker Chairman of the council, Kabiru Abolurin said a peace meeting had been called to address the matter on Thursday at the LG Secretariat, Ipokia.
He confirmed that there are existing court judgments and peace pacts banning daytime rituals of Oro/Orisa oba in the council.
Abolurin said security agencies have been alerted to ensure the adherents abide by the judgment and peace pacts to guarantee peace and tranquility in the state.