MOTTO: DIALOGUE, NOT VIOLENCE

26th March, 2024

PRESS RELEASE:

SOS TO IG, OSUN CP: STOP ILLEGAL CURFEW DECLARED BY ORO WORSHIPPERS IN ILE-IFE – MURIC

 

Oro worshippers declared a five-hour curfew in Ile-Ife yesterday, Monday 25th March, 2024 to take effect tomorrow, Wednesday, 27th March, 2024 from 2 pm to 7 pm.

 

However, an Islamic human rights organization, the Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) has described the curfew as illegal, illegitimate, unlawful and unconstitutional. The human rights organization therefore sent an SOS to both the IG of Police, the Commissioner of Police, Osun State and the Director of the Department of State Services (DSS) in the state to disallow the curfew and uphold the rule of law.

 

This was contained in a statement issued on Tuesday, 26th March, 2024 by the Executive Director of the Islamic advocacy group, Professor Ishaq Akintola.

 

The full statement reads:

 

“Oro worshippers of the Traditional African Religion (ATR) declared a five-hour curfew in Ile Ife yesterday, Monday 25th March, 2024. The curfew will take effect tomorrow Wednesday, 27th March, 2024 from 2 pm to 7 pm.

 

“In a statement circulated on social media in Ile Ife by O.O Dada, the Oba Isoro and Arole Obatala, Obalesu Obatala Agbaiye, the Oro worshippers announced the commencement of the Oro Owa Ilare festival. They warned all ‘dwellers of Ile-Ife to stay indoors’ in more than half of the ancient city and cradle of Yorubaland including Igbotapa, Ajamopo, Gbodo, Ita olopo, Oja-Ife, etc.

 

“This curfew is illegal, illegitimate, unlawful and unconstitutional particularly because it was declared by those who have no authority to do so. Leaders of Oron worshippers have no locus standi as official authorities or an arm of government. The curfew announcement is therefore ultra vires, null and void. 

 

“Only the state governor and the chairman of the local government have the power to impose a curfew after a negative security report. The curfew imposed by Oro worshippers in Ile-Ife is therefore illegal.

 

“We are therefore sending this staterment as an SOS to both the Inspector General of Police, the Commissioner of Police, Osun State and the Director of the Department of State Services (DSS) in the state to disallow the curfew and uphold the rule of law.

 

“Besides, no religious group has the right to stop other religious groups and citizens of this country from moving around freely or from using their places of worship.

 

“The notice issued by the Oro worshippers of Ile-Ife is therefore arbitrary, irrational and provocative. It contravenes Chapter 4 Section 41 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended 2011) which stipulates that every Nigerian has the right to move freely in any part of the country or any city. 

 

“The curfew notice also stands in contradistinction to Section 38 (i) & (ii) which affirms freedom of worship. It says, ‘every person shall be entitled to freedom of thought, conscience and religion, including freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom (either alone or in community with others, and in public or in private) to manifest and propagate his religion or belief in worship, teaching, practice and observance’. This curfew, if allowed to take place, will obstruct Muslims in Ile-Ife from worshipping and partaking in Ramadan activities.

 

“The notice issued yesterday by the Oro worshippers of Ile-Ife was essentially directed at Muslims in particular as indicated in its title which reads, ‘Special Announcement From the House of Obatala to All Muslims and Dwellers in Ile-Ife’.

 

“This is aggravated confrontation. It smirks of a deliberate attempt to provoke Muslims in the city to a confrontation. This is apart from placing an illegal curfew during the sacred month of Ramadan which the whole world knows is a special period of high level spiritual activities among Muslims. It is clear that by attempting to ban movement during Ramadan, Oro worshippers in Ile-Ife simply wish to stop Muslims from worshipping. It is a premeditated hostile act.

 

“Apart from religious consideration, this daytime imposition of curfew from 2 pm to 7 pm constitutes a clog in the wheel of socio-economic progress for Ile-Ife and a threat to educational advancement. For example, school children and their male and female teachers are expected to return home around 2 pm. The same goes for civil servants, judiciary staff, etc. It is an invitation to chaos.

 

“This announcement by Oro worshippers has created terror in the hearts of all. Without mincing words, it is domestic terrorism. It is impunity of the highest order. It is also a deliberate challenge to the security agencies. The traditional worshippers have been enmeshed in lawlessness, recklessness and acts of violence all over Yorubaland in the past and the police have not stopped them. Will the police and DSS abdicate their responsibilities this time around? 

 

“A good example of past tramadolised excesses of traditional worshippers is the attack launched by Oro worshippers last year on Muslims who were praying inside Idi Omo Mosque, Ilare, Ile-Ife on Thursday, 30th March, 2023. Four Muslims sustained serious injuries in that attack (https://pmnewsnigeria.com/2023/04/01/how-oro-worshippers-attacked-muslims-inside-mosque-in-ile-ife/).

 

“Also, one Muslim was killed while 9 other Muslims were injured in Osogbo when masquerade worshippers attacked Muslims holding a programme in front of their mosque situated at Oluode Aranyin compound, Osogbo on 28th June, 2021  (https://www-vanguardngr-com.cdn.ampproject.org/v/s/www.vanguardngr.com/2021/06/1-killed-as-masquerade-group-clashes-with-worshipers-in-osun/amp/).

 

“Again, five Muslims were hospitalized after a vicious attack by masquerades who invaded their mosque at Ikun Ekiti in Moba Local Government of Ekiti State on Sunday, 39th May, 2017 (https://dailytrust.com/masquerades-attack-muslims-in-ekiti-destroy-mosque-properties/). The list of such attacks is endless.

 

” We are sending an SOS to the Inspector General of Police, the Osun State Commissioner of Police and the Director of DSS in the state. The security agencies owe it a duty to disallow the curfew announced by Oro worshippers against tomorrow in Ile-Ife. The rule of law must be upheld.

 

“As the traditional ruler and father of all in Ile-Ife, we appeal to the Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi, Ojaja II, to call the Oro worshippers to order. It is part of the law of nature that groups pushed to the wall have the tendency to push back their oppressor. 

 

“Just like the rest of the country, Ile-Ife needs peace to develop and to take its rightful place as the cradle of Yorubaland. This may remain a dream where a group is allowed to impose acrobatic, gymnastic and articulated impunity on other sections of the city. Muslims of Ile-Ife remain oppressed until illegal curfews are banned.”

 

#IGofPolice

#CPOsun

#SOSStopOroIllegalCurfewIleIfe

 

Professor Ishaq Akintola,

Executive Director,

Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC).

 

 

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