Nigeria: “Traditionalist Procession Disrupts Business in Ile-Ife as Oro Worshippers Implement Curfew”

Nigeria: “Traditionalist Procession Disrupts Business in Ile-Ife as Oro Worshippers Implement Curfew”

By Zuleihat Owuiye, Mamos Nigeria

In certain areas of Ile-Ife, Osun State, business activities came to a halt as adherents of the Obatala deity took to the streets for an Oro procession, disrupting normal operations. The traditionalists had announced a five-hour curfew from 2pm to 7pm to facilitate the smooth conduct of the procession through specific routes within the metropolis.

In a statement issued by the leader of the Obatala adherents, Oba Isoro O. Dada, residents in the affected areas were urged to observe the curfew and remain indoors during the designated period for the benefit of Ile-Ife.

This announcement, titled ‘Special Announcement from the House of Obatala to all Muslims and Dwellers in Ile-Ife,’ emphasized the commencement of the Oro Owa-Ilare festival and outlined the restricted areas where residents were expected to stay indoors during the procession.

Tensions between Muslims and Oro adherents in Ile-Ife have historically strained relations and occasionally led to violent clashes. For example, violent confrontations occurred on March 30, 2023, when an Imam and several worshippers were injured during clashes with Oro adherents.

Responding to the situation, the Ile-Ife Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) chairman, Rev Canon Sam Onitiju, denounced the enforced movement restrictions as illegal. He emphasized the importance of religious tolerance and urged Christians to attend Holy Week services without fear of intimidation.

Despite the announcement of the curfew, checks revealed compliance among residents in the designated areas, with schools and businesses closing early in anticipation of the procession. Heightened security measures were observed in Ilare, with police and non-conventional security operatives deployed to prevent potential clashes between traditionalists and Muslims.

While tensions were palpable during the Oro procession, the concerted efforts of security personnel helped maintain peace and prevent any significant disruptions to public order.

Bola Bamigbola contributed to this report.

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