September 15, 2019

Religious crisis: Islamic body debunks seeking court injunction to stop Oro celebration in Iseyin

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By Adeola Badru

THE Nigeria Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA), Iseyin chapter, has debunked, in its entirety, in what is termed as a fallacious publication made by a group, ‘Ebedi Frontliners Iseyin,’ which called the attention of Governor Seyi Makinde to ‘a brewing religious crisis’ in Iseyin as a result of an alleged summon filed by the Islamic group, seeking an injunction from the court to stop the annual celebration of Oro festival which had been slated for September 22, 2019 in the town.

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Recalled that the Ebedi Frontliners Iseyin, through its Publicity Director, Alhaji Segun Fasasi, had last week, sent a letter to the governor, which copies were made available to journalists, making reference to a court summon allegedly filed by the Islamic body which Aseyin of Iseyin, Oba Ganiy Adekunle, the traditional council of Iseyin Local Government and the leader of Oro sect in Iseyin were respondents.

In the summon, the Islamic group was said to have approached the court, seeking an injunction to stop the celebration of Oro festival, which is an annual celebration for Oro adherents.

According to a statement on Sunday by the Public Relations Officer (PRO) of NSCIA, Mallam Maruf Mustapha, on the directive of Alhaji Raji Gbadegesin Coker and Mr Olawoyin Fatahi, Chairman and Secretary respectively, there was no summon filed by any Islamic group in Ibadan last week to stop Oro celebration nor there any attacker or intolerant religious zealots in Iseyin besides the Oro ritual worshippers.

The Islamic body posited that the council would not have made any statement on the issue but for Iseyin Muslims who are concerned to uphold the truth always and put the records straight timely.

Mallam Mustapha recalled that: “On 18/9/2018 which was correspondent to the 17th day of Oro (etadinlogun) in Iseyin in 2018, the Oro masquerade and its followers attacked some people in Iseyin and massacred them brutally for reasons best known to the Oro ritualists. The attacks were reported the same day to the Police and notified the governor on a letter dated 12th October 2018 by the Chambers of A. A. Olowonjaye Esq. A few of the attackers were arrested but later released without arraignment.”

“The major victims who were on admission at UCH for months approached the Court on July 2019 for redress. While the suits had been adjourned to September 10, 2019, for definite hearing, the recalcitrant Oro ritualists, on 9/9/19 contemptuously fixed another Oro ritual celebration billed to hold for 17 days from September 22 to October 8, 2019, irrespective of the pending litigation.”

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“The council asserted with evidence that Oro ritualists have been attacking none adherents of Oro in Iseyin since inception of its idol, which was initiated from Ida-Omi town by Prince Ebedi around 1930 (after 10 Aseyins had ruled the ancient town) bombarding Churches and Mosques and attacking faithful including Madam Maria Omobola Jesu on Sunday 16/9/1973, Military families in 1976, Deeper Life Bible Church 40 members in 1990, Eng. Bashir Azeez and Mutohir Abdur-Rasheed in 2006 and, of course, some churches invasion of 1967 inter alia.”

“Alhaj Raji Gbadegesin Coker, Mr Olawoyin Fatahi and Mallam Maruf Mustapha therefore, on behalf of NSCIA and all the peace-loving good people of Iseyin, strongly appeal to the Governor not to heed the call of EFI. Any intervention in pending litigation is a contempt of court and a serious disregard to the judiciary. How much more, the Oro cultists have usually been launching their attacks in the presence of security agents provided for them to enforce law and order, thereby incriminating the executives.”

“We implore His Excellency not to provide them with any security agent during this celebration fixed disdainfully to the Court of Law but direct them to respect the Judiciary and await the final judicial and judicious determination of the ongoing suit. We equally advise the Governor to call for files and relevant policy documents (from Ministry of Local Government and Chieftaincy Matters) on series of efforts of previous administrations since 1967 to broker peace and caution the recalcitrant Oro adherents. The Governor may also study the Oro activities in Ipokia, Ogun State and what landed the recalcitrant Oro ritualists there in prison recently.”

“We do not seek extinction of any religion but we posit that any worshipping antithetical to the socio-economic development of people is repugnant, abominable and unconstitutional,” the statement added.