By Rotimi Ojomoyela – Ado- Ekiti
Ekiti Council of Elders has appealed to the youth of the state to refrain from killing and brigandage over the government’s directive to curb the spread of COVID-19 pandemic in the state.
This is coming following the death of two persons in Ire-Ekiti, Oye Local Government Area, over the ban imposed on the celebration of Ogun Onire Festival in the Ancient town.
The victims were allegedly killed during a violent crisis that erupted in the town, on Sunday, sequel to attempt by Onire, Oba Victor Bobade, to enforce the government’s directive by ordering adherents to halt the most coveted Ogun festival in Ekiti.
During the bloody protest, a car parked within the premises of Oba Bobade’s palace was burnt down by some youths and Ogun worshippers, who trooped to the streets over the ban they considered as vexatious and uncustomary.
Governor Kayode Fayemi had a couple of weeks back suspended celebration of traditional festivals pending the time the COVID-19 pandemic will subside.
Responding to the killing, which the Ekiti elders described as unwarranted, in a statement signed by its President, Prof Joseph Oluwasanmi and Secretary, Niyi Ajibulu, on Saturday, the council appealed to the youth to show understanding over the ban.
“Ekiti Council is shocked at the violence at Ire Ekiti over the celebration of Ogun festival. It regrets the loss of lives and destruction of property and we also sympathise with Oba Victor Bobade and the entire community.
“Ire Ekiti town is known all over the world for peaceful Ogun celebration annually; a ceremony that is fast becoming a global event and which stakeholders are striving to turn into a big tourist attraction.
“Ogun is the god of iron, innovation, and industry that should ordinarily lead to development and not skirmish under any guise whatsoever.
“The council urges the government and our leaders to always show understanding of our youth exuberances. The youth must understand that it is government and traditional institution’s responsibilities to prevent communicable diseases from assuming endemic proportions.
“Council stresses on the need to always engage the youth in discussions as we are pushing ahead to ensure that they are properly integrated into profitable ventures, for the devil they say finds works for the isle hands”.
The council condoled with the victims’ families and charged the security agencies and communities to erect structures that would guarantee peaceful coexistence among Ekiti residents.