By Dayo Johnson, Akure
The Akure Council of Chiefs, in Ondo state have asked the security agencies in the state, to arrest and treat as criminals youths who take undue advantage of the observance of traditional festivals celebrated in the town to perpetrate crime.
Recall that the state government last week placed a ban on the closure of markets in the state during festivals following reports of looting by some youths.
A statement by the council of Chiefs, known as ” lwarefa Mefa” led by the Olisa of Akure Kingdom, Senior High Chief Olufemi Olubodun, said that “we will not tolerate the irresponsible acts of some unscrupulous elements who might want to take undue advantage of the festival to perpetrate crime.
“We are aware of the activities of marauding gangs of youths whose activities might have tainted our sacred traditions, we urge the security agents to treat them as criminals and hoodlums which is the class they belong.
“The incident where a woman was robbed at her Obaile residence was a condemnable case of daylight robbery as such incident does not represent the true character of an Akure man nor its traditions.
“Our revered Deji could not have given instructions to anybody to act in Oba Ile as being rumored,
Oba Ile herself being the custodian of this practice.
“We wish to state without any iota of contradictions that all festivals of Akure Land will be observed as practiced devoid of any form of confrontation or infraction of the law and any individual’s right.
They urged the government “to continue to rid the society of criminality and the Akure Community will continue to support the government in this regard.
” We know fully well that no responsible Government will want to toy with security of the lives and properties of her people considering the prevailing security challenges across the Country.
They sounded “a note of warning to all disgruntled elements who might want to hide under the celebration of our festivals to cause mayhem to desist forthwith as the long arm of the law will catch up with them and dealt with decisively.
“We appeal to all Akure indigenes and residents to remain calm, law abiding and avoid taking laws into their hands as the Akure Community will continue to dialogue with the government on all grey areas.
According to them “We strongly believe that the government did not ban our festival and will not do such considering the fact that it is an age-long tradition and cultural practices of the people of Akure Kingdom. Of equal note is that Ahaeregbe/ Onisibi Festival are jointly celebrated in Oba Ile as well as Akure.
They, however, assured “the good people of Akure Kingdom who had shown their opposition to such move and pronouncement that there is no cause for alarm over this recent development as our traditions and right will not in any way be infringed upon.
“We wish to state emphatically that we will continue to dialogue with the government so as to fashion out best ways that would further entrench and strengthen our cultural practice and traditions so as to make it more attractive and in tune with best global practices.
Other members of the council that signed the statement include, Senior High Chief (Arch.) Olufemi Bello, Odopetu of Akure
Senior High Chief Segun Adedipe, Elemo of Akure , senior High Chief Anthony Falowo, Aro of Akure , senior High Chief Ayo Oluyide, Ojomu of Akure and senior High Chief Sola Adegbonmire, Asae of Akure.