Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi, Ojaja II, has called for peace and orderliness in the ancient city of Ile-Ife and its environs. Ooni, who spoke through his Second-in-Command, Obalufe of Ifeland, Oba Idowu Adediwura, made the call in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Friday in Ile-Ife.
He said as the royal father of Christians, Muslims and traditionalists and as a leader who championed peaceful coexistence globally, there was no reason why his home should be in turmoil. He said that as a direct descendant of Oduduwa, the progenitor of Yoruba race who also preached peaceful coexistence, he believed there was no reason why people of different faiths should not live peacefully in tolerance.
He noted that the two major faiths and traditional worshippers had coexisted peacefully in ages past and that there should not be hostilities between them now. Four persons were reportedly injured when traditional religion worshippers attacked worshippers in a mosque in Ile-Ile on Thursday. Traditionalists in the town had announced on Wednesday that the “Oro’’ cult would perform some rituals in some parts of Ife between 2 p.m. and 7 p.m., advising residents to avoid the areas.
According to one of those in the mosque, Mr Abdulazeez Bashir, Oro adherents broke through the fence and began flogging worshippers with canes, instructing them to leave the ablution area. “One of them even attacked the Imam, Alhaji Abdullateef Adesiyan while coming into the mosque. He was beaten with a cane and hit on the face with a rod. “When I discovered that about five persons had been injured, apart from the Imam of the mosque, I had to call the Ife Chief Imam, Alhaji AbdulSemiu AbdulHammed to intimate him with the happenings. “The situation could have escalated into a big crisis when other Muslims began to gather around, but the traditionalists eventually left. The victims were later taken to a hospital for treatment,’’ Bashir said.
When contacted, Osun Police Command spokesperson SP Yemisi Opalola confirmed the incident, stating that an investigation into the mosque invasion had been launched. Oba Ogunwusi promised to renovate the mosque that was affected as well as pay the hospital bill of the Imam of the mosque. The Chief Imam of Ifeland, Alhaji AbdulHammed, told NAN on Friday that the trouble had been settled. He confirmed that the traditional religion worshippers assaulted the Imam of Idiomo Mosque, Ilare, Alfa Adesiyan, inside the mosque. AbdulHammed called for maintenance of fundamental rights of religion, speech and peace among others.
“There is no family throughout Africa that practices one religion. “There should be freedom for individuals to practice whatever religion they choose without coercion,’’ he said. The Chief Imam appealed to indigenes to ensure that they maintained peace and orderliness during each festival in the town, stressing that there is no profit in violence.