Ifa traditional worshippers, under the aegis of International Forum of Araba/Oluawo Agbaye in Oyo State, have condemned continued harassment and intimidation of its members by men of the Oyo State police command.
The Forum, in a statement signed by the Araba of Ibadanland and Olú Ìṣẹ̀ṣe of Oyo State, Chief Ifálérè Odegbemi Odegbola II, accused the state police command of harassing and intimidating members of ifa worshippers.
“Since the recent arrest of some people alleged to be ritualists, the police had been trailing and harassing our members whenever they go to Oje market and other markets in Ibadan to buy herbal ingredients.
“The police believe those arrested were Ifa worshippers. As we are not in support and we condemn ritual killings, selling of human parts and other social vices in totality, we believe that it is wrong for policemen in Oyo state to categorise any individual buying herbal ingredients in the markets as potential seller of human parts,” Chief Odegbola said.
The traditionalist added that Ifa religion is not in support of such act and many suspected ritualists arrested with human parts are not real ifa practitioners and do not know anything about ifa religion.
“As reall, Ifa practitioners, we have been trying to sanitise and correct the misconception that anyone dealing with herbs is ifa priest (Babalawo). This is not true. There are herbalists, pastors and alfas who also engage in herbal practice and people regarded them as Ifa priests. That is misconception,” he said.
The Araba of Ibadanland further said that the Forum has been exposing the activities of fake Ifa practitioners.
“In 2022, our members at Lagelu Local Government Area of Oyo State arrested one fake priest who specialised in duping the public and handed him over to the police. We are on a daily basis introducing measures to sanitise and expose fake practitioners in our communities,” he added.
He called on the Oyo State Commissioner of Police to call his men to order over incessant harassment and intimidation of Ifa tradfitionalists in the state.