Following reported cases of violence, arson and looting of shops by some yet to be identified hoodlums hiding under the cover of the ongoing annual Egungun festival in Ibadan, the Olubadan of Ibadanland, Oba Sen. Lekan Balogun, CFR, Alli Okunmade II on Sunday directed that a suspension be placed on the festival forthwith.
This was contained in a press release made available to journalists in Ibadan on behalf of the monarch by his Personal Assistant (Media), Oladele Ogunsola. The monarch equally summoned all the leaders of masquerades known as Alaagbaa in Ibadanland to an emergency meeting on Monday afternoon at the ancient Aliiwo Palace, Agodi in Ibadan.
Oba Balogun, who expressed sadness over the reported cases of violence and brigandage accompanying the annual festival, the video of which has gone viral described the development as unfortunate and an affront on his Palace, because he vehemently warned against the festival being turned into avenue to wreak havoc when the festival was to begin.
It would be recalled that Oba Balogun just last Wednesday did condemn similar violence during the same festival that was reported at Alafara Olubadan a couple of days earlier and as if the warning was just a blabbing, the same thing was reported on Saturday on a scale that made the previous one a child”s play.
According to him, “I warned seriously against what is happening when the festival was to commence and the assurances I got then were that nothing untoward would accompany the festival. But, the reports coming to me have been at variance with those assurances I earlier got from the masquerades’ leaders.
“No responsible leader would fold his arms or put on the cap of I care less when majority of those subjects one superintendents over are in agony and living in perpetual fear just because of the activities of a few misguided elements who find it difficult to be law abiding. This is why the suspension clause has to be invoked and how long it lasts would be determined by the outcome of the meeting of Monday afternoon”, the monarch noted.
Oba Balogun insisted that the ugly past when the masquerade festival was usually a period of terror when perceived enemies became targets of attack and violence had been buried a long time ago and any attempt to exhume it would be met with stiff sanctions.
“I use this medium to call on the security agencies to remain up and doing and ensure no culprit is spared. Whoever flouts the suspension order just given under whatever guise must be handled like a criminal. I’m for peace and there’s zero tolerance for whatever it is that will not give my people peace of mind”, His Imperial Majesty added.