Olubadan suspends Egungun festival as violence trails annual outing

The Olubadan of Ibadanland, Oba Lekan Balogun, on Sunday directed the suspension of the ongoing Egungun festival over reported cases of violence, arson and looting of shops.

Olubadan’s Personal Assistant on Media, Mr Oladele Ogunsola said the atrocities were perpetrated by some hoodlums hiding under the cover of the Egungun festival in Ibadan.

Olubadan equally summoned all the leaders of masquerades known as ‘Alaagbaa’ in Ibadan land, to an emergency meeting on Monday afternoon, at the Aliiwo Palace, Agodi in Ibadan.

The traditional ruler expressed sadness over the reported cases of violence accompanying the annual festival, “the video of which has gone viral”.

He described the development as unfortunate and an affront on his palace, because he had warned against turning the festival into avenue to wreak havoc.

It would be recalled that Oba Balogun had on Wednesday condemned the violence reported during the festival at Alafara area.

“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.

“I warned seriously against what is happening when the festival was to commence. I got assurance then 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 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,” Olubadan said.

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.

He called on the security agencies to remain up and doing, ensure no culprit is spared, “whoever flouts the suspension order 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,” Olubadan stated.


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