The suspension order placed on the annual Egungun festival in Ibadan by the Olubadan of Ibadanland, Oba Sen. Lekan Balogun, CFR, Alli Okunmade II last Sunday due to spate of violence recorded last week in two different places within the metropolis has been lifted.
This was contained in the press statement made available to journalists in Ibadan on Friday by the Personal Assistant (Media) to Olubadan, Oladele Ogunsola in which it was stated that the suspension was lifted after rapprochement between the Olubadan Palace and the heads of masquerades (Alaagbaas) in the land.
Following this development, a letter, according to the press release has been sent to the Oyo State Police Commissioner, requesting the Command to make adequate provision for security coverage for the masquerades and their supporters, stressing that the meeting between the palace and the Alaagbaas earlier in the week ensured extraction of commitment to peaceful celebration of the festival from the adherents.
The letter to the CP reads further, “Following this development, His Imperial Majesty therefore seeks for your esteemed cooperation by ensuring adequate security coverage for the masquerades and their supporters just as an order is also given that whoever engages in any act of violence must not be allowed to go scot free.
“His Imperial Majesty reiterates his zero tolerance for any form of brigandage or violence in the course of the celebration of the festival and at all times”, the statement added.
It would be recalled that Olubadan wielded the big stick owing to occurrences of violence, but, had to be lenient with the adherents in view of the importance of the festival to the metropolis with a stern warning that any masquerade found formenting trouble would face total ban.
The Alaagbaas, who pleaded with Olubadan to temper justice with mercy insisted that none of the violence that occurred was as a result of rivalry between opposing masquerades, but were caused by hoodlums, hiding under the cover of the festival to attack innocent residents and loot shops.
They (Alaagbaas) appealed to the security agents to be more committed to the safety of lives and property of the people, saying, “we don’t believe or engage in violence as admonished by our revered monarch and we pledge our cooperation with the security agents not to interfere in their line of duty. Let them arrest whoever is found causing trouble and any of us that shows up with a view to secure bail for such identified and arrested criminal should be detained alongside the culprit”