The Olubadan of Ibadan, Moshood Olalekan Balogun, has ordered the suspension of the ongoing Egungun festival in Oyo state, over reports of violence, arson and looting of shops at the state’s capital.
Suspension of the masquerade festival which is held annually in Ibadan, was confirmed in a statement released by Oladele Ogunsola, the Olubadan’s personal media aide.
The monarch who expressed sadness over the reported cases of violence, summoned all the leaders of masquerades, known as ‘Alaagbaa’ in Ibadan, to an emergency meeting scheduled for July 17, at the ancient Aliiwo palace, Agodi.
The statement read;
“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 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 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.
“I’m for peace and there’s zero tolerance for whatever it is that will not give my people peace of mind.
The Olubadan urged security agencies to maintain peace and order, adding that “whoever flouts the suspension order under whatever guise, should be handled like a criminal”.