…As Oyo police commissioner reads riot act, over Oro festival***
A social-cultural group, Ebedi Frontliners Iseyin (EFI), on Thursday appealed to the Oyo State Government to promptly repair the dilapidated Iseyin-Ibadan road, even as Oyo State Police Command warns religious groups to shun violence and tolerate one another during the forthcoming Oro festival in Iseyin community.
The President of the group, Mr Segun Falana, who made the call in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Iseyin, described the road’s condition as “worrisome”.
“We appreciate what our new governor is doing so far and we must say thank you for always listening to our yearnings in these few months in office.
“We in EFI want to passionately appeal for reconstruction of this very important road that leads Iseyin to the state Capital and other cities.
“The road, which is about 75 kilometres, ordinarily should not take more than 45 minutes maximum to travel, but now we spend an average of two hours on the same road.
“No matter how careful you are, you must visit the mechanics after your journey; we want to appeal that this road be fixed as a matter of economic priority,” he said.
According to him, Iseyin is the major link to other parts of Oke-Ogun area of the state comprising of 10 council areas regarded as the food basket of the state.
Also speaking, another member of the group, Mr Abiodun Bambi, appealed to the state government to act swiftly on the road.
“It’s important that this road is fixed to enable residents of Oke-Ogun area to have easy access to Ibadan.
“Iseyin is the food basket of the state and it is not accessible due to the bad road.
“I hope that Gov. Seyi Makinde will order palliative measures on the road before it is fully fixed to enhance movement of persons and our farm produce,” he said.
In the meantime, the Oyo State Police Command has warned religious groups to shun violence and tolerate one another, particularly, during the forthcoming Oro festival in Iseyin community.
The Commissioner of Police in the state, Shina Olukolu, gave the warning on Thursday at a stakeholders’ meeting on how to defuse the tension over the planned celebration of the Oro festival in Iseyin.
There had been tension between the Muslim community and traditional religion worshipers in Iseyin over the Oro festival scheduled to hold between Sept. 22 and Oct.8.
Olukolu said he was compelled to call the meeting to address the matter which had the potential of snowballing into a conflict of very serious magnitude that might disrupt the peace of the state if not properly managed.
The commissioner, who said the brewing misunderstanding had affected diverse groups in Iseyin, advised all the parties involved to shun violence and allow peace to reign.
“Religion should not be the basis of our division and this meeting is to re-emphasise the need for tolerance to ensure that peace and tranquility reign in the state.
“The police and other security agencies in the state will not hesitate to bring to bear the full weight of the law on anyone involved in violence,” Olukolu said.
In his remarks, a Muslim cleric, AbdulAkeem Olajobi, alleged that traditional religion worshippers were often sighted carrying different weapons during the Oro festival and restricting the movement of female residents.
The cleric, however, assured the commissioner that peace would reign based on the agreement reached by all parties during the meeting.
The Chairman of Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) in Iseyin, Rev. Christopher Olugbade, also pledged to promote religious tolerance and peaceful coexistence.
A representative of traditional religion worshippers, Mr Fadare Faniyi, however, said adherents were not preventing free movement of people during the celebration.
He pledged the commitment of his members to the peace agreement reached at the meeting.
The Aseyin of Iseyin, Oba Salawudeen AbdulGaniyu, said the parties had agreed that the Oro masquerade would only move about between the hours of 5:30pm and 4 am and would not promote violence.
In his remarks, Fatai Owoseni, the Special Adviser to the Governor on Security, called on religious leaders to control their followers to ensure that peace and development reigned in Iseyin and Oyo State in general.
Owoseni urged religious leaders to caution their followers to separate criminality from religion, saying unwholesome practices and beliefs had been introduced into religion.
According to him, the Seyi Makinde administration remains committed to the promotion of peace in the state.
Those at the meeting includeed the Commissioner for Women Affairs, Mrs Fausat Sanni, Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Matters, Mrs Funmilayo Orisabunmi as well representatives of the army and Department of State Security among others.