An Ipokia-based Muslim group, the Concerned Muslim Network of Ipokia Local Government Area, has raised alarm over the illegal curfew imposed by the Oro cult in Ipokia. The illegal curfew is due to start on Saturday, 20th February, 2021. The group has promised to meet force with force if the Ogun State Government and the state Police Command fail to intervene.
Meanwhile the Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) has sent a Save Our Soul (S.O.S) message to the governor of Ogun State to stop the illegal curfew in order to avert violent confrontation between the cultists and the Concerned Muslim Network of Ipokia. MURIC’s S.O.S was contained in a press release issued by its director, Professor Ishaq Akintola, on Friday, 19th February, 2021.
According to MURIC, “Trouble is looming in Ipokia, Ogun State as a Muslim group, the Concerned Muslim Network of Ipokia Local Government Area is warming up for a bloody confrontation with Oro cultists who have declared an illegal curfew on all inhabitants of the town.
“The group’s statement on the matter which we believe is self-explanatory, is quoted below:
‘The cultists have chosen Saturday 20th February, 2021CE as the date for the commencement of curfew and the restriction of movement that will last for seven days.
It should be recalled that similar acts was challenged by both Muslims and Christians in Ipokia High Court and in the judgement delivered on 30th January, 2018. The Chief Judge ruled that the Oro cultists have no constitutional rights to impose any curfew on the general populace and such action is illegal and should never be allowed to take place again.
‘After the judgement, the Oro worshippers signed an agreement with Christians and Muslims at a religious stakeholders’ meeting held at the Conference Room of Ipokia Local Government Secretariat on 21st August 2019. The said meeting was presided over by the Head of Local Government Administration (HOLGA) in Ipokia, Engr Babatunde Odunlami where representatives of Christians and Muslims were in attendance.
‘The Security agents were not left out also. They all signed an agreement restricting the celebration of Oro festival to midnight from 12 am to 4 am. The signed document also indicated that there should be no restriction of any form to non-members of Oro cult within the period.
‘It was equally agreed that Christians and Muslims must conduct their services inside churches and mosques respectively. Outside procession with loudspeakers are also forbidden during Oro festivals while no religious group should, in their preaching or songs, call traditional worshippers derogatory names and no one should infringe on the fundamental human rights of citizens as enshrined in the Nigerian constitution. In addition, any religious group that intends to organise a festival must inform the local government, police and other security agencies in writing beforehand.
The agreement was signed on behalf of Muslims by the Imam of Idi Iroko, Alhaji Ibrahim Idris and two others: Faruq Tiamiyu and Yahya Ajibola. Christians were represented by Joseph Arogunyo, John Jayeola and Adesina Sunday while Ojo Alade, Gafar Waidi and Suuru Adeyemi signed on behalf of Oro worshippers.
In the agreement signed on 21st August, 2019, the then DPO of Idiroko police station, CSP Opebiyi Sunday was in attendance and he signed as a witness while the then DPO of Ipokia was represented by CSP Oluku Sunday. Also, the Department of State Services (DSS) was represented by B. E. Bassey, while the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) was represented by DRC Garba Dare.’
“It will appear, therefore, that Ipokia cultists are not only reneging on the 2019 agreement but also acting in contempt of the 2018 court judgement by declaring a new curfew. This is tantamount to total disregard for the rule of law, unbridled impunity and blatant disrespect for law enforcement agencies.
“As advocates of dialogue, rule of law and equal rights for all, MURIC calls on the executive governor of Ogun State to do the needful. There should be no breakdown of law and order in Ipokia in view of the fragile state of affairs in the country. Governor Dapo Abiodun has a duty to stop Oro cultists who have usurped the governor’s power by illegally imposing a curfew.
“It is becoming clearer day by day that traditionalists in the South West are growing wings as their level of intolerance keeps rising. It is well known that Christians and Muslims do not impose any curfew on traditionalists at any time at all. What right, therefore, do traditionalists have to restrict the movement of Christians and Muslims?
“Chapter 4, Section 41 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended 2011) stipulates that every Nigerian is entitled to move freely throughout the country. Only the state government on the advice of the state commissioner of police can impose curfew but even then, the curfew must be based on negative security report.
“MURIC urges the state governor to act without delay in view of the declaration of the Ipokia Muslim group that ‘If they (i.e. Oro cultists) go ahead to impose curfew and declare Saturday, 20th February, 2021CE as a day when our sit at home must commence, then, we will order all Muslims to go out and consequently dare their so called invincibility by the special grace of Allaah (sic)’”