Following reports of violence, arson, and shop theft by some unidentified hoodlums hiding under the guise of the ongoing festival in Ibadan, the Olubadan of Ibadanland, Oba Lekan Balogun, has suspended the ongoing celebration of the Egungun festival.
This is according to a press statement that Oladele Ogunsola, the monarch’s personal assistant (media), provided to journalists in Ibadan on Sunday, July 16, 2023.
In addition, the statement called all of the Alaagbaa leaders in Ibadanland to an urgent meeting on Monday afternoon at the historic Aliiwo Palace in Agodi.
Oba Balogun, who expressed sadness over the reported cases of violence and brigandage accompanying the annual festival, the video of which has gone viral described the development as unfortunate and an affront on his Palace, because he vehemently warned against the festival being turned into avenue to wreak havoc when the festival was to begin.
He said; “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 or put on the cap of I care less 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,” the monarch noted.
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.
“I use this medium to call on the security agencies to remain up and doing and ensure no culprit is spared. Whoever flouts the suspension order just given 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,” Oba Balogun added.