Priscilla Ediare, Ado-Ekiti
The Ekiti Council of Elders, has called on youth to refrain from killings and all sorts of crisis over ban on traditional festivals in line with the government’s directive to curb the spread of COVID-19 pandemic in the state.
The elders gave the advice following the killings of two persons in Ire Ekiti in Oye Local Government Area of Ekiti State over enforcement of ban on celebration of Ogun Onire festival in Ire community.
The victims were allegedly killed during a violent crisis that erupted in the town, on Sunday, following an attempt by Onire, Oba Victor Bobade, to enforce the government’s directive by ordering adherents to halt the most coveted Ogun festival in Ekiti.
During the bloody protest, a car parked within the premises of Oba Bobade’s palace was burnt down by some youths and Ogun worshippers, who trooped to the streets over the ban they considered as vexatious and uncustomary.
Governor Kayode Fayemi, had a couple of weeks back suspended celebration of traditional festivals pending the time the COVID-19 pandemic will subside.
Responding to the killing, which the elders described as unwarranted, in a statement signed by its President, Prof Joseph Oluwasanmi and Secretary, Niyi Ajibulu, on Saturday, the council appealed to the youth to show understanding over the ban.
“Ekiti Council is shocked at the violence at Ire Ekiti over the celebration of Ogun festival. It regrets the loss of lives and destruction of property and we also sympathise with Oba Victor Bobade and the entire community.
“Ire Ekiti town is known all over the world for peaceful Ogun celebration annually; a ceremony that is fast becoming a global event and which stakeholders are striving to turn into a big tourist attraction.
“Ogun is the god of iron, innovation, and industry that should ordinarily lead to development and not skirmish under any guise whatsoever.
“The council urges the government and our leaders to always show understanding of our youth exuberances. The youth must understand that it is government and traditional institution’s responsibilities to prevent communicable diseases from assuming endemic proportions.
“Council stresses on the need to always engage the youth in discussions as we are pushing ahead to ensure that they are properly integrated into profitable ventures, for devil they say finds works for the idle hands.”
The council condoled with the victims’ families and charged the security agencies and communities to erect structures that would guarantee peaceful coexistence among Ekiti residents.