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Arrest, prosecute Oro cult leaders now, MURIC charges govt

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An Muslim rights organisation, MURIC, has called on the government to arrest and prosecute leaders of Oro cult in Ipokia local government area of Ogun State.

The group said they breached the peace agreement they signed with Christians and Muslims on August 21, 2019.

According to the group, the leaders of the cult imposed an illegal “round-the-clock curfew on Idiroko, Agosasa, Ilase, Ajegunle and some other communities in Ipokia Local Government of Ogun State since yesterday, Tuesday, September 3, 2019.”

In a statement issued by its director, Professor Ishaq Akintola, MURIC said the curfew had paralysed commercial activities in the whole area as shops and markets were under lock and key.

“Women and strangers are not allowed to move about and schools are already affected,” MURIC stated.

MURIC said with the curfew, the Oro leaders reneged on the agreement it signed with Christians and Muslims at a religious stakeholders’ meeting held at the Conference Room of Ipokia Local Government Secretariat on 21st August 2019 have reneged on their promise barely one week later.

Said MURIC:  “The meeting was presided over by the Head of Local Government Administration (HOLGA) in Ipokia, Engr Babatunde Odunlami. Representatives of Christians and Muslims were in attendance. Security agents were also there. 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.”

MURIC provided more insight into the agreement:  “It was 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.

“The DPO of Idiroko police station, CSP Opebiyi Sunday, signed as a witness while the 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.”

MURIC lamented the failure of leaders of Oro cult to abide by the agreement.

“It is highly regrettable that these people failed to abide by the agreement they signed under the full glare of security agents. We are grossly disappointed.”

The group called on security agents to arrest Oro cult leaders and prosecute them.

“We call on the security agents to do the needful. Oro cult leaders must be arrested, detained and prosecuted for declaring this curfew. They have usurped the powers of the state governor and the chairman of the local government who are the only authorities conferred with the power to impose curfews. Their action is illegal, illegitimate, unlawful and unconstitutional,” the group said.