Oro worshippers are looking for trouble- Muslim group warns

The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC), through its Co-ordinator, Professor Ishaq Akintola, Sunday called on the governments of southwestern Nigeria to avert looming religious conflict in the region.

Akintola noted that traditionalists in the region were set to celebrate their Isheshe Day on Monday, 20th August 2018, a day preceding this year’s Eid-el-Kabir celebration.

The MURIC decried that the traditionalists have declared an unlawful curfew which will affect the movement of Muslims traveling to reunite with their loved ones to celebrate Eid-el-Kabir.

The statement noted: “Oro worshippers are deliberately looking for trouble. Chapter 4 Section 41 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended) says, ‘Every citizen of Nigeria is entitled to move freely throughout Nigeria and to reside in any part thereof, and no citizen of Nigeria shall be expelled from Nigeria or refused entry thereby or exit therefrom.’

“Besides, only the state government on the advice of the state commissioner of police can impose curfew on a town. Even then, such imposition must be based on adverse security report.

“Traditionalists are taking the law into their hands. Traditionalists have frequently usurped this power without being challenged. It is very unfortunate that state governments in the region lack the political will to enforce the law. They are afraid of the traditionalists. Worse still, the police and other law enforcement agents appear to be complicit as they adopt a lackadaisical attitude towards the excesses of traditional worshippers.

“We assert the right of Muslims to freely move around anywhere in this country. Tuesday 21st August, 2018 is Id al-Kabir day and the Federal Government (FG) has declared Tuesday and Wednesday as holidays. Nobody has the right or the power to take those days from us. Neither does anybody have the right to make it impossible for Muslims heading towards their various towns to reach their various destinations.

“For the avoidance of doubts, MURIC is not averse to the declaration of a day for traditionalists. We made this clear in our statement issued on 10th May, 2018. We believe in equal rights. What we oppose is a situation whereby one religious group lords it over another. Traditionalists must respect the law.

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“Traditional worshippers need to be told that they have limits. Christians and Muslims have never restricted the movements of adherents of other faiths. So why must traditionalists always compel others to remain indoors whenever they want to worship? Why must God be worshipped in secret? Their curfews have affected church and mosque goers in the past. It has also affected candidates writing critical examinations like WAEC and that means their curfews are counter-productive. This must not be allowed to continue.

“We therefore call on the governors of Lagos, Ogun, Oyo, Osun and Ekiti states to call traditional worshippers to order. The traditional rulers of all Yoruba towns can be easily reached. They will pass the message to the leaders of traditional worshippers. Muslims will not surrender their Allah-given fundamental rights at this crucial moment.”

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