Two dead, scores injured over Ekiti Ogun festival

Violence erupted in Ire-Ekiti in Oye-Ekiti Council Area of Ekiti State on Monday as youths protested stoppage of the annual celebration of Ogun Onire traditional festivals in the town due to COVID-19.

The protest, which started on Sunday evening, turned bloody as two persons reportedly died and scores injured over moves by the State Government to stop the Ogun festival.

Governor Kayode Fayemi had, in a statewide broadcast, ordered stoppage of traditional festivals across the state as part of measures to flatten the curve of the spread of coronavirus in Ekiti.

The Onire of Ire-Ekiti Oba Victor Bobade, while trying to enforce government directives by admonishing the adherents of Ogun to shelve the celebration, met resistance by some irate youths who insisted on celebrating the festival.

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The Nation gathered that Oba Bobade was whisked away by security attached to him when the youths besieged the palace with dangerous weapons.

A vehicle belonging to the Monarch was said to have been set ablaze by the irate youths desirous to have the festival celebrated, on Sunday over the action taken to halt the festival.

The crisis, which had polarised the town into two factions, started on Sunday and snowballed into a full scale war on Monday, causing attacks between the rival factions, which prompted Police Commissioner Tunde Mobayo to swiftly draft his men to restore normalcy to the town.

The Nation gathered the victims were allegedly hit by stray bullets fired during attempts to quell the mayhem that paralysed economic activities and inhibited human and vehicular movements.

A source, who craved anonymity, told The Nation the town is boiling as relatives of victims protested the killing.

“We have been having serious battle in the town since our monarch urged the Ogun Onire worshippers to stop.

“And the crisis between the factions loyal to the Oba and the worshippers led to the death of the victims”.

When contacted, the Police Public Relations Officer, Mr. Sunday Abutu, confirmed that two persons were killed during the bloody crisis.

“Yes, there has been crisis there since Sunday. We have been trying to quell it. Some groups of youths came to the palace and attack the palace, destroyed things and burnt some vehicles that belonged to the King.

“We got a distress call and had to mobilize policemen there and we were able to rescue the chiefs from the palace. We are still monitoring the situation.

“The people were protesting and probably disagreement from factions that are there led to the death of those persons. But investigations are on. Those who were involved in the act will be arrested and brought to book.

“On my desk here, I have two persons. Their bodies have been deposited in the morgue. We have been able to arrest one of the gang leaders and he is in our custody right now”.

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