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Mixed reactions trail Saturday’s proposed restriction of movements in Ikorodu over Oro festival

The residents of Ikorodu in Lagos State on Thursday expressed mixed reactions to the “Magboo Oro’’ festival that would hold on Saturday in the town with some giving their approvals to it.

Others told this news medium that the town ought to have developed past the stage of restricting movements and businesses for a group to celebrate a traditional festival.They said that civilization should have ended it, adding that its implication on the socio-economic life of the residents was enormous.

The Secretary, Ikorodu Chieftaincy Committee, Mr Okesanya Olugbenga, had advised women, men who were not initiated and visitors to stay indoors during the event on Saturday, May 13.

Olugbenga said that on the day, Ikorodu community would hold its annual “Oro’’ or cult festival.

He added that nobody would be allowed to carry out any business or commercial activity within Ikorodu community while the festival lasted.

Olugbenga said that the orders were from the town’s kingmakers, the custodians of tradition and culture, noting that they had informed the police about the festival.

Olugbenga said: “It is a taboo for any woman or girl to see “Magboo’’.

He said that the festival would hold during the day and all women within the community were advised to stay indoors.

“From time immemorial and in Yoruba history, there has never been time that a woman was allowed to see `Oro’.

“Any woman that lives within the community where the festival will hold must keep indoors, and never attempt to peep through her house windows.

“If such women cannot afford to keep indoors; they are advised to leave areas where the festival will hold before it starts.

“If she tries to go out; she will face untold consequences,” he advised.

Olugbenga said that the restriction order during the festival was not only for women.

“It concerns male-indigenes from the town that are not initiates as well as visitors.’’

Also, an elder in Ikorodu, Mr Shuaib Osoala, told this news medium that the “Oro’’ was usually performed to cleanse the town of any evil.

“It means no harm, but it is usually done to ward off any impending evil or one already committed from the community,’’ Osoala said.

However, a cleric, Mr Ranti Adaripon, said that on no account should any religious practice disturb another.

“We practise three religions in Ikorodu just as in other parts of the state. I don’t think the practitioners of Christianity and Islam disturb those of the traditional religion.

“Why should the adherents of “Oro’’ restrict other people from going about their normal activities during the day.

“We are still sad that the government has yet to do anything about this restriction that occurs annually, he said.

Also, a business woman, who simply identified herself as Alhaja Masha, said she usually sold more wares at weekends.

“Now that the adherents of “Oro’’ have directed that women should not come out this Saturday, many people who are engaged in buying and selling will lose much.

“Now that the day of the celebration of “Oro’’ festival falls on a Saturday, it’s so painful because I will not be able to sell anything.

“I make more money from my business on Saturdays.

“I am not happy with this annual restriction under the pretext of celebrating a local festival,’’ she said.

Magboo Festival holds in May and is celebrated in Ijoomu, Ota-ona, Sheriff and Itaelewa areas of Ikorodu.

Other areas where the festival is observed are: Ajina, Obunale, Itunpate, Aga and Ladega.

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