Islamic human rights organisation, Muslim Rights Concern, has reacted to the alleged threat by traditionalists to invade Iwo in Osun State over the alleged disrespect of the Oluwo of Iwo, Oba Abdul Rasheed Akanbi, for traditional religion.
MURIC reacted to the development in the early hours of Monday in a statement by its Founder and Director, Prof. Ishaq Akintola.
The Traditional Worshippers Association of Osun State had a week ago threatened to march on Iwo town.
They accused Oba Akanbi of gross disrespect for the traditional mode of worship.
But MURIC in the statement by Akintola cautioned the traditionalists against invading Iwo town, saying such will be open confrontation, an invitation to chaos and flagrant disregard for the rule of law.
It said: “The Traditional Worshippers Association of Osun State has threatened to march on Iwo town in Osun State for what they described as the Oluwo’s disrespect for traditional religion. The traditionalists gave a 21-day ultimatum within which the Oluwo must publicly apologise for his unguarded statements against the traditionalists or face the consequences. The group threatened to demand the deposition of the Oluwo unless the king met their demand.
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“We will like to caution the traditionalists against carrying out their threat because of the implications of invading a whole city at a time when Nigeria is facing dire security challenges. Such invasion will tantamount to open confrontation, an invitation to chaos and disregard for the rule of law.
“In the first place, indigenes of the city are likely to come out in defence of their king. This may result in a bloody clash whose consequences cannot be foreseen at the moment. Secondly, such invasion shows disregard for the rule of law because there is freedom of speech and anyone who finds Oluwo’s declarations distasteful or defamatory should go to court instead of embarking on a show of force.
“Thirdly, invading Iwo town may not go down well with Muslims in Osun State in particular and Yorubaland in general because Iwo is traditionally known as ‘Ilu Alfa’, meaning ‘city of Islamic scholars’. The planned invasion by traditionalists may therefore be seen as an attack on the base of Islam in Yorubaland.
“We note with deep concern that traditionalists in Yorubaland prefer to monopolise Muslim traditional rulers in such a way that the latter pay no attention to Islam and Muslims but concentrate on traditional rites alone.
“However, we note with satisfaction that the Oluwo of Iwo, Oba Abdul Rasheed Akanbi, stands out among Muslim rulers in Osun State who manifests consciousness of his faith. He has taken giant steps to revive pristine Islam in Iwoland. He has also openly identified with Islam as his religion. We therefore have every reason to believe that this is the real reason for the planned invasion of Iwo town by traditionalists.
“We see no reason why traditionalists should pick offence if the Oluwo identifies himself with Islam because he has not disallowed tradionalists from worshipping their gods. The 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria Section 38 (i) & (ii) grants every Nigerian citizen the right to worship as well as the right to manifest his religion freely. The Oluwo is also covered by this constitutional provision and he must be allowed to ‘worship’ and ‘manifest’ according to his conscience.
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“Traditionalists have no right to insist that a king must be a traditional worshipper. The king is the ruler over all subjects in the town and this includes Christians, Muslims and traditionalists. The attempt to restrict the king to traditional worshipping alone and to attack the Oluwo because he is a Muslim is an exhibition of religious intolerance.
“MURIC appeals to the Osun State Police Command to take the threat issued by the traditionalists very seriously. No group, no matter how powerful, has the right to threaten the peace of the land. The police must be proactive in handling this matter so that the diabolical plan of the traditionalists can be nipped in the bud.
“We alert the Government of the State of Osun to the hidden blackmail in the threat to invade Iwo town unless the government calls Oluwo to order. Government must not allow itself to be railroaded into taking any action capable of provoking the teeming majority Muslim population of the state. Outsiders cannot determine what the people of Iwo want.
“The good people of Iwo want Oba Rasheed Akanbi on the throne. Muslims in Yorubaland are pleased with him. Traditionalists have no right to demand his dethronement. It is an exhibition of intolerance on the part of the traditionalists to demand the deposition of an Oba just because he does not dance to their tune. It will be a dangerous precedence if traditionalists are allowed to dictate to government. The Oyetola administration must be firm.
“In addition, Government has a duty to protect the law abiding and hardworking people of Iwo town from the planned invasion of traditionalists. The primary duty of government is to ensure the security of lives and properties. Section 14(2)(b) of the 1999 Constituion (as amended), states inter alia : ‘the security and welfare of the people shall be the primary purpose of government’ and that presupposes that it is a reference to government at both the federal and state levels.”
Nigerian Bludgeons Chinese Man to Death in Italy
Robert Omo, a Nigerian residing in Avellino, southern Italy, has been arrested for the murder of a Chinese man in the country.
According to the Times of Malta, Omo, 24, allegedly bludgeoned the Chinese man to death using a hammer. He was also reported to have injured a Bulgarian during the attack.
The Nigerian was said to have attacked the two men unprovoked on July 30, first striking the 49-year-old Bulgarian from behind and then attacking the 59-year-old Chinese man who had stepped in to prevent him from further assaulting his first victim.
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The Bulgarian is receiving treatment in a hospital after sustaining serious injuries from the attack, while the Chinese man died on the spot.
It was also reported that Omo once served a 12-month jail term for bestiality in Malta.
After serving the jail sentence, he was deported from Malta, but the Nigerian found his way to Italy.
Reports revealed that Omo was once expelled from a care home in Avellino after he assaulted one of its workers.
After charges were brought against him over the recent attack, he pleaded not guilty, claiming he could not recall what happened during the incident.
Female footballers, officials abducted, kidnappers demand N30m
Six people, which include players and officials of a grassroots female team, were reportedly kidnapped by gunmen in Uronigbe, a border community between Edo and Delta states in Orhionmwon Local Government Area of Edo State.
Our correspondent learnt that the six victims were kidnapped around 6pm on Friday, while returning from a game at Owa-Alero in Ika North-East Local Government Area of Delta State.
A source in the community said the kidnapers had contacted some families demanding a ransom of N5m each for the victims.
He said, “They (footballers) went to Owa-Alero to play a football match, but on their way back, they were kidnapped at Uronigbe area, the boundary between Delta and Edo.
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“The victims include Mrs Precious Agbajor, one Abraham, Nancy, Beatrice, the driver and one other person. They are six in number that are in the kidnapper’s den. The matter has been reported at the Uronigbe police station.
“The kidnappers have contacted the family of Agbajor and asked them to pay N5m for his wife.”
When contacted, the Police Public Relations Officer in Delta State, DSP Bright Edafe, confirmed the kidnap, adding that the incident happened in Edo State.
His Edo State counterpart, Chidi Nwabuzor, said from the records available at the State Command, there was no information on the incident.
“You know we transmit our records to Force Headquarters everyday. There is no such record before us. From the Command’s record, no such incident happened yesterday (Friday), so the police will not give account of anything unreported.
“It is only when an incident is reported that the police can act on it. In most cases, citizens are not aware of the powers to report incidents. So the record I have from the Command is that no such incident happened yesterday (Friday), today (Saturday) and even the day before yesterday (Thursday).”
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