The Emir of Ilorin Alhaji Ibrahim Sulu Gambari has again come under fire for his alleged roles in the cancellation of the planned traditional festival as well as the restriction placed on the open practice of traditional religious activities in some parts of Ilorin, the Kwara State capital.
It should be recalled that a group of clerics, who claimed to have been sent by the Emir, recently stormed the home of an Osun Priestess Yeye Ajesikemi and warned her to limit her traditional religious activities within her immediate environment or face dire consequences.
The actions and comments of Alhaji Sulu Gambari, the Ilorin monarch have attracted reactions from various interests including the Nobel Laurette, Prof Wole Soyinka.
The International Council for Ifa Religion, (ICIR) which is the global umbrella for all traditionalists, has reacted officially to the situation through a Press Statement signed by its President Dr. Solagbade Popoola.
Oluwo Solagbade Popoola President, ICIR In a 7-point response to the crises, ICIR chides the Emir of Ilorin and blames him for actions and comments that are capable of plunging the peaceful Ilorin city into a theatre of fierce violence as a result of his subtle encouragement of Human Rights violation and religious intolerance.
Below, for your reading pleasure, is the original text of the Press Statement:
Social Incitement Against Traditionalists To Forment Religious Violence In Ilorin: The Position of ICIR.
Sequel to a thorough review of the various actions, pronouncements and commentaries on the brewing religious crisis in Ilorin, International Council for Ifa Religion (ICIR), an umbrella body of global adherents of Ifa and Orisa with its Headquarters in Nigeria, hereby makes its position public through the following statements:
ICIR considers as very unfortunate and ominous the invasion of the home of an Osun priestess in Ilorin, the stoppage of the planned celebration of the Aje Cultural Festival by the Emir of Ilorin and the open threat flagrantly and carelessly issued against the life of the poor woman, as well as all traditionalists in the listed areas of Ilorin by some islamic clerics who claimed to have been sent by the monarch. ICIR considers those event and action as potential predicates of an upcoming fatal religious and Human Rights violence; Kwara State Government is therefore advised to be very proactive.
As an organization that promotes peace, humanity and love, ICIR wishes to condemn in totality the roles being directly played by the Emir of Ilorin and the ones being played indirectly through his islamic extremists.
ICIR hereby calls on the Kwara State Government to urgently initiate an inter-faith dialogue to enable each religion know that Nigeria remains a secular state and that no religion or faith is superior to another.
No respected monarch in Nigeria is supposed to encourage religious terrorism or religiously motivated harassment and threats. Therefore, the role of the Emir in impairing the freedom of one religion to the advantage of another, leaves much to be desired. It translates to religious intolerance which can snowball into a large scale war if not nipped in the bud. To this end, It is pertinent to make it clear to the Emir of Ilorin and all muslim leaders in the State that, according to the UN chatter of freedom, everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion. This right includes “freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community, with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance”.
ICIR hereby calls on the Security Agencies in Kwara State to arrest those clerics who threatened and invaded the home of the Osun priestess. They should be brought arraigned and prosecuted for inciting religious violence and for terrorizing a fellow Nigerian citizen who was only exercising her freedom as enshrined in the Nigeria’s constitution among other documents.
Finally, ICIR has resolved to use all legal means available to stop religious marginalization, discrimination and slavery in any part of Nigeria where there are traditionalists. This is a way to strengthen the nation’s legal framework and deter a large scale religious warfare.
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