As masquerades in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital begins their annual Egungun Festival today, the Olubadan of Ibadan land, Oba Saliu Akanmu Adetunji, has called for peaceful conduct among masquerades and their followers during the three-week long festival.
According to the monarch, the festival is a celebration of Ibadan custom and tradition, warning that it should not be turned into an avenue for unleashing terror and violence on the people.
The monarch said law enforcement agents had assured the residents of their readiness to maintain law and order by arresting and prosecuting those who cause mayhem during the festival.
He said: “As a monarch, my appeal to our people is to celebrate the festival within the ambit of the law. Also, I will like to persuade our people to avoid the use of weapons, such as guns, daggers, machetes and broken bottles, not only during the Egungun Festival but also after it. The long arm of the law would not spare any merchant of violence.”
Last year, 18 vehicles were destroyed at Akuro and Igbonna in Ibadan when some masqueraders engaged street urchins in a free-for-all, leaving the residents to tell tales of woes.