Ooni’s Burial Rites: Non-indigenes, Students Flee Ife; OAU Authority Announces Curfew

By Timothy Agbor, Osogbo

Ahead of the Oro festival for the final rite of passage of the late Ooni of Ife, Oba Okunade Sijuade slated for Wednesday, 12th August, 2015 in the ancient town of Ile-Ife, students of the tertiary institutions in the town have started migrating from the town till the rituals are ended.

Checks by our correspondent around the town on Tuesday, 11th August, 2015 revealed that residents of Ife, especially non-indigenes are afraid and some of them have decided to vacate the town until the burial rites for the late monarch is concluded.

Speaking with a traveller at the Ilesa Motor park at Mayfair area of Ile-Ife, she expressed fear saying “if this people (Oro cult members) can come out and warned people against coming out on Wednesday, then it shows how serious the rituals can be. So, its better I leave the town until the rituals are completed.”

The traveller, a non-indigene who simply identified himself as James said “I am worried that in this era, some people are still primitive and values ritual practices.”

Also, a student of The Polytechnic Ife, parakin area who was also seen carrying a bag to the park said she was travelling home because of the burial rites of the monarch who died in London Hospital recently.

The student who identified self as Linda Afam entertained fear saying “my mother called me to come home because of the ritual they want to perform tomorrow (wednesday). I could stay indoor but my parents insisted I should come to Lagos saying its safer. I am even afraid too.”

Some parents were sighted on the campus of Obafemi Awolowo University, OAU on Tuesday apparently to take their wards home.

At the park around the Mozambique and Angola Halls of the school, parents were seeing discussing with some students while some parents drove home with their wards.

Meanwhile, the Dean of Students’ Affairs of OAU, has placed a curfew on its students asking them to stay indoor till the duration of the burial rites.

This directive was contained in a release issued and signed by the Acting Dean, Dr. Mrs. I. M. Durosinmi on Tuesday.

It reads: “This is to inform the generality of students that there shall be a curfew in Ile-Ife, on Wednesday, 12th of August, 2015 from 9am to 4pm and from 11pm till dawn.

“Students are therefore strongly advised to stay on campus and those off-campus to remain indoors.

“The Division of the Students’ Affairs counts on the maturity and sense of responsibility of Great Ife students and appeals to all students to comply with the information and continue to keep the peace.

Consequently, it was gathered that classes and Continous assessment tests fixed for the day would not hold.

Some students have expressed their desires to leave Ife for the period of the Oro festival.

Speaking, a part one student of English Department of OAU, Lawrita Chinoyerem disclosed that she would be travelling to stay with her parents until the burial ends.

Investigation by our correspondent revealed that some parents have telephoned their wards asking them to visit home.

It would be recalled that the Awara of Iwara-Ife, Oba Layi Adereti on Monday, 10th August, 2015 while speaking on the preparedness of the burial of the monarch said the Oro festival is the final rite of passage for the Ooni stating that Wednesday between the hours of 9am and 4pm have been fixed for the final pronouncement of the demise of Ooni.

Oba Adereti who is also the head of Oro Cult in the entire Ile-Ife said that all residents of the ancient town whether male or female would remain indoor during the Oro rite.

He declared that after the Oro rite and proclamation, subsequent rites will follow, appealing to all residents to heed to the restriction order from the palace.

The monarch added that though only female are normally barred when Oro festival is being carried out but this time around, it has no respect for any gender.

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