Isese Day: Security Agencies Storm, Take Over Yemoja River In Kwara

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Operatives drawn from the Nigeria Police, Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Authority, Department of State Services and military formations in Kwara State on Sunday were on guard at the Yemoja River in the Oko Olowo area of Ilorin, Ilorin South Local Government Area to prevent a security breach.


The PUNCH gathered that the security men were drafted to the river to prevent a clash between the traditional religion adherents otherwise known as Isese and Islamic preachers who had vowed to prevent the traditional worshipers from celebrating Isese Day at the riverside.


Though the security men were on alert at the premises of the river, neither the traditional worshipers nor the Islam adherents were sighted by The PUNCH correspondent for the celebration of the festival.


However, the Isese festival celebration was held at Shao, one of the traditional towns in Moro LGA of the state.

Isese Day: Security Agencies Take Over Yemoja River In Kwara

Speaking with journalists at the Yemoja riverside, the state Commissioner of Police, Mrs Ebun Adelesi, who led the operation, said the heavy presence of security operatives was to keep peace and protect lives and properties.


“The security men are here to maintain peace, we are not here to deprive anyone of his or her fundamental human rights. They have been drafted to this place since yesterday to protect the people of the state.


“The security personnel are here to maintain peace. We have to be alert as a result of what the two sides are saying. We cannot allow the security and peace of the state to be breached. Kwara State is a state of harmony,” she said.


The Oba Etutu of Shao, Chief Mobolaji Ajakitipa, who said he celebrated the festival as an annual event in his home, noted that he is an adherent of traditional religion.


“We practise traditional religion in Shao. It is a Yoruba traditional town from Oyo Ile which had existed before Ilorin was founded. We have to celebrate our own Isese festival.


Oba Etutu commended the police commissioner for the security and action she took in preventing worshipers from other places to come to celebrate in the state this year.


He, however, appealed to the Kwara State Government to grant recognition to traditional religion worshippers and declare a holiday for the annual Isese festival as being done in the Yoruba-speaking states.


The Kwara State Police Command had earlier advised the traditional religion worshipers not to hold the celebration as planned for Sunday, August 20, in the state saying that security report did not favour holding the Isese festival while the International Council of Ifa/Orisa Religions announced the postponement of Isese festival celebration in Ilorin, Kwara state capital.


The Kwara State Council of Ulama (Islamic clerics)  in Kwara on Tuesday warned those planning to celebrate the traditional religion or Ifa festival in Ilorin to retrace their steps.


The council warned that the Ifa festival, under any guise, would not be allowed in any part of the Ilorin  Emirate, comprising  Asa, Moro, Ilorin East, Ilorin West and Ilorin South LGAs.

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