Traditional Worshippers in Ogun State have warned Muslims, Christians and those they termed “recalcitrant Obas” to steer clear of the burial and installation rites of the monarchs in the State.
Newsmen recalls that the new Chieftaincy Law in Ogun has stopped the imposition of rituals or fetish practices during the installation or burial of Obas.
Cdanewsonline reports Part 8 of the new law as stating inter-alia that: “No Oba or a Chief shall be compelled to join any secret cult, secret society or any association or organisation against his wish or religious beliefs.
Any person who contravenes the provision of subsection (1), is guilty of an offence and liable to imprisonment for two (2) years without option of fine.”
The law also states that, “any person(s) who disturbs the burial of Traditional Rulers by the family is guilty of an offence and liable on conviction to Twelve (12) months imprisonment.”
It states further that, even if a traditional ruler is to be buried in accordance with the customs and traditions of the land, “his body shall not be subjected to any mutilation or cannibalization.”
But, traditionalists in the state said they are not happy with the new law because Christians and Muslims were misinterpreting the law to suit their interests.
Addressing newsmen in Sagamu, the traditionalists, under the aegis of Traditional Worshippers Association of Nigeria (Egbe Onisese Parapo), argued that the new law allows a deceased monarch to be buried in accordance with the customs and traditions of the land, citing section 55 (i-v) of the law.
By this, they submitted that, the law does not state that a traditional ruler “shall be installed or buried by either Muslim or Christian clerics or in accordance with their religion and beliefs.”
Speaking on behalf of the association, High Chief Ifasola Opeodu, however, admitted that the particular section of the law which allows family in the burial process of a traditional ruler appears controversial and will create vital lacuna between both the family and those that are entitled to observe the traditional rites together on a lifeless body of a demise traditional ruler.
Opeodu, flanked by other leaders of the association, said “Section 55 (i-v) of new Obas and Chiefs Law of Ogun State, 2021, is to preserve the necessary rites as attached to the post of traditional rulers in a given community and the section provides thus: ‘(ii) a traditional ruler shall be entitled to be buried in accordance with the customs and traditions of the land, save however, that his body shall not be subjected to any mutilation or cannibalization.”
Opeodu declared that the era of cannibalization had been abolished, saying traditional worshippers of Ogun State “are not practicing cannibalism and up till this moment, we have not seen any testimony or reliable evidence from Obas or individual to the effect that the Osugbo and the traditional worshippers in Ogun State are eating human flesh.”
He, therefore, appealed to President Muhammadu Buhari, governors and all security operatives to refrain from being used as “agents of destruction” by the “religious cabals and recalcitrant Obas” in the course of implementing the new law as it affects the installation and burial rites of the deceased monarchs.
In view of the above law which serves as a stern warning to all Muslim and Christian intruders together with the recalcitrant Obas and their sympathisers to stay out of the Obaship installation and burial processes upon the clear reflections in the said new law that Muslims and Christians are not members of the traditional institution,” he said.