Islamic leaders, the leadership of the Christian Association of Nigeria and traditional religion adherents have signed a pact to ensure peaceful atmosphere in the Ipokia Local Government area of Ogun State.
The stakeholders agreed that the activities of traditional religion adherents be restricted to the night in a bid to avert religious crises in the area.
The peace meeting was held at the Ikolaje community in Idiroko and was attended by religious and community leaders, representatives of security agencies and traditional rulers.
The Muslims were led by the Wakilu of Muslims in Yorubaland, Shiekh Iskeel Lawal, while CAN was represented by Pastor John Jaiyeola and the traditional worshippers were led by Chief Ayinde Ojo.
The religious leaders urged members of the community to tolerate each other and respect their differences.
They agreed that daylight celebration of the Oro festival or the performance of traditional rites must be restricted in the community.
They resolved that the rites should take place between 12am and 4am with the approval of the traditional ruler and the police.
In June 2019, irate Oro adherents had invaded the Umar bin Khatab Mosque in Odan-Aje, Idiroko, and dispersed the Muslims, who were observing their prayers.
The traditionalists, who destroyed property at the mosque and a Catholic church in the community, insisted that both the Muslim and Christian faithful acted against their warnings concerning the periodic ritual.
The traditionalists usually restrict movements and business activities in the daytime during the Oro festival.
A communiqué issued after the meeting stated that an inter-religious peace monitoring committee would be established as part of the peace agreement.
A copy of the communiqué obtained by our correspondent was jointly signed by Kehinde Obanla (representing the facilitators of the peace meeting); the Chairman Caretaker Committee, Ipokia LGA, Abolurin Abdulkadir; and Imam Iskeel Lawal (representing the Yewa Muslim community).
Others are, the Divisional Police Officer, Idiroko, CSP Opebiyi Sunday; Oniko of Ikoland, Oba John Olakunle Ojo (for the Iko-Idiroko Council of Chiefs); and the Chairman of CAN, Ipokia Local Government Area, Rev Johnson Adeniyi.
Stakeholders at the meeting also agreed that traditional religion adherents, while practising their religious rites, should respect and steer clear of Christian and Muslim places of worship and educational facilities.
The communiqué read in part, “In line with the various court decisions and memos from relevant government organs, there should no longer be daytime curfew (or local isede/ihade). Traditional religious rites should be restricted to the night time between the hour of 12am and 4am with proper approvals from the royal father, and the Divisional Police Officer of Idiroko.
“Traditional religion adherents, in the practice of their religious rites, should respect and steer clear of the vicinity of Christian and Muslim places of worship and educational facilities.
“The leaders of traditional religion adherents should agree to take responsibility for any breach of the peace that may arise from the disobedience of the law, non-compliance with the various court decisions and non-compliance with the communiqué agreed and signed here today.
“The Christian and Muslim communities should also respect the 12am to 4am period of worship of the traditional religious adherents.
“During the 12am to 4am religious rites, allowance should be made for cases of medical emergencies or other exigencies.”