The Olubadan of Ibadanland, Oba Lekan Balogun, has lifted the suspension he placed on the annual celebration of Egungun (masquerade) festival in Ibadan and its environs.
Olubadan had on Sunday, July 16 suspended further celebration of the annual festival following spate of violent clashes recorded in some parts of Ibadan.
However, Oba Balogun in a statement on Friday announced the lifting of the suspension.
In the statement signed by the Personal Assistant Media to Olubadan on media, Oladele Ogunsola, the traditional ruler said the suspension was lifted after a meeting between the Olubadan and the heads of masquerades (Alaagbaas) in the land.
Ogunsola said a letter has been sent to the Oyo State Police Commissioner, requesting the Command to make adequate provision for security coverage for the masquerades and their supporters.
It stressed that the Alaagbaas had commited themselves to peaceful celebration of the festival and good conduct from their adherents.
“Following this development, His Imperial Majesty therefore seeks for your esteemed co-operation by ensuring adequate security coverage for the masquerades and their supporters just as an order is also given that whoever engages in any act of violence must not be allowed to go Scott free.
“His Imperial Majesty reiterates his zero tolerance for any form of brigandage or violence in the course of the celebration of the festival and at all times, ” the letter addressed to the Commissioner of police stated.
It would be recalled that the Olubadan wielded the big stick owing to occurrences of violence, but, had to be lenient with the masquerades in view of the importance of the festival to the metropolis with a stern warning that any of them found formenting trouble would face total ban.
The Alaagbaas, had during the meeting pleaded with Olubadan to temper justice with mercy , explaining the violence that occurred was not as a result of rivalry among masquerades, but were caused by hoodlums, hiding under the cover of the festival to attack innocent residents and loot shops.
The Alaagbaas also appealed to security agents to be more committed to the safety of lives and property of the people.
“We don’t believe or engage in violence as admonished by our revered monarch and we pledge our co-operation with the security agents not to interfere in their line of duty.
“Let them arrest whoever is found causing trouble and any of us that shows up with a view to secure bail for such identified and arrested criminal should be detained alongside the culprit,” they said.