The recent religious crises in Ilorin have taken a new dimension as the International Council for Ifa Religion (ICIR), a global body of adherents of traditional religion, broke its long silence on the matter with an official statement condemning the role of the Emir of Ilorin and describing it as a social incitement against non muslims, particularly the traditionalists.
HRM Alhaji Zulu Gambari Emir of Ilorin
In a 7-point official Press Release signed by the President of the Council, Oluwo Solagbade Popoola, ICIR calls on the Kwara State Government to be proactive in dealing with the situation which, according to the organization, is capable of igniting a full scale religious inferno that could have a far-reaching effect on the peace and stability being enjoyed in the State.
Oluwo Solagbade Popoola President, ICIR
Below is the full text of the official Press Statement:
Social Incitement Against Traditionalists To Forment Religious Violence In Ilorin: The Position of ICIR.
Sequel to a thorough review of the various actions, pronouncements and commentaries on the brewing religious crisis in Ilorin, International Council for Ifa Religion (ICIR), an umbrella body of global adherents of Ifa and Orisa with its Headquarters in Nigeria, hereby makes its position public through the following statements:
ICIR considers as very unfortunate and ominous the invasion of the home of an Osun priestess in Ilorin, the stoppage of the planned celebration of the Aje Cultural Festival by the Emir of Ilorin and the open threat flagrantly and carelessly issued against the life of the poor woman, as well as all traditionalists in the listed areas of Ilorin by some islamic clerics who claimed to have been sent by the monarch.
ICIR considers those event and action as potential predicates of an upcoming fatal religious and Human Rights violence; Kwara State Government is therefore advised to be very proactive.
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As an organization that promotes peace, humanity and love, ICIR wishes to condemn in totality the roles being directly played by the Emir of Ilorin and the ones being played indirectly through his islamic extremists.
ICIR hereby calls on the Kwara State Government to urgently initiate an inter-faith dialogue to enable each religion know that Nigeria remains a secular state and that no religion or faith is superior to another.
No respected monarch in Nigeria is supposed to encourage religious terrorism or religiously motivated harassment and threats. Therefore, the role of the Emir in impairing the freedom of one religion to the advantage of another, leaves much to be desired. It translates to religious intolerance which can snowball into a large scale war if not nipped in the bud.
To this end, It is pertinent to make it clear to the Emir of Ilorin and all muslim leaders in the State that, according to the UN chatter of freedom, everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion. This right includes “freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community, with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance”.
ICIR hereby calls on the Security Agencies in Kwara State to arrest those clerics who threatened and invaded the home of the Osun priestess. They should be brought arraigned and prosecuted for inciting religious violence and for terrorizing a fellow Nigerian citizen who was only exercising her freedom as enshrined in the Nigeria’s constitution among other documents.
Finally, ICIR has resolved to use all legal means available to stop religious marginalization, discrimination and slavery in any part of Nigeria where there are traditionalists. This is a way to strengthen the nation’s legal framework and deter a large scale religious violence.