A body of Ìṣẹ̀ṣe Practitioners in Nigeria, Isese Welfare Association (IWA) has appealed to President Bola Tinubu to urgently wade into a brewing security situation in Ilorin, Kwara State, where a member, Omolara Olatunji, popularly known as Yeye Ajesikemi was being threatened by some Muslim fanatics who were against her celebration of the 2023 Isese Festival in Ilorin.
In a Press Statement made available to newsmen on Thursday and signed by Coordinator of the body, Aderemi Ifaoleepin and the Secretary-General, Ifagbenusola Popoola, IWA also called on the Kwara State Governor, AbdulRahman AbdulRasaq, the Department of State Security and the Police authority to look into the matter and ensure the provisions of the nation’s constitution on freedom of religion is followed to the letter.
Omolara Oladipo (Yeye Ajesikemi) was said to have been threatened by fanatics physically and through other means over the week for her preparation towards the 2023 Isese Festival, scheduled to hold on the 24th of July, 2023, with the claim that Ilorin belonged to the Muslims alone.
According to the Coordinator of IWA, every available means of intimidation and death threats were applied by the fanatics to discourage the organizer of the event to cancel the celebration, which is held globally by adherents of Ìṣẹ̀ṣe religion.
He added that instead for the police authority in Kwara State to wade in and enforce the provisions of the constitution in allowing the freedom of religious beliefs, the victim was told to cancel the event.
“We greet you all in the name of all the Irúnmọlẹ̀ / Òrìṣà and particularly Almighty Olódùmarè. Over the week, we have seen how some fanatical Muslims in Ilorin, Kwara State capital seriously threatened and intimidated an Oníṣẹ̀ṣe (a practitioner of Ìṣẹ̀ṣe – Yorùbá Indigenous Religion) in the person of Yèyé Ajéṣìkẹ́mí Olókun (Omolara Olatunji) whose Ìṣẹ̀ṣe festival was scheduled to take place along Secondary School Road, Oke Andi, Ìlọrin, Kwara State between 22nd and 24th of July, 2023 which has to be cancelled, due to serious threat to her life, and supposedly for security reasons, based on the stern warning and advice of the police.
“We are constrained here to ask these simple and straight questions: is Ilorin no more a Yorùbá community or no more part of Yorubaland? Is Ilorin now solely a Muslim Community? Do people still have the rights under Nigerian Constitution to practice whatever religion they subscribe to? If truly, Islam is a religion of peace, is threatening others over their belief system an act of peace? What does peace mean to these sets of fanatical Muslims in Ilorin?
“It is not only unethical, unlawful and a gross act of misconduct against the right of freedom of worship, but a sheer act of wickedness for the fanatical Muslims in Ilorin community to dictate the mode of worship and religious practices to be observed in “llorin Emirate”.
“Certainly, this act of religious intolerance by these fanatical Muslims in Ilorin calls for a review and reflection by the appropriate authorities.
“Now is the time to say NO to this uncivilised acts of denying others their constitutionally guaranteed rights of observance of their Indigenous Religious obligations.
“Consequently, we urge the President of Nigeria, His Excellency, Ahmad Bola Tinubu, who is a true son of Yoruba land to wade in and give directives to the security agencies to give utmost protection to our people, same appeal goes to the State Governor, an injustice to one, is an injustice to all.”
The body emphasized its support to the organizer of the event in Ilorin, Kwara State, Yeye Ajesikemi and other Oníṣẹ̀ṣe (Ìṣẹ̀ṣe Practitioners) in the State and all over the world, stating that they will not keep quiet or turn blind eyes to any injustice to its members from any quarter.
They went further to preach peaceful coexistence among religious bodies and practitioners to engender human development.
“We, at Ìṣẹ̀ṣe Welfare Association (IWA), aka Ìṣẹ̀ṣe Assembly through this medium wishes to inform the general public that we are solidly behind Yèyé Ajéṣìkẹ́mí and all other committed practising Oníṣẹ̀ṣe in Ilorin, Kwara State. And that we will not keep quiet or turn a deaf-hear to this ugly development orchestrated by these sets of extremists/fundamentalists hiding under a religion to threaten and intimidate others. Embrace peace! Love one, love all!! Live and let others live!!!”