The harassments of innocent citizens by Oro worshippers and enthusiasts in Ikorodu continued on Tuesday despite assurances from the monarch and the threat by the police to deal with anyone who hinders free movement of women, The Renaissance reports.
Exuberant youths, holding canes in their scores were seen stopping, beating and turning women away from entering the town from the popular Ikorodu roundabout while the policemen deployed to maintain peace watched helplessly.
The Renaissance recalls that the Lagos State Police Command had on Monday had vowed to deal with anyone caught restricting the movement of women in Ikorodu during the marking of the annual Oro festival.
In a joint press release with the police, the Ayangburen of Ikorodu, Oba Kabiru Shotobi also assured citizens of peaceful celebration without molestation of women, even as the monarch recanted the content of his earlier letter directing restriction of women’s movement.
Oba Shotobi had in a letter dated April 24, 2018, reiterated the age-long tradition of no movement for women during the festival.
The letter which went viral on social media kept tongues wagging with many wondering why any festivity in this modern age will forbid the movement of women and locked them indoors while the festival lasts in a city like Lagos State which prides itself as the Center of Excellence.
But at a meeting with Oba Shotobi; the palace chiefs; and the Lagos State Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Alhaji Muslim Folamion Monday, the Commissioner, Lagos State Police Command, Edgal Imohimi, warned the traditionalists not to tamper with the right of movement of women in the town.
Imohimi warned that the police would not tolerate any discriminatory tradition against the female gender, stressing that the Command would deal ruthlessly with anyone who hid under the guise of customs or tradition to foment trouble in the state.
He, therefore, enjoined women to go about their lawful businesses without let or hindrance.
In the same vein, at the meeting, Oba Shotobi said it was unthinkable for a man, with his level of exposure to do or say anything that would be seen as discriminatory against the female gender.
He added that the festival would hold without denying the female folks their right to freedom of movement.
But while the meeting ended with a joint press statement assuring the people of Ikorodu that the festival would be peaceful, the policemen watched helplessly as Oro enthusiasts, mainly youths, prevented free movement.
A motorcyclist was denied entry and beaten mercilessly for attempting to convey a lady into the town.
Another lady who simply identified herself as Rose was also turned back as she tried to work into the town through the roundabout at Ikorodu Garage expressed surprised at the assault.
“I was surprised to see so many men with cane preventing women from entry. I had the news this morning on the radio and from headlines that movement of women shall not be curtailed but the reverse is the case now.
I came all the way from Ibadan to visit a friend who has been ill,” she said
A police officer who spoke on condition of anonymity said they were helpless because of the confusion caused by the contradictory releases. The Oba’s release had been in circulation for days before the press statement from the Commissioner of Police which came late yesterday.
“So the boys who are mostly unaware of the latest development simply think they are acting on the earlier release by the Oba. It is only hoped that such confusion will not trail the next one, which is scheduled to come up in two weeks time,” he said.
By Adeyinka Aremu, Ikorodu