Oro worshippers say contrary to the position of the League of Imam and Alfas in Iseyin, no court judgment has prohibited the imposition of curfew during its festival.
This is contained in a statement in Ibadan jointly signed by counsels to the respondents following the judgment in a case instituted by Alfa Yusuf Muhyideen for himself and on behalf of the League of Imams and Alfas, Iseyin against late Aseyin of Iseyin, Oba AbdulGaniy Salaudeen and 16 Oro worshippers.
The counsels are Chief Matthew Adeoye, Mr Adewale Adegoke, Mr Taiwo Aworinde and Mr Olatunji Adeoti.
The statement notes that the submission by the League of Imam and Alfas that the consent judgment abrogated curfew during Oro festival in Iseyin is clearly reading into the judgment what is not there and could be tantamount to belittling the ruling of the court.
“Our attention has been drawn to the report circulating on social and mainstream media, of a news conference organised by the League of Imams and Alfas in Iseyin Local Government area of Oyo State on Thursday, 11th August 2022, during which it was reported that the organisers of the event, which was allegedly held in Ibadan, Oyo State, said something to the effect that the judgment of the court in Suit No. HSY/MISC. 6/ 2019 had prohibited the imposition of curfew during Oro Festival in Iseyin, Oyo State.”
“The regrettable aspect of the news conference organised by the League of Imams and Alfas is that the applicants’ counsel in the two cases referred to above, Mr A. A. Olowonjaye, who should know the import of the judgment and the extent to which his clients could use it, was himself also at the conference and encouraged the propaganda that certain Oro rites had been abolished by the judgment.”
“The insinuation at the conference by the League of Imams and Alfas, and their counsel, Mr Olowonjaye, that it had “become illegal for Oro worshippers to declare curfew for their festival as such would negate the ruling of the court” is grossly misconceived and not borne out of the judgment as they could only speak for the applicant and those he represented in the suit and not anybody else”.
“The crux of the news conference to the effect that the consent judgment earlier mentioned has abrogated curfew during Oro festival in Iseyin is clearly reading into the judgment what is not there, and will constitute a willful derogation from it”.
The counsels explained that while it is a fact that the imposition of curfew by Oro faithful is a prominent feature of the festival, only the applicant, and, by extension, the League of Imams and Alfas whom he represented in court, could claim protection under the judgment and not the generality of the people in the town.
“While it is conceded that the imposition of curfew by Oro faithful is a prominent feature of the festival, only the Applicant, and, by extension, the League of Imams and Alfas whom he represented in court, could claim protection under the judgment and not anybody else.”
The statement notes that “it is necessary to make this rejoinder in order to put things in proper perspective and douse the tension generated by the report that curfew has been abolished during Oro festival in Iseyin”.
“We consider it necessary to make this rejoinder in order to put things in proper perspective and douse the tension which the report has generated in Iseyin and its environs”.
The counsels noted that after about three years of contentious litigation, parties were advised to settle amicably and they all embraced the advice in good faith and dialogued, which led to the judgment on the 30th of June that neither the applicant nor the respondents shall disturb, harass, intimidate, attack or do any act calculated to disturb, harass, intimidate or attack either party in the exercise of their religious beliefs.
“The dialogue led to the filing of a Terms of Settlement dated 29th June 2022 and filed the same date, but adopted by the respective counsel and made a judgment of the court in the suit on the 30th June 2022.”
The statement emphasizes that among the deducible from the judgment is that it is not a win-all situation for either of the parties in the suit as the consent judgment imposed rights and obligations on both parties.
“That the Applicant represented only the League of Imams and Alfas in Iseyin and no other place, and the judgment is therefore binding on parties to it only; and that the judgment prohibits both parties from infringing or curtailing the religious rights of each other.”