Heavy security forces were deployed to strategic locations in Akure, the capital of Ondo state, on Monday after tensions over the closure of major markets in the old town to mark the celebration of the annual Aheregbe festival
The development became necessary to ease tension and prevent a potential clash between the youth of Akure and the over-the-counter Isikan community to open up the markets in the Isikan community for business.
Tribune Online saw two police vans stationed in front of the palace of the traditional ruler of Isikan, Oba Oluwagbemiga Ajimokunola Olofin-Adimula, Arulewolasi III, the Iralepo of Isikan.
There was tension over the urging of the youths of Isikan to open shops and markets in deference to the command of the Deji of Akure, Oba Aladetoyinbo Ogunlade Aladelusi, Odundun II.
Akure’s Deji had in a statement ordered the closure of markets and stores in Akure and the surrounding area on Monday, insisting Isikan remains part of Akure.
But the Iralepo of Isikan, in a statement issued on Sunday, warned the youths of Akure extraction not to force the closure of markets and shops in its domain.
The Iralepo of Isikan, speaking to journalists at his palace Monday morning, said the state government had intervened in the situation, asking him to close markets and shops to allow peace.
According to him, “Aheregbe is a festival for the people of Akure and Oba Ile only and not for Isikan.
“Isikan is a different community from Akure. We have our festivals different from Akure. Our culture is different from Akure’s.
“Our ancestors are different. Our beliefs are different from Akure’s. At that time, the markets are closed only in the Akure community and not in Isikan.
“We are never part of Akure. The Governor has told us, through the Deputy Governor, that we must let peace reign and that markets and shops must close.
“The stores are not closing for Aheregbe, but for safety reasons. I told the Iyaloja from Isikan Market.
“They do what is forbidden and the consequences are theirs. It will follow them until the 7th generation.
“This is the last time we close our markets and stores, it won’t happen again. Our boys are out, but we don’t want blood. Isikan is never part of Akure. They met me here. I am the original owner of the land.”
At the Isikan Market, young people and some leaders were seen urging the merchants to display their wares and open their shops.
Isikan youth leader, Mr. Samuel Michael, said they were on parade at the Isikan market to prevent Akure youth from forcing the shutdown.
“They celebrate Aheregbe in Akure, but Isikan is in his domain. We parade to make sure Akure boys don’t enter Isikan. We want to make sure that traders open their stores so as not to cause any problems. This is a traditional market. It’s not the Akure market. This market is opening.”
The Iyaloja of Isikan Chief Bolarinwa Victoria said the Akure guys knew the traditional implications of storming the market.
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