Some Muslims have been speaking on how they were attacked in Idi Omoh Mosque, Ilare, Ile Ife, Osun State while observing Solat Asri prayer by Oro traditional worshipers on Thursday afternoon.
Some Muslims had embarked on protest in the ancient town over the attack by Oro worshippers on Friday. They vowed to continue with the protests if the perpetrators of the attack were not arrested and punished.
Spokesperson for Osun Police Command, SP Opalola Yemisi Osun confirmed the attack.
According to her, the oloobatala worshippers attacked the Muslims at their worship place.
She, however, said investigation of the attack is still ongoing.
However, the attack has generated religious tension in the town.
Some Muslims involved have also been speaking on how they they were attacked by the Oro worshippers who forcefully entered their mosque last Thursday afternoon and immediately requested to see the Chief Imam, Lateef Adesiyan.
According to one of those present during the attack, Mr Abdulazeez Bashir, the Oro adherents broke through the fence and began flogging worshippers with canes, instructing them to leave the ablution area.
“One of them even attacked the Imam, Alhaji Abdullateef Adesiyan while coming into the mosque. He was beaten with a cane and hit on the face with a rod.
“When I discovered that about five persons had been injured, apart from the Imam of the mosque, I had to call the Ife Chief Imam, Alhaji AbdulSemiu AbdulHammed to intimate him with the happenings.
“The situation could have escalated into a big crisis when other Muslims began to gather around, but the traditionalists eventually left. The victims were later taken to a hospital for treatment,’’ Bashir said.
Also, the Secretary, Nigeria Union of Teachers, (NUT), Ife Central, Mr Tajudeen Adesiyan, stated that the Muslims were about to observe Solat Asri prayer when they were attacked.
He said the Oro traditional worshipers were returning from their shrine, when they forcefully entered the mosque and they were asking for Imam Lateef Adesiyan.
“It happened inside the mosque and the mosque was destroyed. there was pool of blood of those injured. We are telling Nigerians that the constitution allows everyone to practice his religion as he likes,” he stated.
He observed that there has never been a day when Christians would ask Muslims to stay indoors for religion event, but the traditional worshipers were intolerant of other religions.
The Secretary emphasized that they are going to end the indiscipline act of the traditional Oro worshippers in Ile-Ife.
Another eye witness, Mr. Bashir AbdulAzeez said, “We were about to observe our Salatul Asr on Thursday evening around 4:30 pm, when scores of Oro worshippers “attacked us as we did our ablution.
“They attacked us and told us to move away. Before we could explain anything, they have started to beat our people.
“They invaded the mosque and destroyed the Quran and other properties,” AbdulAzeez stated.
According to him, the Imam and five other Muslims have been receiving treatment at the Obafemi Awolowo University Teaching Hospital Complex, Ile-Ife.
When contacted, the Chief Imam of Ifeland, Alhaji AbdulSemiu AbdulHammed, stated that the Palace had intervened in the matter.
The Chief Imam indicated that Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi, Ọjájá II, had called him to appeal to Muslims to be patient as the matter would be resolved amicably.
He emphasised that the Ooni promised to bear the hospital bills of the injured persons and rehabilitate the vandalised mosque.
He said the head of Olorisa worshippers would be arrested and brought to justice, and reaffirmed that there is fundamental human right of freedom of religion in the land.
The Chief Imam urged Muslims to be law abiding in their protest.
Also, the Chief Imam of Ifeland, Alhaji AbdulHammed, told NAN on Friday that the trouble had been settled.
He confirmed that the traditional religion worshippers assaulted the Imam of Idiomo Mosque, Ilare, Alfa Adesiyan, inside the mosque.
AbdulHammed called for maintenance of fundamental rights of religion, speech and peace among others.
“There is no family throughout Africa that practices one religion.
“There should be freedom for individuals to practice whatever religion they choose without coercion,’’ he said.
The Chief Imam appealed to indigenes to ensure that they maintained peace and orderliness during each festival in the town, stressing that there is no profit in violence.
Meanwhile, Mr Sakariyau Adesiyan, the former Chairman, Nigerian Union of Teachers (NUT) and Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) in Osun state, has said that there’s the need to end procession by adherents of Oro in daylight in Ile-Ife.
Adesiyan made the call in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Friday in Ile-Ife.
“This must be the end of daylight Oro procession in Ile-Ife. This is not the first time they have been attacking Muslims and Christians in daylight.
“What happened yesterday (Thursday) was barbaric and satanic, because the person that was attacked was inside the mosque. Those who are praying were inside the mosque.
“They have once attacked people. So, we are saying enough is enough. The Muslims are not happy with what they did,” Adesiyan explained.
According to him, Oro adherents came into the mosque and attacked Muslims.
The Ex-NLC Chairman stressed that they want the perpetrators punished, adding that the people will continue their protest if those involved are not arrested.