Ifa Traditionalists Condemn Harassment by Oyo State Police
The International Forum of Araba/Oluawo Agbaye, a group of traditional worshippers in Oyo State, have issued a statement condemning the continued harassment and intimidation of their members by the Oyo State police command. The statement, signed by Chief Ifálérè Odegbemi Odegbola II, the Araba of Ibadanland and Olú Ìṣẹ̀ṣe of Oyo State, accused the state police command of targeting and harassing their members, particularly when they go to Oje market and other markets in Ibadan to purchase herbal ingredients.
The group claims that since the recent arrest of some individuals alleged to be ritualists, the police have been unjustly profiling their members as potential sellers of human parts. Chief Odegbola emphasized that while they condemn ritual killings, selling of human parts, and other social vices, it is wrong for the police to categorize any individual buying herbal ingredients as a potential offender. He further noted that Ifa religion does not support such acts and that many suspected ritualists arrested with human parts are not authentic Ifa practitioners.
According to Chief Odegbola, the Forum has been working to correct the misconception that anyone dealing with herbs is an Ifa priest (Babalawo). He clarified that herbalists, pastors, and alfas also engage in herbal practice and should not be mistaken for Ifa priests. He added that the group has been exposing the activities of fake Ifa practitioners and has previously handed over one such individual to the police.
The Araba of Ibadanland called on the Oyo State Commissioner of Police to intervene and put an end to the incessant harassment and intimidation of Ifa traditionalists in the state. He emphasized that the group has been working to sanitize their communities and expose fake practitioners, and as such, their members should not be targeted unjustly by law enforcement officials.
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