- One person has been killed following a clash between Oro traditional worshippers and church congregants in Lagos
- The incident was said to have occurred at the midnight on Tuesday, August 23 in the Oko-Oba area of the state
- No fewer than nine persons have been arrested by the Lagos state police command in connection with the murder
Lagos, Oko-Oba - There were chaotic scenes in the Oko-Oba area of Lagos state on Tuesday, August 23 where residents were thrown into pandemonium following a clash between Oro traditional worshippers and church congregants of Truth and The Spirit Prophetic Church.
The Punch newspaper in its report said that the clash ensued when a man known as Akeem Adebisi (a tailor) joined his folks in performing the Oro traditional rites in the middle of the night when they notice that a church vigil was ongoing.
According to the Yoruba ancient history, Oro is a deity of bullroarers and justice. While performing the Oro ritual, females and non-natives are mandated to stay indoors.
The Oral traditional history of the Yoruba people has it that Orò must not be seen by women and non-participating people.
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Going by this norm, the Oro worshippers approached the church ordering the prophetess, Mercy Okocha, and the congregant to suspend the church program.
Legit.ng gathered that the prophetess ignored the instruction and an argument erupted between both parties.
During the cause of the brawl, Akeem was allegedly stoned to death by one of the church congregants while some other persons involved in the physical fight sustained injuries.
It was gathered that the clash between both parties also led to the destruction of the church properties which includes fans, chairs, and musical instruments.
Residents recount incident
Some of the residents who witnessed the incident said a prior notification was issued by the traditional Oro worshippers but the church did not heed to it.
Alhaja Sariyu a resident of the area in her account said:
“After the announcement, we went indoors very early only to wake up the following day to discover that there was apprehension everywhere.
“The Oro procession has been on for years. So, nobody expected that this particular one was going to be bloody. As a matter of fact, the church has been there for close to five years.”
In another account, a trader who resides in the area but pleaded anonymity stated that the alleged church is known for usually having vigil programs and that it may have been the reason why the clash ensued.
Jamiu Issa a participant of the Oro festival who was right there on the spot when the incident happened revealed that the mob action was triggered by the church.
“We hold our procession every August 22. Before we started our procession that night, we saw some members of the church outside around 10 pm, and Akeem went to meet the woman (prophetess) to suspend their program and instruct her members to go inside.
“So, when we started at midnight, we saw them again and chased them inside the church. Around 1 am on our way back, we saw them again and they started throwing stones, bottles, and coconuts at us.
“The prophetess asked her female members to go inside, while she and the male members attacked us. They smashed a coconut on Akeem’s face; he collapsed and started bleeding on the spot.
“We rushed him to about three hospitals but he was rejected. We were told he had lost a lot of blood. He died around 4 am on our way to the Lagos University Teaching Hospital.”
The father of the deceased, Wasiu Adebisi, while giving his own account said he got hold of the incident at midnight.
He narrated that the deceased is his first son stating that he is usually the one who makes announcements and notify people about the ritual.
Mr. Adebisi said when he got to the scene of the incident and saw his son’s condition, he could not bear it.
“I just returned home while his colleagues took him to hospital. It was in the morning that they told me that he died.”
Community head reacts to incident
Reacting to the incident, the Baale of Gbirinmi, Oko Oba, Razaq Alawode condemned the attack.
“Even when the police came to arrest her, they were scared to enter the church. I was the one that led them inside the church where we found some strange spiritual items. We want the police to ensure that justice is served.”
Efforts by our correspondents to speak with a member of the church proved abortive.
Police intervene, arrest prophetess, 9 others
Meanwhile, the Lagos police command confirmed the incident stating that normalcy has been successfully restored in the area.
Lagos police spokesperson, SP Benjamin Hundeyin revealed that at least nine arrests were made including prophetess Mercy Okocha.
He also noted that investigations are ongoing and the corpse of the deceased has been transmitted to the mortuary for autopsy.
In Yobe, police arrest 2 soldiers for killing Islamic cleric, stealing his car
In another development, a top Nigerian Islamic scholar, Sheikh Goni Aisami Gashuwa has been reportedly killed by two soldiers.
The soldiers were said to have attempted to steal his car while on his way back to Gashu’a town from Kano state.
Yobe police command identified the suspects as John Gabriel and Adamu Gideon, both lance corporals.