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ISESE: Urhobo Lawyer Malcolm Omirhobo sues Ilorin Emir over Prohibition of Yoruba Sacred Festival

Prominent Nigerian lawyer and activist, Chief Malcolm Omirhobo has taken legal action against the Emir of Ilorin, Dr Ibrahim Sulu-Gambari, alleging that the Emir obstructed the Isese festival, a significant event for traditional religion followers in Ilorin, the capital of Kwara State.

Omirhobo confirmed to News agencies on Wednesday that he is seeking a state high court judgment stating that the purported actions of the Emir and other Islamic leaders constitute a violation of constitutional rights. These rights include the freedom of human dignity, freedom of thought, religion and conscience, freedom of expression, and the freedom of peaceful assembly.

The International Council for Ifa Religion (ICIR) announced on Tuesday that due to a prohibition by the Kwara State Command of the Nigeria Police Force, it had to call off its planned Isese festival in Ilorin.

Oluwo Solagbade Popoola, the President of ICIR, signed the announcement. He claimed that the police, in a meeting with traditional worshippers, cited security concerns as the reason to cancel the proposed Isese Day, which was scheduled for August 20.

In a related incident in July, the Majlisu Shabab li Ulamahu Society, a Muslim group, allegedly visited a traditional religion priestess in Ilorin, discouraging her from conducting her planned Isese celebration. The priestess, Yeye Ajesikemi Olokun Omolara Olatunji, a follower of Osun, had publicized a three-day event to honor various Yoruba deities. The group, labeling the Isese festival as idolatrous, claimed that the Emir of Ilorin had publicly denounced such activities.

In his lawsuit, Omirhobo seeks a court ruling affirming that Ilorin, like all of Nigeria, is a multicultural and multi-religious city, and that the Emir does not have the constitutional power or authority to ban the Isese festival. He is also asking the court to issue a “perpetual injunction” restraining the Emir and his representatives from interfering with his constitutional rights and those of other worshippers.

The case is currently awaiting assignment to a judge in the state judiciary, according to the legal practitioner.

SOURCE: Sahara Reporters

IMAGE: The Nigerian Lawyer

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