A seven-day curfew will begin after the remains of the late Ooni of Ife, Oba Okunade Sijuwade, Olubuse II, must have been buried on Friday, the town’s chiefs have said.
The spokesperson for the chiefs, Chief Dejo Adejobi, told news men on the telephone on Thursday that the restriction of movement for the rites would start from 4pm today and would past for the next seven days.
But asked what the chiefs would do to ensure that the curfew would not affect visitors who would attend the burial, Adejobi said, “I understand you. Yes, we cannot invite people for the burial service and still restrict their movement. But you should understand that the service will start by 10am and the restriction of movement will start from 4:pm.”
Meanwhile, the burial rites which would herald the interment of the late monarch continued on Thursday as town criers from the palace moved round the town to enforce the chiefs’ order.
A resident, who witnessed the scene, Wunmi Adeoye, told our correspondent that the town criers beat their gongs as they moved round, warning residents not to come out tomorrow because movement would be restricted to enable the chiefs to carry out the remaining rites.
The town criers, according to him, warned violators of the order to be ready to face the consequences of their action.
He said, “Around 9.30am some persons from the palace came to Oja Titun and started beating traders and driving away traders. They said the people knew the burial rites still continued but came out to dare them.
“They have shut down the market and they said the rites would continue for seven days.”
Speaking with our correspondent, a resident who said she had visited Itakogun Market to buy some things, said some palace messengers went round ordering traders to immediately close their shops and vacate the markets in compliance with the order.
At Sabo Market, which is mostly populated by non-indigenes, traders hurriedly closed their shops as the news of the closure order of markets reached the place.
Some residents frown on the way the palace messengers flogged traders and those who crossed their path, saying they palace chiefs ought to have gone to the radio station to inform everybody that markets would be closed for seven days.
The announcement of movement restriction may confusion among those who were invited for the interdenominational service which would be held for the monarch before his remains would be interred at the palace.
The interment, which would take place inside the palace, it was gathered, would only be witnessed by some traditional chiefs.
The gates of the Ooni’s place were ajar when our correspondent visited the place on Thursday. This, the chiefs said, was one of the signs that the Ooni had left the world.
Preparations were also in top gear for the burial as workers were seen clearing the bush from Ife Junction to the main gate of the Obafemi Awolowo University on Thursday.