An Ogun State High Court sitting in the Ipokia Local Government Area of the state has declared as illegal the imposition of a curfew in daytime on the people of Ipokia by Oro cult. The court further declared that Oro festival or ritual could only be carried out between midnight and 4am, subject to approval by the relevant authorities.
The court also held that the participants would be required to write an undertaking to keep the peace during the festival.
While delivering judgment in a suit filed by the Christian Association of Nigeria and Muslim Community in Ipokia against Oro festival, Justice Sikiru Owodunni, ordered that Oro worshippers had no constitutional authority to impose curfew on residents of Ipokia, Idi-Iroko, Ihunbo, Ifonyintedo, Ogosa, Koko, Ilashe, Ibatefin, Agosasa, Oniru, Mede, Ajegunle and other villages in the area at daytime.
The counsel for the applicants, Kayode Samson and David Folalu, had told the court that the respondents used to perform the Oro festival in the bush and in the middle of the night, claiming that women and men who did not belong to the cult were not permitted to see Oro.
They further complained that the respondents began to extend the celebration into the main part of the communities, therefore, declaring and imposing daytime curfew for the purpose of the celebration.
Samson said, “When the Oro festival is on, women and men who do not belong to the cult are compelled to stay indoors, while businesses, churches, mosques, government parastatals, schools and public places are also compelled to be closed down, thereby, depriving the applicants of their freedom of movement and lawful assembly.”
Owodunni, in his judgment, gave a perpetual injunction restraining “the respondents, their privies, agents and cohorts from declaring or imposing a daytime curfew or in any manner interfering with the fundamental rights of the applicants to freedom of movement.”
He ruled, “It is hereby declared that Oro festival or ritual can only be celebrated in Ipokia, Idi-Iroko, Ihunbo, Ifonyintedo, Ogosa, Koko, Ilashe, Ibatefin, Agosasa, Oniru, Mede and Ajegunle and other villages between the hours of midnight and 4am, subject to the government approval and undertaking to maintain peace.”