A group of traditional worshippers of the Ijo Orunmila Apapo Odu Traditional House of Worship at Ikorodu has lamented over the constant harassment their members face from the Police. The founder of the group, Chief Ifaleke Awurela, confirmed the victimization of their people and attest that it is an abuse of their fundamental human rights.
According to the founder of the Ijo Orunmila Apapo Odu Traditional House, Chief Ifaleke Awurela, complained that quite a number of their members have reported several cases of harassment from security operatives. Chief Ifaleke revealed this during a press briefing at the stereotype of traditional worshippers in Nigeria ahead of their 2019 anniversary held in Lagos.
Chief Ifaleke said “The Nigerian Police force sees traditional worshippers as easy targets for racketeering, using the fear mechanism employed to harness continuous harassment, victimisation, and infringement of members’ fundamental rights as enshrined in the Nigerian constitution.
“We wish to express disdain and dissatisfaction over the continuous harassment by officers of the Nigerian police force, targeted on traditional worshippers. Several cases had been reported to various temples, where officers of the police force harass, extort, victimize and coerce traditional worshippers to submission based on their religious association and affiliations.
“We reiterate that traditional worshipping is aboriginal and that the Nigerian constitution recognises it. The records have to be set straight and stereotypical impressions reversed as officers of the NPF cannot continue to denigrate our religion and way of life in the public domain by harassing members of the Ifa tradition.
He added that traditional worshippers deserve the same respect the Christians and Muslims get from the Nigerian Police. Also, that they should enjoy equal rights with other religions, Ifaleke argued.
Obviously, religious identity in Nigeria does not account for numerous traditional religions that exist in Nigeria. However, the group of Ijo Orunmila has sought the right to be respected and treated fairly in the larger society.