The Olubadan of Ibadanland, Oba Saliu Adetunji, Aje Ogungunniso 1, has directed all masquerades in Ibadanland to observe this year’s Egungun Festival in their respective homes in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the state.
He gave the directive as confirmed cases in Oyo State hit 282 as of May 30, 2020, with 96 discharged cases, six deaths, and 180 active cases.
The first-class monarch made the order as the festival has been billed to begin this week, saying the order does not spare any masquerade, irrespective of grades. The masquerades include Alapansanpa, Oloolu, Oyi, Abidi-Elege, and Atipako.
Oba Adetunji made the disclosure in a release signed by his Personal Assistant and Director of Media and Publicity, Mr. Adeola Oloko, which was made available to journalists in Ibadan on Sunday.
Apart from observing their rituals from their respective homes, he also tasked the masquerades to pray for the speedy end to the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to the monarch, “The decision not to have long procession this year is not unconnected with the novel coronavirus pandemic and the need to observe rules associated with social distancing.
“The boisterous nature of the festival has made it imperative for all masquerades to stay at home and perform all necessary rites until the authorities state otherwise.”
Oba Adetunjibstated further that the decision which led to the directive that all masquerades should observe this year’s festival in their respective homes was reached after extensive consultation with the relevant authorities and stakeholders.
He, however, advised people to wash their hands, use facemasks, and maintain social distancing at all times to curb the spread of the plague.