The Ondo State Government has warned the Deji of Akure, Oba Aladetoyinbo Aladelusi, not to be drawn into open confrontation with it.
It said the order of the monarch closing markets and shops for the observance of the age-long tradition of Aheregbe festival is a violation of the law.
Oba Aladetoyinbo had said there would be no trading or opening of shops under any guise during the festival.
He urged residents, market women, and shop owners to comply with the directive even as he exempted pharmacy shops and patent medicine stores from the closure of their shops during the festival.
But Ondo State Commissioner for Information and Orientation, Mrs. Bamdele Olateju, in a statement, said the Executive Council had directed that there should be no closure of markets in any part of the state without the approval of the Governor.
Olateju said the Akure monarch’s order constituted a clear violation of an existing order of the Government, and an abridgement of the right of Akure residents to the pursuance of their livelihood.
According to her, “The public should note that even if approval was sought, such closure would have been limited to Ọjà Ọba (Oba’s Market) in Akure.
“We urge our respected Royal Father, His Majesty, the Deji of Akure to respect the government’s decision and refrain from any action that can inconvenience, and, or inflict economic pain to Akure inhabitants. We also ask that the cordial relationship between the revered stool of the Deji not be drawn into open confrontation with the government.
“Akure residents are urged to go about their normal business on Friday and beyond, in pursuance of their freedoms. No market or shop shall be closed by anyone either by coercion or threat of force before, during, or after Aheregbe festival. Whoever flies in the face of this directive will draw the ire of the government. The government of Ondo State asks that; everyone should be law abiding and move about freely in the pursuit of happiness.”
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