The Oyo State Government on Tuesday in Ibadan appealed to the custodians of the Egungun festival in the state to shun violence.
The appeal was contained in a statement jointly signed by the State Commissioner for Information, Culture and Tourism, Toye Arulogun, and the Special Adviser to the Governor on Community Relations, Alhaji Abidemi Siyanbade.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the annual Egungun festival commenced in the ancient city of Ibadan on Monday.
He said: “Peace, security and safety has been consistently the major discussion during the series of stakeholders’ meetings involving heads of masquerades across the state.
“Government officials, custodians of the masquerades, the Olori Alaagba, the Aare Isese from all the geographical zones of the state and security agencies have always attended the meetings preceding the 2018 Egungun season.”
It stated that another stakeholder meeting would be held on Wednesday to further deliberate and consolidate on the modalities and conduct of masquerades during the 2018 Egungun Festival.
The state government said that all efforts were aimed at giving the festival the prominence it deserves while also promoting its rich cultural values and tourism potentials.
It disclosed that 23 out of the 27 masquerades in the state had signed a non-violence pact with the Oyo State Police Command.
The state government said it had also secured the commitment and readiness of the security agencies in the state toward maintaining peace, law and order during the period of the Egungun festival.
It commended the Olubadan of Ibadanland, Oba Saliu Adetunji, for embracing the peace initiative of Governor Abiola Ajimobi during the festival through admonition of the custodians to maintain peace and order.
The state government urged masquerades to curb the excesses of their followers as promised during the meetings with government officials.
It called on the masquerades to celebrate the Egungun festival in the age-long norms and traditions without violence.