Fire Guts Akiolu’s Palace as Staff Leads Monarch to Safety

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• Social media goes agog, Nigerians blame incident on slight on Ooni of Ife

Chiemelie Ezeobi

The massive structure housing the Iga Iduganran palace of the Oba of Lagos, Oba Rilwan Akinolu, was on Tuesday gutted by fire that lasted for several hours.
As the fire raged, the first step of the staff on duty was to lead the monarch out of the palace to safety, just as moves were made to contain the inferno to prevent it from spreading to other parts.

Immediately information filtered out, officials of the Lagos State Fire Service drawn from the Sari Iganmu and Ilupeju stations were deployed to battle the flames.
Although the cause of the fire was yet to be ascertained, reports however alleged that it started from the monarch’s bedroom before it spread to other parts of the palace.

However, a contrary report had it that it was a section that was gutted by fire after an explosion occurred in one of the air conditioners in one of the apartments inside the palace.
The explosion emitted balls of fire which destroyed the furniture and other items in the room before it spread to other parts of the palace.
As the fire raged, balls of fire spread from the windows to the roof, thereby alerting the residents of the area who were initially ignorant of the incident.

As expected, pandemonium erupted as people ran helter skelter, forcing the police and the palace security to shut the gates of the palace to prevent curious passersby from gaining access.
Additional policemen were deployed and stationed at the palace to maintain law and order and to prevent opportunists from capitalising on the chaotic situation.

The fire incident came barely two weeks after Akiolu had allegedly publicly snubbed the Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi, at a public function, which raised the ire of Nigerians and other traditional rulers.
Already, Nigerians are linking the fire incident with the alleged threats by the Ife Royal House that they would invoke the gods to revenge the perceived snub on their monarch.

Although the Ooni had immediately countered the statement from his royal house, preaching peace and forgiveness, Nigerians while reacting to the incident on social media could not help but draw conclusions to the incident.
Some of the commentators on social media were of the opinion that the fire must have been the gods of the land avenging the slight on the Ooni of Ife.

For instance, one Odih Daniel said: “He has not seen anything yet. No one fights with the gods and sleeps in peace. He should apologise and seek forgiveness, and he will find his peace again.”
Georgina Patrick said: “The gods are angry and the ancestors too. Oba Akiolu please apologise.”
Harry Iyere said: “They (Ife Chiefs) told him that they will invoke their ancestors and gave him time to tender apologies but he refused.
“Oba Rilwan, just know that this is what happens when Ogun, Orunmila, Sango, Obatala (all Yoruba gods and deities) decide to come together, rub minds and collaborate on your matter.

“Oga please swallow your pride and run to Ile Ife and do the needful before something else happens.”
However, others like Bridgette Shane begged to differ, stating: “In your minds, the gods did it to give him warning. There is only one God. I pray no one got hurt. To me, something else caused the fire, not gods.”
Nwosu Uchechukwu said: “The incident just met with unfair utterance and some people take it as real and said the gods are at work.”