Owo, an ancient city in Ondo State, wore a mournful look on Thursday following the demise of its traditional ruler, Oba Folagbade Olateru-Olagbegi, at 77.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the news of the death of Oba Olateru-Olagbegi, which filtered in on Wednesday morning as a rumour, was officially confirmed on Thursday morning.
A NAN correspondent, who visited Owo, noted that people were seen discussing the development in groups in some strategic locations of the town.
It was observed that there was no human or vehicular restrictions in the town while economic activities were ongoing except at the palace and the king’s market.
When NAN visited, the palace was not accessible as the palace guards were on standby to prevent unauthorised persons from entering the palace.
NAN also observed that trees within the market had been cut off as part of the traditional rites for the late monarch.
Speaking with NAN, Chief Niran Osuporu, the personal assitant to the late king, said that the monarch died Tuesday night in his palace after a brief illness.
Osuporu added that traditional burial rites for the late king had started according to the customs of the ancient town.
He said that there was no restriction on movement as all processes were peaceful.
Osuporu, who is one of the high chiefs of the town, said that the king’s market had been temporarily moved to another location until another king would be selected and installed in line with tradition of the town.
He told NAN that all chiefs were forbidden to put on their beads as a mark of mourning of the late king.
Mr Shina Olateru-Olagbegi, a younger brother of the late monarch, said that the death of the king was shocking but noted that the town was still calm and peaceful.
Olateru-Olagbegi also confirmed that all necessary arrangements had been made for the traditional burial rites of the departed monarch.
One of the indigenes of the town, Dr Adebayo Owa, told NAN that the demise of the king had put the whole town into a mourning mood.
Owa, who is a lecturer at Federal University, Oye Ekiti, described the reign of the late king as very peaceful.
He prayed that the existing peace would continue in the town during the reign of the next king.(NAN)