By Kemi Olaitan
As this year’s Egungun festival gets underway this week in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital, the Olubadan of Ibadanland, Oba Saliu Adetunji, yesterday directed all masquerades, irrespective of grades, to observe their rituals from their respective homes and pray for the speedy end of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The monarch gave the directive in a statement signed by his Personal Assistant and Director of Media and Publicity, Mr. Adeola Oloko, which was made available to journalists yesterday in Ibadan.
According to the first class monarch, the decision not to have long procession this year is not unconnected with the coronavirus pandemic and the need to observe rules associated with social distancing.
He disclosed that 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 Adetunji said the decision was reached after extensive consultation with the relevant authorities and stakeholders, urging all residents of the ancient city to wash their hands, use face mask and maintain social distancing at all times to curb the spread of COVID-19.