Despite lacking the constitutional power to do so, the Ooni of Ife, Adeyeye Ogunwusi, ordered a restriction of movement in Ile-Ife, Osun Sttae, from 11:00 p.m. to 5:00 a.m.over incessant criminal activities.
It was gathered that armed robbery, among other criminal activities, is gradually becoming the order of the day in the town.
The development was reported to have forced the traditional council members and some local security to keep vigil in some areas through the night, last Friday.
The Ooni, in a statement, through the Lowa of Ife, Abraham Ademola, had ordered restriction of movement in the town since Saturday night.
“The Imperial Majesty, Oba Ogunwusi, has ordered lockdown from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m.in Ife township from today, (Saturday).
“No vigil, no night party, night prayers in all churches and mosques, among others.
“This is because robbers and bandits’ presence in Ile-Ife is on high which is causing the community sleepless nights.
“The police with the local securities are now in the community to ensure security. Anyone caught within these hours will be treated as such. The restriction is till further notice.”
Ooni’s constitutional power
Monday Ubani, a former vice president of the Nigerian Bar Association, said he is not aware of any part of the Nigerian Constitution empowering a monarch to declare curfew anywhere in the country.
“Curfew is within the power of a civil government, it is not within the power of any traditional ruler. Only the President, can declare a curfew,” Mr Ubani said.
The 1999 Constitution, in sections 305 to 308, “only recognises the powers of the president to declare a curfew in some parts, or the whole nation at large, due to threats to life, or security, or health emergencies, and that by law, a governor can not declare a curfew on his own.”
Repeated attempts to speak with the police in Osun State were unsuccessful. Phone calls and text messages remained unresponded.
‘No curfew in any part of Osun’
The Secretary to the Osun State Government, Wole Oyebamiji, said in a statement that there is no restriction of movement in any part of the state.
He, however, cautioned residents to avoid reckless movements especially at odd hours of the day.
“The Government of the State of Osun wishes to inform the public that there is no curfew of any nature in any part of the state,” the statement read.
“The government is assuring citizens that Osun remains safe regardless of the activities of a few criminal elements. This government has never and will not fold its hands while a few criminal elements decide to violate the rights of other citizens.
“Those found culpable of disrupting the peace of Osun will face the full weight of the law if apprehended. Anyone who has found delight in being a trouble maker has the option of relocating elsewhere if they cannot do without fomenting trouble.
“Citizens are advised to cooperate with the government and security agencies by raising the alarm about suspicious movements within and around their communities. Citizens are also advised that, while going about their legal activities, they should avoid night crawling and moving about at odd hours of the day.”
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