Contrary to insinuations that there was a strange disease in Ode Irele, Irele Local Government Area of Ondo State, High Chief Moses Enimade, the Oyewoga of Ode Irele, has said the recent death of 20 youths in the town was the result of sacrilege done to Molokun, the deity of the community.
The fear of an epidemic disease compelled Governor Olusegun Mimiko to make a broadcast on Friday to allay fears of such an outbreak in the state. He assured the people of the state that government efforts at containing the disease, which has claimed about 20 lives, are paying off.
Enimade, next in command to Oba Cornelius Olanrewaju-Lebi, stated during an interview in Irele on Friday that the rumour that the deaths were caused by a strange disease or the Ebola virus were false. No fewer than 20 youths reportedly died after severe headache and blindness in the town recently.
Enimade contended that some youths broke into the inner room of the Molokun Shrine on April 15.
“Molokun is a deity of the land and only the chief priest and High Chief Gboguron are qualified to enter the shrine,” he said.
According to him, the youths entered the shrine and made away with sacred items in a bid to acquire extra-ordinary powers and engage in money ritual.
“They were not qualified to enter the room (shrine). They had to face death penalty,” he said.
Mimiko stated in his broadcast that, “Cerebral spinal fluid, blood and urine specimens have been taken for examination; the specimens have been cultured and examined and the preliminary results show that no known viral infection has been detected. We have further ordered toxicology test.”
As for what could have caused the deaths, the Oyewoga of Irele said, “What happened in Irele was the judgment of the gods on stubborn youths.
“Even the Kabiyesi himself is not permitted to enter the Molokun shrine’s inner room except the chief priest and High Chief Gboguron. Sacrifice must be performed before they can enter.
“Because these youths want to be rich at all costs, they entered the sacred place and made away with traditional items and 20 of them have died as a result of their desperate acts. We have to appease the gods or else many will still die and we have to bury them according to tradition. Their corpses belong to the gods and will be exhumed if buried by their families.”
Some residents who spoke with journalists agree with the Enimade and appealed to the chief priest to make necessary atonement to avert calamity in the town. They said news of the deaths have given the town and state a bad name.