Five days after, outrage continues following the deadly attacks by some masqueraders in some parts of Ado Ekiti, including invasion of St. Andrew’s Anglican Church in Oke Ila.
It was gathered yesterday the masqueraders stormed the church on Friday night during a prayer vigil, and smashed the head of a worshipper with a broken bottle.
The victim was left in a pool of his blood.
The church vicar, Venerable Zacchaeus Olu Ibitoye, described the attack on the church as “barbaric and sacrilegious”.
He said God’s sanctuary must be hallowed and respected.
The cleric said he and other worshippers were in the church when one of their members, who was returning home after prayers, was chased back by cudgel-wielding masqueraders.
Ibitoye added that the case was reported at the police station, and the culprit was arrested.
The victim, he said, was rushed to hospital after losing much blood.
The cleric, who added that palace chiefs visited the church on a fact-finding mission, said the incident was also reported to the Bishop of Diocese of Ekiti, Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion), Reverend Christopher Omotunde.
The alleged excesses of the masqueraders made the Ewi, Oba Rufus Adeyemo Adejugbe, to announce a ban on their activities on Saturday, calling on the police to arrest any masquerader sighted anywhere in his kingdom.
The government followed up with a public announcement on Monday, outlawing masquerades in the state capital.
It was alleged that ‘Paragogo’ masqueraders were behind the attacks on the church, shops, offices, vehicles and motorcycles.
They collected money from innocent citizens, motorists and motorcyclists.
But the Odogun of Ado Ekiti, High Chief Obayemi Aladetoyinbo, said the attack on St. Andrew’s Church was carried out by suspected robbers and cultists.
Aladetoyinbo explained that the attack occurred at 5 AM on Friday, a day preceding his festival, and that it will be wrong to point fingers at his people.
He added that he had reported to the police several times about cultists in Oke Ila, and wondered why nothing has been done to abate the situation.
He said: “I have taken time to report activities of cultists during a meeting of Ado-Ekiti Security Advisory Committee about these cultists, who have taken over Oke Ila.
“At times, they will be shooting into the air sporadically in the daylight, and this is becoming so bad, and I think they were responsible for the attack, and this is condemnable.
“They stole money, bags and phones that Friday, and we were holding our preparation on Saturday when they came here. What happened at the church was not a masquerade issue. Those boys had gone there to lay siege to people who went for vigil.
“We invited Governor Mr. Ayodele Fayose to our festival, and I don’t think we could invite the governor, and at the same time be fomenting trouble.
“The masqueraders that came from Oke Ila are not my masqueraders. There is no masquerader that can come out before 5 AM. I myself that is here, my life is in danger because the boys are always there smoking Indian hemp.”
Police spokesman Alberto Adeyemi said some suspects have been arrested in connection with the attacks.
He declined to mention the number of suspects arrested.