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Save Bara, Historic Old Oyo Empire Town From Destruction, Scholar Begs Alaafin




Archaeologist and author of a major new book on Yoruba history, Akinwumi Ogundiran, has called on the Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi, and other key personalities of Yorubaland to intervene urgently to prevent Bara, a historically significant town of the ancient Oyo Empire, from being destroyed.



Bara, burial site of several past Alaafins who are major figures in Yoruba history, is undergoing rapid deforestation due to arable farming and cattle grazing on an unsustainable scale.



Thousands of trees are being cut down illegally, precipitating a looming environmental crisis and destruction of historical artefacts including an ancient wall in the old town, which scholars believe should be a protected heritage site, due to its special significance in Yoruba history.



There are fears that if something is not done urgently, there will be little or nothing to salvage in an ongoing 10-year archaeological project that holds the key to a better understanding of the Oyo Empire in particular and Yoruba history in general.




Ogundiran, Chancellor’s Professor and Professor of Africana Studies, Anthropology and History at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, USA, has been leading the Old Oyo Archaeological Project in Bara since 2017.



He disclosed that it had been the plan that, based on the project’s findings over the last five years, he will collaborate with the Nigerian National Park Service to recommend Bara to the Federal Government for protection as a historical site.



However, hopes are fast fading as the town’s historical integrity is being compromised on a massive scale.




“This is one of the well-preserved sites that should be maintained. We are recovering some evidence to tell generations that this is what happened at this place,” Ogundiran said of Bara, which is located in the Kaiama Local Government Area of Kwara State, and is not currently within the jurisdiction of the National Park Service.



According to Ogundiran, “Archaeology work is a prolonged process; it takes time to accumulate data. You can only be here for a month at a time or a maximum of two months. We collect the data and go back, but it takes a lot more time to process the data than even excavate it. This thing takes time, but unfortunately, we are running against time and also the priorities of other people who are here.”



The professor noted that it is only the Alaafin that can stop Bara’s destruction as things stand.



“He is the only one who has the moral authority to intervene. Intervention would take many levels. First is for the Alaafin to send delegates to take possession of the site. That is easy to do because all he has to do is consult with the Emir of Bani. This place is now under the jurisdiction of the Emir of Bani.



And Emir of Bani, I believe, understands the importance of this place.


“The next thing is for the Alaafin to send delegates here; at least maintain a presence at the site. The Alaafin as well should initiate the process of how this site can become a historical site. We have all the pieces of evidence that we can use. Some places in Nigeria do not have this level of importance and are enlisted as historical sites.



“Immediately Alaafin can come in, and say: ‘Listen, this is where Ajagbo, Obalokun, Onisile and many other Alaafins were buried; I want to take possession of my ancestral land.’ That does not mean kicking people out, but just saying there are rules of engagement.


“You can graze in limited areas to allow archaeological work to continue because it would take 20 years of archaeological work before we can amass all the data we need.”



Ogundiran, author of ‘The Yoruba – A New History,’ said of the ongoing archaeological project in Bara: “What we have done so far is important. We have made some great discoveries, but if we can preserve this site, there’s more to learn about the history of the Oyo Empire.”

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Art and Culture

I Don’t Want to Die, Actress Seyi Ariyo Begs Masqueraders Threatening Her Life




Nigerian actress and filmmaker, Seyi Ariyo, also known as Shebaby, recently took to her Instagram account to raise the alarm that her life is being threatened by masqueraders.



In the video, the teary-eyed actress revealed that she had been getting life-threatening messages from these masqueraders because of a scene in her forthcoming movie, which portrayed a woman having sex with a masquerade.



In the Yoruba culture, such an act is seen as taboo. However, the sex scene leaked online and ever since she has received over 200 threat messages. 

In an exclusive chat with PUNCH, she said, “They are really threatening my life; I am not alleging it.


I received over 200 calls from them a few days ago. Some called to curse me while others said I will die in the next seven days. 



“I had to switch off my phone. I learnt they released my number to the worldwide platform of herbalists and traditionalists. They said that I want to destroy our culture and traditions.


They have not watched the movie, that is why we have this misunderstanding. 



“We recorded a part where a masquerade had sex with a lady and even in the movie, we made it known that it is a taboo.


The herbalist in the movie told the woman that if she performs the act, her child will be well, but it will have a repercussion. She was desperate so she went ahead with the ritual. 



“Some people recorded that scene with their phones and one of them posted it on Facebook. That is how the masqueraders saw the clip and felt offended. They called me and said they will use me as a scapegoat because actors are used to ridiculing masquerades, which are their gods.”



The actress said she has been begging them and also called other colleagues to beg them on her behalf, including Mr Latin, who is the president of their association, TAMPAN. 


According to her, because she did not get any positive feedback, she decided to go on social media to voice out.



Ariyo noted that she was given seven more days to live and the ultimatum will expire tomorrow. 



The distressed actress stressed that she has tried every available option to pacify the masqueraders.



She said, “Today is the sixth day and they vowed to kill me after seven days. I have spoken to many Yoruba monarchs to help me talk to them as well because it is their worldwide association that is angry with me; their global platform. 



“I recently got a call from their leader, who identified himself as Prince. He told me that he will speak to their public relations officer to direct all their members to desist from cursing me.


I have the recordings of most of the threats and I wanted to go to the Commissioner of Police to file a complaint, but I was advised against it so that things do not escalate. 



“They were not happy about the social media post and I was told to delete it, but I cannot because people would think this is a publicity stunt for the film. So, I cannot pull it down. I am sorry for the scene and I have even removed it from the film.


I don’t want to die. They should forgive me, they should not do anything wicked to me or my colleagues.”

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Art and Culture

We Won’t Tolerate Imposition Of Monarch In Our Kingdom-Oloto Royal Family 



Oloto Royal

The Oloto Royal Family of Iddo and Lagos Mainland recently urged politicians to stay away from their king-making process, adding that the imposition of monarchs on kingdoms by politicians is allien to their culture and tradition.
The call was made by chiefs of the ruling houses at a recent meeting held in Lagos.
Present were Chief Mohammed Bashir Ayinla Akinola, the Odofin Oba and Secretary of Oloto Royal Family;  Chief Lamina K. Akinlolu, the Ojomo Oba and Head Baalo Ruling House; Chief Jubril Adebayo Oloto, the Aro Oba and Head of Olupejobi Ruling House, and Chief Shamusideen Adisa Pedro, the Eletu Oba and Head of Eru-Ifa Ruling House, all representatives of the three ruling house of The Oloto Royal Family of Iddo and Lagos Mainland.
The chiefs revealed that their call for politicians to stay away from their affairs follows speculations of an attempt by some very powerful persons in Lagos State to impose a monarch on the kingdom following the death of the last King, Oba Ganiyu Okeyide Odesanya who reigned between 1990 and 2016.
A statement signed by the Secretary of the ruling houses said “We are dismayed that persons are trying to impose a candidate  from Olupejobi ruling house, which produced the past Oba.”
The statement further said “the act is not only against the culture and traditions of the Oloto Royal Family practised over six centuries ago, but against the express provisions of the aforementioned declaration which is an official record of the government of Lagos State.”
Chief Jubril Adebayo Oloto, the Aro Oba and Head of Olupejobi Ruling House while speaking noted that prior to the installation of Oba Okeyide Odesanya, the chiefs, kingmakers, branch heads and entire Oloto Royal Family identified three ruling houses in Otto namely Olupejobi, Baalo, and Eru-Ifa Ruling houses, with succession to the throne to rotate from Olupejobi through Baalo to Eru-Ifa ruling houses.
He further noted that the attempt at imposing a candidate on the kingdom is against the  express declaration of late Oba Okeyide Odesanya whose wish  and declaration was that a person from Baalo ruling house should succeed him.
According to him, the move to impose a candidate from the ruling house which produced the last Oba is one which if allowed to succeed will breed problems in Otto and distort the peaceful co-existence of the people in the area.
He thus urged people who are not familiar with the culture and tradition of the kingdom to halt their attempt at causing unrest with their planned imposition of a candidate outside the ruling house who is supposed to produce the next monarch, adding that the ruling houses are capable of handling their affairs.

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Art and Culture

Omu Resort Takes Delivery Of First Zebra In Lagos



Omu Resort

The resort located at Bogije, Ibeju Lekki, Lagos State recorded the landmark achievement with the recent delivery of two Zebras to the resort.

With the arrival of the Zebras, Omu Resort officially becomes one of only a small number of zoos in Africa to have the zebras grace it’s facility.

The black and white stripped Zebras thus increase the numbers of animals in the zoo section of the resort.

Speaking on the achievement, Moji Ibhaze, General Manager of Omu Resort said:  “Omu Resort has always been first.

“I will say that its a big achievement for us and we are happy to have the Zebras as an addition to the other animals we have in our zoo.

“We are trying to promote conservation and captive breeding. We are thus extremely proud of the landmark recorded.”

Further, Ibhaze said that Omu Resort is proud to be the pioneer of a sea world, adding that a visit to Omu Resort’s sea world would avail visitors a collection of fishes that are peculiar to Nigerian waters.

“If you visit our sea world, you will see how we keep our fishes in wall aquariums and they are all indegenous to Nigerian waters, none is imported.”

Ibhaze reinstated Omu Resort’s commitment to wildlife, adding that the resort intends to bring in more animals especially endangered ones.

According to her, the resort is working with Professor (Mrs) Morenikeji of the University of Ibadan towards achieving the dream.

“Our Eland has also arrived even as we expect two Girrafes in the next 8 weeks. Space is also currently under development to receive our elephants.

Meanwhile, Happiness Michael, a staff of the resort has stated that the arrival of the Zebras will be a business ace.

According to her, “Ordinarily, when people come into the zoo section of the resort, they settle for the feeding of the lions as their premium experience. After seeing the lions, they ask us what else do you have? I tell them that we have several other animals and they are indeed happy to see them.

Now, i can tell them that we have taken delivery of two Zebras. That will definitely put some smile on their faces this Easter period.”

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