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Festival: Devotees shun warning, drink from contaminated river

Osun Osogbo Festival devotees on Friday shunned the government’s warning not to drink water from the Osun Osogbo River as it is not currently safe…

Osun Osogbo Festival devotees on Friday shunned the government’s warning not to drink water from the Osun Osogbo River as it is not currently safe for human consumption. 

The Osun State Ministry of Health had warned that the Osun River had been contaminated by the activities of gold miners in the state. 

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But the devotees, who also took some of the water home, said drinking from the Osun River offers them healing. 

The devotees and traditionalists from different parts of the world on Friday converged on Osogbo, for the annual Osun Osogbo International Festival which is accompanied by traditional rites and sacrifices.

The worshippers trooped to the Osun Osogbo shrine to perform rites and offer prayers while tourists explored the sacred Osun grove during the grand finale of the annual festival. 

Various Yoruba groups and organisations registered their presence at the event, drumming and dancing.

Policemen, operatives of the Nigeria Security and Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) and personnel of the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) were deployed to prevent a breakdown of law and order during the festival. 

The Aare Onakakanfo of Yorubaland, Chief Gani Adams, led members of Oodua People Congress (OPC) from Lagos to Osogbo for the festival. 

The Director General, National Commission for Museums and Monuments, Prof Issa Tijani Abba, who was represented by the director in charge of Heritage Monuments and Sites, Victoria Osuagwu, encouraged Nigerians to cherish and keep their culture.

The state governor, Adegboyega Oyetola, who was represented by Secretary to the State Government, Prince Wole Oyebamiji, said his administration was committed to promoting the festival by ensuring peace.