Ondo death tolls is a conflict between traditional beliefs and science

Report made it known that what happened in Irele, a remote and agrarian community in Ondo State, last week can best be described as a conflict between traditional beliefs and science.

Over 20 persons died mysteriously in the two communities of Ayadi and Irele  within a period of five days but the state government claimed that 18 casualties were recorded.

Ever since the ugly incident happened, there have been discordant of reasons adduced by government, the World Health Organisation, WHO and the natives of the community.

However, the conflict between tradition and science manifested when government insisted that the mysterious deaths in the community would be tackled scientifically, but the natives and the traditionalists disagreed. They insisted on toeing the line of their fore-fathers to appease the angry god whose shrine was allegedly desecrated.

It was further learnt that the perpetrators of the alleged desecration were middle aged boys who are desirous of getting quick money to enjoy life outside the community. They reportedly ignored the repercussion and dared the god of the community who was said to have, like lightning, fought back, killing over 20 persons in quick succession.

The corpses of the deceased were not allowed to be buried within the community but in a far away forest in order not to further anger the god.

The victims, however, succeeded in carting away some sacred objects which they allegedly sold to some foreigners who moved them out of the community. The whereabouts of the objects are still unknown, while none of those the god allegedly struck dead, confessed their involvement before dying.

The god, according to a source in the community, first made the victims blind before striking them dead.

But the Ondo State government would buy none of this unscientific theory. Medical reports which emanated from samples forwarded to relevant health bodies, according to government sources, showed that those who died were mainly young men who operate commercial motorcycles (Okada riders) in the town.

Ondo State Commissioner of Health, Dr Dayo Adeyanju, said weekend,  that those who died were mostly Okada riders who were believed to have consumed ethanol poison in the community.

Government is therefore saying that the strange disease which ravaged the community is not contagious and not the dreaded Ebola Virus Disease, EVD. They attributed it to the consumption of locally distilled liquor (Ogogoro) by the deceased which contained poison.

But the natives and the traditionalists have  faulted this submission. According to them, the ugly development in the community is beyond science and would be best tackled traditionally because those who allegedly desecrated the Malokun shrine were subsequently dealt with to show the potency and efficacy of the god.

Newsmen learnt that the community took some measures to stop the calamity while government busied itself looking for the  medical reasons and  remedies to be applied.

One of the measures taken by the natives include the invitation of a 19-year-old Prophet Kelvin Akintan, who was said to have predicted the ugly incident few weeks ago,  to seek the face of God on the matter.

A source from the town said that a crusade was organised and held at Methodist Primary School. It was attended by virtually everybody in the town, including the traditionalists.

A heavy downpour shortly after the crusade was seen by members of the community as a good omen. According to them, the symbolic rain signified that the calamity has been washed away.

Before this, the traditionalists reportedly instructed owners of all the houses in the community to volunteer a person each who will fetch a bucket of water to be poured at the Malokun shrine.

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