High Chief, Moses Enimade, the Oyewoga of Ode Irele in Ondo State, says the deaths were caused by sacrilege done to Molokun, god of the land.
Speaking with News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Irele ,Enimade debunked the rumour that the deaths were caused by a strange disease or Ebola virus.
According to him, some stubborn youths broke into the inner room of Molokun Shrine on April 15.
“Molokun is a deity of the land, only the Chief Priest and High Chief Gboguron are qualified to enter the shrine,” he said.
The chief said the youths entered the shrine and made away with traditional 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.
The Oyewoga said he could not remember the last time Malokun or any other gods had to strike like this in the area.
According to him, there is no community or town without its own culture and tradition; what happened in Irele is the judgement of the gods on stubborn youths.
“Even the Kabiesi 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,’’ he said.
He restated that the deaths were not caused by diseases or ebola as widely speculated. He emphasized that the death caused by Molokun is characterised by severe headache and blindness, which are the symptoms experienced by victims of the strange disease.
“Proverbs 29:1 in the Bible says: ‘he that had been reproved and hardened his neck shall suddenly be destroyed without remedy; so youths of nowadays must be careful,'” Enimade said.
Some residents who spoke with NAN appealed to the chief priest to make necessary atonement to avert calamity in the town.