Govt bans masquerade parade in Imo community over insecurity

The Imo State Government has banned display by masquerades in communities in the Ideato North Local Government Area of the state.

The Imo State Government has issued a ban on the display of masquerades within communities in the Ideato North Local Government Area.

The directive, communicated through a statement addressed to Eze K.N. Kanu, Chairman of the Ideato North LGA Council of Traditional Institutes and Community Policing, was issued by Eze Emmanuel Okeke, Chairman of the State Council of the Institute.

The statement, dated December 1, was observed by journalists in Owerri, the state capital, on Monday.

Imo State, like many regions in Nigeria, has grappled with various security challenges in recent times. Kidnappings, communal clashes, and other criminal activities have raised concerns among both residents and authorities. The ban on masquerade displays is a strategic move by the government to curb any potential misuse of cultural practices that may contribute to or exacerbate existing security issues.

The government’s decision has sparked diverse reactions within the affected communities. While some residents acknowledge the necessity of the ban in light of prevailing security threats, others express concerns about the potential erosion of cultural traditions. Masquerade displays are deeply ingrained in the cultural and social activities of these communities, serving as a form of entertainment, religious expression, and historical preservation.

Eze Emmanuel Okeke, Chairman of the State Council of the Institute, emphasized the gravity of the security situation in the directive. In the statement, he underscores the need for communities to prioritize the safety and well-being of their residents over cultural practices. The government’s decision is not a blanket condemnation of masquerade displays but rather a temporary measure aimed at addressing immediate security concerns.

The statement titled Security Directive from the chairman, Imo State Council of Traditional Institutions and Community Policing, read, “Considering the security situation in some parts of the state, the state government has directed that all forms of masquerade displays in all communities in your LGA should be suspended forthwith till further notice.

“Furthermore, any traditional ruler, or masquerade group in Ideato North LGA that disobeys this directive will face serious sanctions from the state government.

“Endeavour to make sure every traditional ruler in your local government area complies with this directive.”

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