Following the outbreak of the Ebola virus in West African countries like Guinea, Sierre Leone, and Liberia, the Osun State Government has declared that tourists from outside the state would not be allowed to participate in the forthcoming Osun Osogbo Festival scheduled to hold on Friday, 22 August, 2014.
This was disclosed at the weekend by Osun State Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr. Sunday Akere at a press conference in Osogbo, saying that the move was part of measures to prevent the spread of Ebola virus to the state.
He noted that efforts were being made by the state government to make Osun an Ebola-free state.
The commissioner, who lamented the high spread of the Ebola virus in Nigeria since the late Patrick Sawyer brought the disease to the country from Liberia on 20 July, 2014, stressed the need for traditionalists, especially Osun devotees, to co-operate with the state government in its bid to prevent the spread of the deadly disease.
Akere informed that this year’s Osun Osogbo Festival would be celebrated in low key, but with all traditional rites and sacrifices by the Osun devotees in Osogbo alone.
He explained that the state government had restricted movements of non residents of Osun to the state, saying this would help to prevent the spread of the disease to the state.
Akere informed that only traditional worshipers and well-wishers, who are resident in the state, would be allowed to partake in the celebration of the Osun Festival to minimise bodily contacts among the people.
However, Akere stated that the decision of the state government was not to deprive the festival of its usual glamour or keep people away from enjoying the event but to prevent the outbreak of Ebola disease in the state.
According to the Ministry of Health in Nigeria, at least two other people have died of the disease while eight others have been confirmed to have contracted the diseases in Nigeria.