The Aare Onakankafo of Yorubaland, Chief Gani Adams, has appealed to the Osun government to protect the Osun river from the illegal activities of artisanal miners.
Adams, who spoke with the News Agency of Nigeria on the sidelines of the grand finale of the Osun- festival, said the pollution of the river by the artisanal miners was worrisome.
He called on government to put an end to the activities of the artisanal miners in order to preserve the sanctity of the sacred grove.
”I want to appeal to the state government to put a stop to the activities of the artisanal miners so as to protect our heritage.
”These artisanal miners are contaminating our heritage and this is dangerous, highly ridiculous and a threat to our tourism and cultural potential,” he said.
Adams, however, expressed the belief that the Osun goddess would protect those who drank the contaminated water during the festival.
“I believe by the power of Osun, anybody that drank the contaminated water will not be affected,” he said.
Adams also called for the promotion of Yoruba culture.
”We must continue to promote our culture because if we refuse to promote our culture, we will lose our identity and history.
”By promoting our culture, there will be cohesion and unity,” he said.
Adams, who described Osun Osogbo festival as one of the oldest in Yorubaland, said it was one of the ways to promote the rich culture of the Yoruba.
“Osun Osogbo festival is not about religion but rather it is about promoting Yoruba culture,” he said.
NAN reports that government on Thursday advised tourists and devotees to the grand finale of the festival to refrain from drinking the water because of contamination.
The Commissioner for Health, Dr Rafiu Isamotu, gave the advice in an interview with NAN.
He said government embarked on sensitisation to discourage people from drinking the water during the festival as it had been contaminated by the activities of artisanal miners
But in spite of government’s warning, many devotees and visitors were sighted on Friday defying the warning.