In what seemed like a coordinated attack, presidential aspirant and founder of Sahara Reporters, Omoyele Sowore, and members of his #TakeItBack movement were tear-gassed while prostrating before the Ooni of Ife, His Imperial Majesty Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi Ojaja II, on Monday.
As the situation deteriorated, Sowore rushed to check up on students of the Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), who accompanied him to the palace. He was in the process physically assaulted by thugs within the palace premises.
Palace sources, who asked not to be named, revealed to Sahara Reporters that the reason for the assault was that Sowore initially refused to prostrate to the Ooni to protest the three-hour delay in attending to members of the movement who had waited for the Ooni.
As the incident unravelled, one student and another member of the royal household collapsed due to respiratory challenges arising from the toxic fumes.
Sowore, who confronted the Ooni on the assault on his person and members of his movement, wondered why a guest would be attacked within palace premises.
Responding, the Ooni swiftly condemned the attack, saying such had never happened before in a palace in Nigeria and called for calm and restraint on both sides.
He regretted the ugly incident, describing it as embarrassing. He assured Sowore of his continued support and collaboration.
Expressing shock while commenting on the incident as it was being streamed live on Facebook, Adedayo Gabriel Fatoki said: “Attack?? In the Palace? By who?”
“Thank God you guys are okay. This is highly condemnable,” Precious Umoera, another member of the public, said.