Worshipers at the Osun Osogbo festival defied warnings by the Osun State government not to drink from the Osun river after potential poisonous compounds were discovered in it.
On the last day of Osun Osogbo festival, many devotees and visitors were sighted on Friday at the grove drinking the water, while some others fetched it in Jerry Cans. Devotees and visitors, who had trooped out to the river side in their white attires and beads, were seen singing traditional songs and dancing.
One of the worshippers , Abidoye Osungbenro, told NAN that she has a strong faith that nothing would happen to her in spite of the fact that the water is contaminated .
Osungbenro said the deity would protect her and others from any ailment as a result of drinking contaminated water.
She said the state government’s warning against drinking the water would not be beneficial to those who believe in the efficacy of the water.
Another devotee, Adeoye Ifadayo, described the Osun river as divine, adding that it could heal and protect.
Also speaking, Sadiq Adeoso, another devotee, said with the divine power in the river, nothing would happen to those who drink the water because of its sacred powers.
during the festival, tourists, visitors and devotees usually drink from the Osun River for its perceived divine healing properties while some take the water home to bathe with.
The Osun Commissioner for Health, Dr Rafiu Isamotu, warn visitors on Thursday that tests carried out on the water revealed the presences of mercury, lead, cyanide and other injurious elements that are poisonous to human health.
A Geographical Information Analysis and Laboratory Tests carried out by a Non-governmental Organisation, Urban Alert, also affirmed the presence of heavy elements in the water.
The Osun-Osogbo festival, whose history dates back to many centuries, is usually celebrated in an ancient grove believed to be among the last of the sacred forests among Yoruba cities.
In recognition of its global significance and cultural value, the Sacred Grove was inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2005.