The final burial rites of the late Ooni of Ife, Oba Okunade Sijuwade, Olubuse II, was performed on Friday, but his wives, children and family members were unable to pay their last respects as they were barred from the programme.
Some other people who had expected to see the body of the monarch lie in state were also disappointed as his remains were neither brought out for people to see nor was any casket displayed during the burial service.
The event was attended by the Vice-President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, Rear Admiral Akin Aduwo (retd.), Gen. Alani Akinriande (retd.), Senator Babajide Omoworare, Ondo State Governor Olusegun Mimiko and many other dignitaries and government representatives.
A source at the palace told the Punch that no member of the royal family was allowed to see the remains of the monarch since he was brought back to the palace.
He said, “As we are holding this interdenominational service here, those concerned are performing their own rites inside the palace where the body is kept.
“You can see that the gates of the palace are locked and nobody is allowed to go inside. Nobody can see him again except those who will bury him.
“The wives and children were not even supposed to see his corpse at all but tradition was broken this time around because he (Sijuwade) died in London. But no family member can see him again. Those performing the rites are there now and they will complete it today (Friday). He will be buried in the middle of the night, but nobody will be there apart from those who will lower him into the grave.”
The source said those who saw the bodies of the previous Oonis were attacked by smallpox and did not survive the ailment.
It was learnt that as part of the palace tradition and custom, women are forbidden from entering the palace while traditional rites are being performed for a passing monarch.
As the interdenominational service was going on, sounds of gunshots suddenly rent the air, making some of those present at the service to scamper for safety.