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OPC flays government’s handling of Ife crisis

By Daniel Anazia
25 March 2017   |   5:07 am
Yoruba socio-cultural group, Oodua People’s Congress (OPC), has condemned what it termed discriminatory arrests by the police following the ethnic clash between Hausa and indigenes in Ile-Ife, Osun State on March 8.

Ooni of Ife, Oba Enitan Adeyeye Ogunwusi

Commiserates With Ooni

Yoruba socio-cultural group, Oodua People’s Congress (OPC), has condemned what it termed discriminatory arrests by the police following the ethnic clash between Hausa and indigenes in Ile-Ife, Osun State on March 8.

The group, while commiserating with the Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi on the violence, called on the state government to immediately establish a commission of enquiry to investigate the remote and immediate causes of the crisis and fish out those behind it, saying it was antithetical to the monarch’s untiring quest for peace and unity throughout Yoruba land.

Founder and President of the group, Dr. Frederick Fasehun, in statement issued in Lagos, said information at his disposal indicated that the 20 suspects arrested and paraded by police were mainly Yoruba.

He stated that it was an insult to the Yoruba traditional institution that a monarch was hurriedly taken from his palace and paraded alongside the suspects, with all of them hurriedly transported to Abuja.

The organisation particularly came down hard on former Governor of Kano State, Alhaji Rabiu Kwankwanso, whom he accused of racing down to Osun State to “stampede Osun State Governor Rauf Aregbesola and the Commissioner of Police into this senseless and discriminatory rash of arrests.”

According to the Fasehun, a profiling of those currently in police detention connoted a conspiracy between the Federal Government under a Fulani President and the Inspector-General of Police, who is also Hausa-Fulani to perpetrate an unjust clampdown on Yoruba people in the area.

He said, “Police and the Federal Government appear determined to make scapegoats of Yoruba living in Ife over this crisis. It is unfortunate, strange and insensitive that two people are fighting and authorities are arresting only one party in this unfortunate mayhem.

“We sympathise with all victims and casualties over this moment of madness that has eroded two centuries of harmonious cohabitation between the Hausa settlers and their Yoruba hosts. But we demand equal treatment of everyone involved on both sides of this crisis,” he added.

He continues: “What of Yoruba people killed in Ife, will you not bring their obviously Hausa killers to book? What of Yoruba-owned houses and businesses that were burnt and looted, will you not bring their arsonists and looters to justice? Or are you telling the world that Yoruba people killed their own people and burnt down their own houses?”

According to the group, Kwankwanso’s post-violence role in Ife was akin to that played by Retired-General Muhammadu Buhari, who in October 2000 travelled to Ibadan to challenge Governor Lam Adesina over the reprisal attack on Fulani herdsmen, who had unleashed an orgy of raping and killings on Yoruba farming communities.

Fasehun further stated that the traditional monarch has the function to guarantee peace and if there is conflict, he should make peace between the gladiators. “Now that one party in the crisis has been whisked away as criminals, it leaves no room for settlement and the Ooni of Ife has been denied the right to play his traditional role of peacemaker.”

“This kind of bias will only embolden belligerent Hausa-Fulani throughout Nigeria and give them pariah status amongst other nationalities,” he warned.He called on the Federal Government to do justice and be seen to have done justice, to both sides, stressing that the perfunctory display of injustice is not a feature of true democracy.

“We hereby call on the Federal Government to intervene within the next 48 hours to ensure that justice is institutionalised and no side is provoked to defend justice according to its whims and caprices. Various communities have Abraham as their father. A word is enough for the wise.”