BY OUR CORRESPONDENTS |
In a bid to quell tension arising from the riot in Shasha market in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital which resulted in destruction of lives and properties across some parts of South West, the federal government yesterday called on Nigerians to desist from the temptation of giving ethnic colouration to criminal activities in the country.
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo who sounded the warning while addressing journalists during a condolence visit to the family of the late Chief Lateef Jakande in Lagos State, described the Ibadan riot as unfortunate and tragic.
Condemning the violence that led to the loss of lives at the Shasha market, the vice president asked Nigerians to unite and fight the criminality across the nation.
He said every Nigerian has a constitutional right to live, work and enjoy their lives in safety and peace under the law.
“We must never take the law into our own hands, if we do we will be promoting chaos, and a breakdown of law and order, and all of us especially the most vulnerable amongst us, will be at risk. I urge all community leaders to work together to preserve the brotherly co-existence that our people from different parts of the country have enjoyed in Shasha market for several decades,” Osinbajo said.
Also, minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, said African race and Nigeria in particular abhors all forms of crimes and criminality.
Aregbesola who spoke yesterday in Abuja while receiving a delegation from the Executive Intelligence Management Course (EIMC) 14 of the National Institute for Security Studies (NISS) led by its Commandant, Ayodele Adeleke, said Nigerians must equate security with the global picture of a society that puts its emphasis on the dignity of man and human development, stressing that crime is anathema to the nation.
“One thing we must all resist is the tendency of seeing crime in relation to one ethnic group or another, a criminal is a criminal, no matter the ethnic group he or she belongs to. No ethnic group in Nigeria glorifies crime and criminality, so let us all condemn crime. Our morality itself makes crime an unpopular vocation,” he said.
The minister called on the National Institute for Security Studies (NISS), as a security training institution, to see the need to develop policy analysis that will ensure adequate reorientation of an average Nigerian to see crimes and criminality as they are.
Arewa Youths Ask Governors To Evacuate Northerners From S’West
But the Coalition of Northern Groups (CNG) and other youth groups in the North yesterday asked northerners in the South West to consider relocating back to the North, urging the northern governors to facilitate their evacuation.
CNG, in their position through their spokesperson, Abdulazeez Suleiman, said, “With the ever widening level of hate that has been going on ceaselessly since independence, it is becoming virtually pointless insisting on a one Nigeria.”
In 2017, the CNG invited the intervention of the international community for a peaceful separation process at the height of the violent secessionist agitation by the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) that openly called for war on the country and genocide against northerners.
Also, the Northern Youths Council of Nigeria (NYCN) expressed dismay over what it described as carnage against northerners, particularly in Shasha market of Akinyele local government area, Oyo State, where many Nigerians were said to have been killed, business premises and vehicles burnt by hoodlums.
It said, “We wish to condemn such attacks in the strongest terms possible and call on security agents to arrest the perpetrators so as to serve as deterrent to would be hoodlums.”
NYCN, in a statement jointly signed by its president, Isah Abubakar and spokesperson, Mock Kure, said, “The hidden agenda to expel Northerners in that segment of the country started with the call on all herdsmen (not criminal elements) by the governor of Ondo State, Rotimi Akeredolu (SAN), to leave all state controlled forests reserves. This led to the sudden emergence of one Sunday Igboho, a well-known motor park tout as the enforcer-in-chief of the hidden but now open agenda in faraway Oyo State.
“We believe strongly that the inability of government at all levels to tame the lawless wings of Sunday Igboho and his co-travellers has led to emergence of his variants, hence, the renewed attacks on settled business people and many others that can’t speak Yoruba in Shasha market.”
NYCN called on the federal government to declare Sunday Igboho and his group as a terrorist organisation as he is not different from Boko Haram.
“Northern Governors Forum under the leadership of His Excellency, Barr Simon Bako Lalong should rally his colleagues to begin to evacuate our brothers that are trapped in Southwest and other troubled spots in southern Nigeria since the governments in those regions have proven to be helpless or tacitly complicit in the ceaseless attacks on our people,” it added.
In a related but separate statement issued by Speaker of the Arewa Youth Assembly (AYA), Mohammed Salihu Danlami, said the killings of Hausa traders or any northerner carrying out legitimate business in the South West would no longer be tolerated going forward.
We Don’t Want War – Afenifere
But reacting to the clash in Ibadan, the Yoruba socio cultural organisation, Afenifere blamed the fracas on provocation by the Hausa and Fulani traders, warning that Yoruba people are not ready for war.
Yinka Odumakin, national publicity secretary of Afenifere, said, “The provocation of our people by the Hausa/Fulani was responsible for the fight in Shasha in Ibadan, Oyo state.
‘’The Hausa/Fulani are prompted to fight everywhere in Igbo Ora, Ibarapa, Ondo. They are prompting the Yoruba to fight, we don’t want a war.
‘’Like Professor Wole Soyinka told President Muhammadu Buhari last week, that it is high time he called his people to order, he should not make the country ungovernable.’’
On the statement by the leader of Miyetti Allah that nobody can chase Fulanis out of South West, he said, “We are not driving them out of the South West, if we want to drive them out, we will drive them out and nothing will happen, but we are not thinking in that direction.”
Violence Not Part Of Yoruba Values – Akeredolu
Meanwhile, Ondo State governor, Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, has ordered immediate halt to all hostilities following reports of a feud between farmers and their host community in Supare, Akoko Southwest local government area of the state, insisting that violence is not part of Yoruba values.
Akeredolu, in a statement issued by the commissioner for Information and Orientation, Donald Ojogo, described the development as most uncalled for.
The governor further directed security agencies, tradition rulers as well as opinion leaders in Akoko Southwest to explore an all-encompassing template for the state government to hold upon for a lasting solution.
He said, “It is very pertinent to reiterate that the government has already commenced investigations into the remote and immediate causes of the hostilities between the parties in a bid to solve the problem holistically. A report will be made public as soon as such investigations are concluded within a very short time.
“Consequently, any act of aggression while investigations are ongoing shall not be tolerated. Put simply, anyone, party, or parties found to have flouted this directive by destroying farmlands after now, shall be made to face the full wrath of the Law.
“This conflict, especially among brethren is most undesirable at the moment for very obvious reasons. Stakeholders are, therefore, enjoined to take maximum advantage of this opportunity to eschew further violence.”
ACF Condemns Attack, Calls For Calm
In its reaction, the apex northern socio-cultural group, Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) condemned the riot in Ibadan, just as it sued for peace.
National publicity secretary of the forum, Mr Emmanuel Yawe said, “We in the ACF are against the destruction of properties of any Nigerian, be it the property of northerners or southerners.
“We must find peaceful ways of resolving crises within the ambits provided by the laws of the land.”
We Are In Consultation With Governors – NEF
On their part, the Northern Elders Forum (NEF) said the forum was still holding talks with governors across the country on how the ugly situation can be urgently brought to an end before it further escalates to something else.
NEF’s director of advocacy and research, Dr Akeem Baba Ahmed, said, “We had warned of the possibility of these types of incidents occurring.
We are saddened that matters have been allowed to reach this level, and we gave advice to northerners not to contemplate any action that will worsen the situation.
“It is vital that President Buhari acts with greater dispatch to assure Nigerians that we have a leadership and a country that can survive. We demand cessation of attacks and harassment of members of northern communities in the south and arrest and prosecution of criminals who attacked them and their property.
“We appeal to northerners not to take laws into their hands, and to be better than those attacking northerners by protecting southerners”, NEF said.
Ethnic Clashes Depleting Our Economy – Ohaneze
In the South East part of the country, the apex Igbo socio-cultural umbrella, Ohaneze Ndigbo said the continued clashes, especially between the major ethnic tribes in the country -Yoruba, Hausa and Igbo – showed that the country is still in a primitive era, lamenting that the situation will never allow the economy to grow.
National publicity secretary of the organisation, Chief Alex Ogbonnia, stated that what every Nigerian should rather be committed to now is how to forge the various nationalities into a united country with a strong economy instead of indulging in acts that could disunite the nation and deplete the economy.
OPC Calls For Full-scale Investigation
On its part, the O’odua People’s Congress (OPC) has called on President Buhari to order a full scale investigation into the incident.
The group, in a statement by its publicity secretary, Barr Yinka Oguntimehin, expressed concern that a minor misunderstanding between a pregnant woman and an Hausa man later degenerated into tribal crisis leading to death and destruction of properties in the community.
The OPC publicity scribe lamented that such a crisis could have been avoided, even as he maintained that Yoruba are a very peaceful and accommodating people.
Security Intelligence Depends On Information From Citizens – Abari
Meanwhile, the director-general of National Orientation Agency (NOA), Dr Garba Abari, said the security intelligence depends largely on information from citizens to address the challenges of insecurity across the country.
Abari who stated this while speaking at the event, Fall In Love With Nigeria, to mark this year’s valentine yesterday in Abuja said, “The country is faced with challenges of insecurity, divisive narrative being championed by groups and individuals who do not wish our country well, we as citizens must rise up and do our part.”
Prioritise Meetings To Promote National Unity, Lukman Tasks Political Leaders
Also, director-general of the Progressives Governors Forum (PGF), Salihu Lukman, called on all political leaders to prioritise regular meetings where issues that promote unity will be discussed often.
Lukman, called the party’s national caretaker committee, to convene emergency meetings which will strengthen the process of engendering sustained peaceful co-existence in the country.
Reacting to the recent crisis in Shasha incident, the PGF DG urged Nigerians to dissociate themselves from people identified as ethnic champions and warlords for peace to reign in Nigeria.
In a statement he issued in Abuja yesterday, he cautioned all the political leaders to wake up to the responsibility of providing political leadership on a matter
Act Now Before Situation Degenerates Into Anarchy, Matawalle Tells PMB
Meanwhile, Governor Bello Mohammed Matawalle yesterdays condemned any act of ethnic discrimination and regional dichotomy, calling on President Buhari to act fast.In a statement issued by his special adviser on public enlightenment, Media and Communications, Zailani Bappa, the governor said he assessed the situation and sympathised with the victims of the ethnic attack, calling on the president to take decisive action on the spate of violence in some South-West states and gradually turning into criminality.
He said, “It is inexcusable that at this stage of our journey as a nation, we are yet to come to terms with the fact that God has made it a destiny for us to live as one people. It is unfortunate that while our counterparts elsewhere are fusing up from particularity to generality as a people, we are fast sliding backwards from semblance of generality to particularity as a people.
‘I also urge my colleague, the governor of Oyo state to take concrete steps in curtailing the ongoing senseless attacks and ensure that such happenings do not occur again. We are battling with insurgency and banditry as a nation and here are supposed law abiding citizens unleashing mayhem on innocent citizens to compound the spate of insecurity in the country”.
Makinde, Akeredolu Visit Shasha Community, Sue For Peace
Meanwhile, the Oyo State governor, Seyi Makinde, and his Ondo counterpart, Oluwarotimi Akeredolu yesterday visited the troubled Shasha community where they appealed for calm and peaceful coexistence between the Hausa community and their Yoruba hosts.
The two governors who spoke at the Shasa market and the palace of the
Baale Shasa, urged residents of the community and Oyo state, particularly the Yoruba and Hausa to stop taking laws into their hands.
Speaking at the market, Governor Makinde promised to give palliatives to those whose wares were affected during the crisis, adding that the two factions have to eschew violence and allow peace to reign.
Also speaking, Governor Akeredolu said he was in the state on behalf of the South West governors.
He urged aggrieved parties to stop fighting and allow peace to reign.
“Concerning the issue on ground, we have come to beg you. We have been living together for a very long time and this is not the time to start fighting ourselves. So, let us consider that. There are some things that could be making us angry but don’t let us look at that because things cannot be like this forever”, he said.