By; BAYO AKAMO, Ibadan
The Ooni of Ife,Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi on Wednesday cautioned politicians and groups across Nigeria to stop making inflammatory comments that could cause reprisal attacks or heighten the already quelled crisis on the recent bloody clash in Ile Ife between the Hausa and Yoruba people.
Ooni Ogunwusi who stated this in his palace in Ile Ife while receiving leaders and members of the Pan Yoruba group, Afenifere who paid him a visit declared that there is the need for patience and caution in handling the aftermath effects of the crisis.
The royal father noted that there are indications that efforts to finally resolve the crisis to the satisfaction of both sides have been politicised going by the series of harsh reactions on the crisis from different quarters .
“I have communicated with necessary authorities in the police force over the matter. There is a unique co-existence among people of different tribes and religions here and we must maintain that model. We only know the beginning of a war, nobody knows the end. I plead with Afenifere and other groups to let peace reign so that the crisis will not degenerate” he said.
Expressing surprise at the recent visits to Ile Ife after the violence by politicians, Ooni Ogunwusi said most of these politician never visited the ancient town to identify with any tribe in the town before the bloody clash.
“The unity of this nation is very important and we must all defend it. We must all ensure peaceful co-existence. Painfully, the misfortune has happened but we just have to allow peace to reign. We cannot settle violence with violence. We all should persevere and realise that people of different tribes live in other parts of the country. It is patience that we need to get this case resolved”
Ooni Ogunwusi while tasking Yoruba elders to play reconcilatory roles pleaded that there is the need for all the bodies and groups commenting on the clash to consider the unity and peace of the country by exercising patience and caution in handling the aftermath effects of the clash
Speaking further, the Ooni called on the youths not to allow the issue of the bloody clash to be turned to a political one, saying,“Youths should not allow this issue be turned to a political one. They should be careful and not allow this issue to be politicised. We should remember that most of these politicians don’t come to Sabo to render assistance until the misfortune that happened.”
Afenifere leader, Chief Ayo Adebanjo while speaking declared that it was wrong for the Nigeria Police to arrest majority of Ile-Ife indigenes over the clash,saying such action was premeditated and one -sided arrests carried out against the Yoruba residents of Ife-Ife after the clash.
“We are not happy with the crisis. The reason for the clash is still surprising because for over forty years that Yoruba and Hausa have been co-habiting, there have not been any record of violence between the two tribes. Even during Ife/Modakeke crisis, nobody attacked the Hausas in Ife. The Police are to be blamed for this crisis. They caused the crisis. They arrested only Yoruba people after the crisis. It points to the fact that the arrest was pre-planned. The Police appears to be against the Yoruba and the Inspector General of Police has said he doesn’t have any apology,”he said.
Chief Adebanjo added that “what Afenifere is saying again is that the arrest is one-sided. Some of the people that died in the clash are Yoruba and their houses torched. Nonetheless, we are here to sympathise with both the Yoruba and Hausa residents of Ife”.
Other leaders of Afenifere at the Oonis palace for the visit are Chief Olu Falae, Senator Iyiola Omisore, Mr. Supo Sonibare, Prof. Banjo Akintoye, Comrade Yinka Odumakin, Hon. Oladipo Olaitan, Hon. Niyi Owolade, and Prof. Akinyemi Onigbinde.