GOVERNOR Seyi Makinde of Oyo State and his Ondo State counterpart, Rotimi Akeredolu, on Sunday visited the crisis-ridden Shasha community in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital.
During the visit, the governors appealed for calm and peaceful coexistence between the Hausa community and their Yoruba hosts.
Recall that suspected members of Yoruba and Hausa communities in Shasha had clashed on Friday, leading to the death of a cobbler identified as Sakirudeen Adeola, and the destruction of properties worth millions of naira.
Addressing the people at the Shasha market and the palace of the Baale Shasha, Akeredolu and Makinde urged the residents to stop taking laws into their hands.
Makinde specifically promised to give palliatives to those whose wares were destroyed during the crisis, saying that the two factions should eschew violence and allow peace to reign.
Promising to rebuild burnt properties, the governor said, “Please, I want you to listen to me clearly. You cannot resort to self-help to solve the issue on the ground. All of you who are here are doing business with one another in one way or the other.
“The last time I came here, about six weeks ago, some shops belonging to Hausa and Yoruba people got burnt. So, you have been living together peacefully and all I am pleading to you is, no matter what is making anyone angry, we will solve it with patience.
“I was reluctant to declare curfew here because I feel the economic well being of everyone here is important, and because this is where you get what you use to feed yourselves. I will engage with your leaders this evening.
“One thing is, if you allow those who don’t have anything to lose here to blow this matter out of proportion, no one will be able to say where the crisis will end. By the grace of God, I pray we don’t lose any more lives.”
In his remarks, Akeredolu, who said he was in Oyo State on behalf of the South-West governors, urged every aggrieved party to allow peace to reign.
“I have come here on behalf of my colleagues in Ekiti, Lagos, Osun and Ogun. All of them have sent messages. Ogun has its own crisis it is battling with, so does Lagos. But as the chairman, I decided to come around to appeal to us.
“We have security agencies that you can call their attention to any issue that could cause crisis. Let us not take law into our hands. I have a brother in Abuja and others living in Hausaland,” he said.
Earlier in an advertorial in The PUNCH, Akeredolu urged the residents of the South-West not to take the law into their hands, but remain law-abiding citizens.
He said, “As governor of Ondo State who doubles as Chairman, South-West Governors’ Forum, it becomes very compelling for me to address all residents, in particular, the Yoruba-speaking people of our dear region as regards recent happening bordering on security.”
We must deal with criminals according to law, says Osinbajo
Meanwhile, the Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo has described as unfortunate recent mayhem at Shasa, in Ibadan, Oyo State.
Speaking with newsmen during a condolence visit to the residence of the late former governor of Lagos State, Lateef Jakande in Ilupeju, Lagos, the Vice President said the Shasha incident was tragic.
He said, “I have heard about the unfortunate mayhem and the tragic loss of lives at the Shasha market in the past few days. Shasha market has been a melting pot for traders bringing foodstuff from the North to the South-West for decades.
“So, when a disagreement arises between individuals or a criminal act is committed by one against the other, we must ensure that we see it for what it is; a criminal act, which must be punished according to law, not an ethnic conflict. Every Nigerian has a constitutional right to live, work and enjoy their lives in safety, peace under the law.”
Probe Shasha clash, OPC tells Buhari
In a related development, the O’odua Peoples Congress has called on the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), to probe Friday’s clash between suspected Yoruba and Hausa communities in Shasha, Akinyele Local Government Area of Oyo State.
The OPC, in a statement titled, ‘Investigate Shasha clash, OPC charges Buhari, Makinde’ by its Publicity Secretary, Yinka Oguntimehin, said, “It is on record that no Yoruba native has ever instigated any crisis in the North.
“Therefore, I am using this opportunity to call on President Muhammadu Buhari to investigate the circumstances surrounding the ugly incident, so as to bring the culprits to book and also forestall further crisis,” he said.
Oguntimehin also insisted that the Divisional Police Officer in charge of Ile-Igbon Division, Surulere Local Government Area of Ogbomoso in Oyo State, Adepoju Ayodeji, who shot an operative of Amotekun for arresting Fulani herdsmen that allegedly destroyed a cassava farm should be punished for the act.
Heavy presence of policemen, soldiers in Shasha community
However, three days after the violent clash that erupted at Shasha Market, our correspondent, who visited the area on Sunday, observed the heavy presence of heavily armed policemen with a detachment of military personnel keeping the peace in the area.
Both the Hausa and Yoruba communities were seen in clusters in their different sections with the police and the military standing midway to ensure that there was no further violence.
The Baale of Shasha, Chief Amusa Akinade Ajani, who hinted that the Shasha market was built by Ford Foundation and Rocky Feller Foundation from the United States of America, described the incident as unfortunate.
Also, the Director General of the Progressives Governors’ Forum, Dr. Salihu Lukman, on Sunday expressed sadness that instead of leaders across the board to isolate cases of criminality and deal with them as prescribed by law, some of them looked at such issues from an ethnic or religious perspective.
He said this in a statement titled, ‘Cries for justice: Sasha and the burden of political leadership’, which he signed and made public in Abuja.
Buhari won’t allow ethnic, religious violence – Aide
Reacting, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, on Sunday evening said the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), has promised that his regime will not allow any ethnic or religious group to stoke up hatred and violence against other groups.
Shehu disclosed this in a statement titled, ‘President Buhari condemns reported cases of ethnic violence in the country’.
The statement read, “President Muhammadu Buhari has vowed that his government will protect all religious and ethnic groups, whether majority or minority in line with its responsibility under the constitution.
“In a reaction to reports of breakout of violence in some parts of the country by some ethnic and sectional groups, President Buhari warned that the government would not allow any ethnic or religious group to stoke up hatred and violence against other groups.
“He appealed to religious and traditional leaders as well governors and other elected leaders across the country to join hands with the Federal Government to ensure that communities in their domain were not splintered along ethnic and other primordial lines.”