The Governor of Osun, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi and the Leader of the Hausa Community in Ife, Alhaji Mahmud Madagali, on Thursday canvassed for peaceful coexistence between the Hausas and Yoruba communities in Ile-Ife and its environs.The trio described the recent chaos that ensued between Hausa residents in Ile-Ife and Ife indigenes as unfortunate, saying no efforts would be spared to promote the diversity of the Nigerian nation.
The appeal was made following the recent clash between Hausa and Yoruba people in Ile-Ife which according to the report had claimed some lives and property.
Leader of the Hausa Community, Alhaji Mahmud Madagali, who spoke at the palace of the Ooni during a peace meeting, said some miscreants merely exploited what could have just passed as mere disagreement between two people to breach the peace they had all enjoyed in Ife and Osun in its entirety.
Governor Aregbesola while addressing residents of Ile-Ife at the Ooni’s palace shortly after his inspection tours to the areas where the incident occurred, promised to bring the perpetrators to justice.
The Governor expressed sadness over the incident, pointing out that “it is disheartening to experience such wanton destruction in Ile-Ife again, after the end of tragic event of Ife/ Modakeke war of fifteen years ago”.
Aregbesola explained that the northerners in Ile-Ife and other parts of Yoruba land are not strangers but part and parcel of their host communities, as many of them were born and bred in those places.
Describing the cause of the incident as trivial, the state helmsman expressed displeasure over the escalation of the incidence that snowballed into killing and maiming of innocent people.
He condemned in its entirety the way and manner at which people took law into their hands over the matter, saying his administration was bent on bringing to justice perpetrators of the violence.
He noted that whoever is involved in the incident would be apprehended and prosecuted in accordance with the provision of the constitution.
Governor Aregbesola attributed the existing love, peace and harmony between the three major tribes in Nigeria as part of legacies built by the nation’s founding fathers, stressing that his government was ready to strengthen the virtues of togetherness.
Aregbesola said as part of his efforts to guaranteeing peace and security, his administration would not in anyway condone cases of lawlessness.
Affirming the existing cordial relationship between Yorubas, Hausas and other tribes in the state, Governor Aregbesola attributed the cause of the recent violence in Ife to what he described as intrusion of miscreants to the midst of Hausas and Yorubas who have been living together in peace and harmony for years.
He added that Ile-Ife being the cradle of Yoruba race was known for peace, love and tranquility, saying “This is the cradle of mankind by the belief of the Yorubas, a revered town of this pedigree should not be in the news for bad things.
“Osun is the land of peace and love, we have not experienced this in the last six years, and I believe such thing would never happen again.
“This incident is unfortunate because the cause of the fracas is not worth it. How could one explain that a common slap could lead to pandemonium and later death as we witnessed in Ife?
“There must be a mix-up somewhere because with the picture we deduced from the incident, it shows that some people had taken the advantage of the peaceful cohabitation between our people in Ife most especial the Hausas and Ifes to cause mayhem.
“As much as we condemn this violent attack, we equally want to place it on record that whoever is found guilty of perpetrating this wouldn’t go free.
“We will bring to justice those who were involved in the violence so as to serve as deterrent to others”, he stressed.
Governor Aregbesola who used the occasion to extend the two days curfew early announced said “ongoing curfew is being extended to next-week Monday in view of the security reports”.
Governor also charged the people of Ile-Ife and Osun state in general on the need to imbibe the spirit of decorum whenever there is misunderstanding, saying constitution doesn’t permit anyone to take law into his hands.
Reiterating his government’s commitment to promote communal peace and progress, Aregbesola promised to assist the victims within the limit of the state’s resources and capability.
He therefore assured the Hausa Community of adequate protection as government is already on top of the situation.
Speaking also, the Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi, described the incident as unfortunate, promising to do whatever is humanly possible to punish the perpetrators.
He contented that the crisis was instigated by the agent of darkness who always derive pleasure from wrecking havoc and unrest.
Ooni who described members of the Hausa Community in Ile-Ife as his subjects, said the cordiality being entrenched by the two ethnic groups had been the source of relative peace being enjoyed in the town.
He said, “We are very grieved with what happened because our partners (Hausas) in Ile-Ife whom this violent attack affected are not strange to us. We know ourselves. We have been living together for years.
“We understand the pains they are going through in the course of this incident as we equally feel their agonies because we never thought this could happen in this town where we have been together for so many years.
“I know all Hausas and they know me. Their leaders used to pay visit to palace and we used to give them warmth reception each time they come but quite unfortunate that this happened.
“Though I understand the fact that those that perpetrated this are miscreants who had mixed up with our people to cause unnecessary mishap, but nevertheless, we would ensure that they are all brought to book.
“As part of the efforts to prevent this, when the incident occurred, I sent some chiefs to address the situation which was amicably resolved at the initial stage and we all thought it was over until we woke up the following morning (Wednesday) to hear that they had started attacking one another but I swiftly informed the security agencies and they responded promptly.”
The monarch, who commended Governor Rauf Aregbesola and members of his administration for their prompt response to the incident, described their quick intervention as reason for the resolution.
According to him, “the police and army personnel have been deployed to sustain the normalcy. The Osun state government has extended the curfew in Ile-Ife which will start from 6pm and end by 7am till Monday. We all need to do our part to ensure peace”, he assured.
In his remarks, the leader of Hausa Community (Sherik Hausa) in Ile-Ife, Alhaji Muhamud Madagali expressed disappointment over the incident, saying “we have been living peacefully in Yoruba communities for ages but not expecting such attack”
He confirmed that the incident was orchestrated by miscreants who according to him took the advantage of peace being enjoyed in Ile-Ife.
Madagali therefore appealed to the state government to provide adequate security for his people and as well support them in recovering their losses to the incident.