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Ile-Ife: ARG, other groups berate police for ‘one-sided’ arrests

Several groups and eminent individuals in the South-West lampooned the Nigeria Police Force for conducting what they described as a doubtful investigation into the March 8 crisis in IIe-Ife and arresting only Yoruba after the mayhem.

Among the groups that faulted the action of the police in the clash between the Yoruba and the Hausa are the Afenifere Renewal Group, the Yoruba Progressive Movement, the Ife Development Board and the Yoruba Youth Socio-Cultural Association.

The ARG expressed shock at the outcome of the purported investigations of the police into the Ile-Ife crisis.

In a statement by the group’s Publicity Secretary, Kunle Famoriyo, on Tuesday, the ARG argued that the police probe appeared not only one-sided, but also carried out to achieve a predetermined outcome.

It said, “We are however shocked at the outcome of a purported police investigation which from all indications would now appear one-sided and tending towards a predetermined outcome.

“For instance, the sin of one of those paraded, Obimakinde Samuel, according to the police, was that he was ‘found with a fresh cut on his head, suspected to have been inflicted on him during the crisis’.  Mr. Obimakinde, according to police information, is obviously a victim.”

It wondered how the police, which claimed to have carried out investigations into the crisis, could arrest only Yoruba in a clash that involved two parties, where there were deaths on both sides.

ARG said, “In a violent clash that involved deaths, injuries and arson on all sides, the police are saying that Yoruba people are the only culprits; that Yoruba people attacked their own people, and burnt the houses of their own people. Who would believe this?

“We contend that the Ife crisis, no matter how much the police tend to make it an ethnic issue, would never stand as one.

“It disturbingly raised the question of partisanship and cast a doubt on the police institution. But the whole world can now see the joke that the Nigeria Police is in the temple of justice and fairness.”

It challenged the police to explain why they had yet to arrest the brains behind the unending killings in several parts of the country, including Southern Kaduna and Benue.

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It stated, “What is desired is a thorough and trustworthy investigation but it appears that is impossible to get from the Nigeria Police that has failed to produce a single arrest in cases of perpetual marauders and killers in Southern Kaduna, Benue and Enugu states but has, within a week, found a sudden ‘efficiency’ in the Ile-Ife crisis.

“Where were the police when a similar crisis broke out in Mile 12, Lagos, last year, during which Yoruba people were killed and their properties razed and when a LASTMA official, Tajudeen Bakare, was brazenly murdered (in Hausa-dominated area of Apapa) in the process of enforcing the rule of law?”

The Yoruba Progressive Movement, on Tuesday, berated the police for displaying obvious bias in the clash between the Yoruba and the Hausa/Fulani community in Ile-Ife.

The National Coordinator of the group, Oladosu Oladapo, said in Ibadan that the action of the police was an embarrassment to the force and the nation.

Oladapo said it was wrong for the police or the Federal Government to clamp down on a group in a crisis involving two parties.

He said, “We have booked an appointment with the Osun State Governor, Rauf Aregbesola, and we are planning to hold a world press conference on the matter after that in Osogbo.

“What the police did is appalling and should be condemned. You cannot arrest one party and leave the other when a crisis involves two parties. What the police did is tantamount to a siege on Yoruba people.

“There was a dispute that ought to be resolved, not that you go ahead and clamp down on one party and parade them in Abuja.

“Will the visitors feel at home with the landlord after this? The Osun State governor and the Ooni of Ife, Oba Enitan Ogunwusi, should be involved in the resolution of the crisis.

“They can’t come here and oppress us like that. When we address the world press conference, action to be taken by Yoruba leaders will be highlighted.”

Also, the Yoruba Youth Socio-Cultural Association has accused the Presidency of influencing the arrest and detention of the Yoruba people over the crisis in Ile-Ife.

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It alleged that the results of police investigations into the fracas showed bias against a tribe in the crisis.

In a statement by its President, Habib Hammed, YYSA accused President Muhammadu Buhari of always pursuing causes in favour of the Hausa/Fulani.

The group recalled that long before Buhari became the President, he led a group of his kinsmen to Oyo State, soliciting that herdsmen be allowed to do their business in the state even to the detriment of the hosts and farmers in the state.

Hammed added, “The Public Relations Officer of the police headquarters claimed on Monday in Abuja that 38 persons were arrested over the incident; they freed 18 and all the 20, suspected to have actually got involved (in the crisis) were only Yoruba when both parties recorded loss of lives and property.

“We Yoruba are peace-loving and hospitable people. That is why the Arewa community have been enjoying a peaceful stay in Ile-Ife for more than 80 years without any attack on them.

“Even in those days of disturbances between the local communities, Sabo, where the Hausa-Fulani people stayed, remained a safe place.”

One-sided arrests can trigger crisis

–Ife indigenes

On their part, indigenes of Ile Ife have berated the Federal Government for the alleged bias in its investigations into the March 8 crisis in Ile-Ife.

Some of the indigenes, who spoke on Tuesday, said the manner of the arrests made so far by the police showed that security personnel were acting a script targeted at the indigenes of Ile-Ife.

The Chairman of Ife Development Board, Prof. Muib Opeloye, also condemned the arrest of only Yoruba people when contacted by one of our correspondents.

He said, “It is sad that the police are only arresting indigenes of Ife. They assured us when we met them that justice would be done but we are not seeing justice being done now.

“Arrest should not be one-sided; but they should expedite action on those already arrested. They should be released if there is nothing against them and they should be prosecuted if they are found culpable.”

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An indigene of Ife, who is also the Head, Department of Public Administration, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Dr. Ike Fayomi-Awodele, said the government bias could cause a crisis the government might not be able to contain easily.

She said, “The clash occurred between two groups and the police are making arrests from one side. Where is fairness in that?

“Although I was not there, we were told that the crisis was triggered by members of the Hausa community. We were told that the Hausa were the first to kill and to burn down houses owned by Yoruba people.

“So, where are those who burnt down the houses? Where are those who killed Yoruba people among the dead victims? Or are they saying Yoruba people killed themselves and burnt their own houses?

“This kind of one-sided arrest is an injustice. The government is precipitating a problem it may not be able to contain. We, Ife people, are bereaved and we are aggrieved as well.”

Also, the Democratic Socialist Movement berated the police for doing a shoddy investigation into the clash.

The Coordinator of the DSM in Osun State, Mr. Alfred Adegoke, who said the police had lost credibility, added that the crisis was a divide and rule tactic by the ruling elite.

He alleged that some Hausa youths beheaded a vulcaniser, who was a Yoruba man.

He said, “Where are those who cut off his head?”

Traditional chiefs in Ile-Ife, including the Obalufe of Ife, who is the Second-in-Command to the Ooni, Oba Idowu Adediwura, had earlier appealed to security agents to be fair in their investigations into the crisis.

Meanwhile, the Senate, on Tuesday, asked the Federal Government to be responsible for the repairs of the property destroyed during the recent clash between the Yoruba and Hausa in Ile-Ife.

The upper chamber of the National Assembly also called for compensation for families of those who lost their lives in the crisis.

The decision was based on a motion moved by Senator Jibrin Barau (Kano North) and co-sponsored by Senator Shehu Sani (Kaduna Central).

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