His Imperial Majesty, Ooni Adeyeye Ogunwusi Ojaja 11, the Ooni of Ife has advised politicians, socio-cultural groups to refrain from making further inflammatory statements on the aftermath of the ethnic clash that engulfed in the ancient city in recent time.
The advise came following cross fire of words between the Afenifere, Oodua Peoples Congress, OPC and their Arewa Consultative Forum ACF counterparts over the manner of arrest of the suspects by the police in the March 8 2017 Ife mayhem which was one sided.
Ooni Ogunwusi while playing host to Afenifere who paid him a condolence visit in his palace in Ife Wednesday expressed his displeasure at the recent harsh reactions that greeted the crisis from different quarters saying the efforts to quell the crisis to the satisfaction of both sides appeared to have been politicised.
Ooni Ogunwusi said the crisis appeared to have been politicised by politicians and cautioned the group and other concerned politicians against inflammatory statements that may cause reprisal attacks or heighten the already quelled crisis.
He expressed surprise at the influx of politicians to Ife after the violence wondering that no politician had visited the town to identify with any tribe in the town before the mayhem.
The monarch asked the groups that have been reacting to the clash to tone down their statements emphasising on the need for patience and caution in handling the aftermath effects of the ethnic clash.
His words: “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.
“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 lamented that youths were mostly affected in the crisis, adding that yoruba elders should play reconcilatory roles.
“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.”
Speaking earlier, one of the leaders of the group, Pa Ayo Adebanjo, accused the police of bias, saying that it was wrong to arrest majority of Ile-Ife indigenes.
He condemned the Nigeria Police for what he described as premeditated and one -sided arrests carried out against the Yoruba residents of Ife-Ife after the clash. He said, “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.
“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”, he added.
There was however a mild protest by the Hausas when the Yoruba leaders visited the Hausas at Sabo where the mayhem and destruction of property is most affected.
The venue of the meeting became rancorous when Chief Adebanjo repeated his allegation of bias by the IGP in the presence of the hausa community in Ife led by the Seriki Hausawa of the town in the way he handled the matter because of his being a northerner.
Also on the entourage of Afenifere 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.