The Federal Government has said its investigation and intervention in the recent bloody clashes between Yoruba and Hausa residents in Ile-Ife, Osun State indicates that the mayhem was not essentially caused by ethnic intolerance and differences.
The Minister of Interior, Abdurahman Danbazzau, told State House correspondents at the weekend that the two ethnic groups had cohabited in Ife for about 200 years without crisis and that the recent killings were a result of activities of criminals who will be fished out and dealt with according to law.
Danbazzau, who visited the scenes of the carnage in company of the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, was received there by the Osun State Deputy Governor.
The Minister recounted that apart from a visit to the palace of the Ooni of Ife, his team also met with leaders of the Hausa and Yoruba communities involved in the mayhem, as well as those in Ibadan, Oyo State, who all agreed that the problem was not ethnic in nature.
Danbazzau disclosed that the community leaders also agreed with government not to nurture the idea of reprisal attacks by either ethnic groups, but to instead take steps to foster peace and unity in the area.
His words: “The Deputy Governor of Osun state received us because the Governor was away here in Abuja for the NEC meeting.
“We went straight to communities where this crisis occurred and we saw the extent of damages and we met the leadership of the communities and we discussed with them. It is very clear that this issue is not about crisis between Hausa community and Yoruba community in Ife.
“The Hausa community has been living in Ife for close to 200 years. I understand the first settlers arrived there in 1820, these are about fourth, fifth generation of the community and they have never experienced this kind of thing until now.”
“So, it’s not an ethnic issue. It is about a bunch of people who constitute themselves a nuisance to carry out this dastardly act and quite a number of them escaped from the community.”
“So, we made them to understand that they shouldn’t look at it from the point of view of ethnicity and they all agreed.”
“We also emphasised the need to remain in peace. The issue of revenge and reprisal shouldn’t come to anybody’s mind because the government is handling the situation.”