Nigeria has remained a country that has never learnt from history, however recent or remote, as tribal clashes that dotted almost every part of the nation have become something to raise the alarm about.
Basically, the theatrical absurdity of this unwarranted ceaseless carnage under the guise of tribal or political colouration has further trivialised the much chorused oneness of the Nigerian state.
The most recent Yoruba/ Hausa fracas in Ile-Ife, the source of Yoruba evolution, which in the wake of the upheaval left over 50 people dead, should, in every sense of decorum, be condemned in totality. The shameful infraction of two brothers, who for several decades have lived together to embark on such senseless inter-tribal war of that magnitude is absurd and unacceptable.
The fact remains that Nigerians have both the inalienable rights and constitutional freedom to live and reside anywhere in the country, without molestation and harassment of any form, either overtly or covertly. And, beyond these rights, the Nigerian people, anywhere in the country should, be well protected and secured, under the same provision of law, without making a tribe or group of people a sacred cow and another the scapegoat.
The country belongs to every Nigerian and nobody should be restricted to live in any part of the country irrespective of his or her place of birth, state of origin, tribe, religious belief, sex, socio-political and economic inclinations.
In the meantime, Osun State and the Federal Government should, as a matter of urgent necessity, commission a factfinding probe panel to unravel the immediate and remote causes of the mayhem, with a view to preventing such communal clash and calamity in the nation’s ethnic turf. Of course, in doing this, government should be seen not take side in the matter, but to be an unbiased arbiter and umpire in order to get to the root of the crisis, as well as come out with facts that will be relevant in forestalling future clashes.
Rather than treating the Ile- Ife communal clash with kid gloves like many others before it, government needs to rise up to the challenges of seeing it as more encompassing as this is the only way in which tribal fighting could be discouraged among Nigerian people.
Specifically, the Osun State government and the Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi, Ojaja II should be commended for their prompt response and intervention in putting the crisis under control for law and order to return to the ancient town. The quick intervention of the state government and leaders of Ile-Ife community to calm the warring parties to sheathe their swords, indeed, prevented further escalation of the crisis.
In as much as the Ile-Ife mayhem is condemnable, still the Yoruba, Hausa and Igbo and, indeed, all tribes in Nigeria should be reminded of the need for all Nigerians to live together in peace and harmony, as brothers and sisters, who are faced with a common enemy — poverty. Without mincing words, it is high time Nigerians shelved the toga of tribal and ethnic chauvinism, which, rather than promote collective interest and togetherness of the country, as well as peace and love of the people, has continued to divide them with its attendant distrust and hopelessness.
However, the latest arrest of only Yoruba by the law enforcement agents in connection with the crisis, has not only further portrayed the police in bad light, but also added political colouration and ethnic dimension into the crisis. We believe that the Nigeria Police and other security agents should see themselves as national security agents commissioned purposely to oversee the security of lives and property of all Nigerians.
Invariably, the action of the police has continued to generate ill-feelings among the Yoruba people, especially the pan-Yoruba social-cultural organisation, Afenifere and the Oodua People’s Congress (OPC), who have described the arrest as a calculated attempt by the police to repress their people.
But, the Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF), the pan-Hausa socio-cultural group, has warned against ethnic colouration of the Ile-Ife killing. Under the full scale of investigation and law, the culprits of the mayhem should be made to face the wrath of the law of the land.
Rather, what Nigeria, as a country, requires presently is full integration of people, whatever their religious beliefs and tribe, into one indivisible entity, where love and peaceful co-existence would prevail, and the current toga of tribal and ethnicity would be lowered for the country to grow.
To stem the tide of communal or tribal clashes among the Nigerian people, therefore, we recommend that those found culpable in the crisis, based on the findings of the unbiased investigation, should be brought to book and treated as enemies of the country.
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