Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed
Appoints sole administrators
Following the recent hostilities which broke out between the people of Offa and Erin-Ile communities in Kwara State, the state government yesterday ordered the suspension of the Chairman of Offa Local Government Area, Hon. Saheed Popoola, and his Oyun counterpart, Alhaji Ibrahim Omoniyi , with immediate effect.
Consequently, the state government also approved the appointment of sole administrators for the councils with Alhaji Ishaq Abubakar, appointed to head Offa council, while Alhaji G.B.O Bello, would take charge of Oyun council.
Also affected by this were the vice-chairmen, councillors, supervisory councillors and all the political appointees in the two affected councils.
The Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Alhaji Isiaka Gold, who disclosed this to journalists in Ilorin yesterday at a press conference, also said the state government also set up a judicial commission of inquiry to investigate the crisis that broke out between the two communities.
He said the suspension of the two chairmen was based on the fact that the two chairmen, who were the chief security officers (CSOs) of their respective councils failed to maintain public order as well as protect the welfare of the people in both communities.
Gold added that: “Their suspension was also in line with exercise of the powers conferred on the state governor, Alhaji Abdulfatah Ahmed, of the state law No.4 of 2006 (Kwara State Local Government Amendment Law of 2006) section 1,2 sub-section 5,6,7,) has suspended Offa and Oyun local government councils with immediate effect.”
The SSG noted that the Judicial Commission of Enquiry was inaugurated to identify what led to the crisis as well as to determine the extent of damages done during the crisis.
He also said the commission was determined impact positively on the lives of those, who were living as well as on how to assuage the feelings of bereaved families, who lost loved ones through appropriate recommendations.
The SSG said further that the members of the commission include: Hon. Justice Adeyinka Sikiru Oyinloye as Chairman, Mr. AbdulAzeez Ayodele Ibrahim, Alhaji A.R. Shehu, Mr. Jacob Afolayan, Mrs. F.A. Lawal and Dr. Jelili Animashaun.
Others are Mr. Olatunji Ayodele, an Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) Nigeria), Mr. John O. Ojo of the State Security Service (SSS), Col. A.H. Ahmed of the Nigeria Army and Alhaji A.A Yusuf.
Gold, who said the commission was expected to submit its report within six weeks, said the full weight of the law would be brought to bear on anyone caught inciting violence or disrupting public order in Offa/Erin-Ile as well as other parts of the state.
Defending the action of the state government, the SSG said the state government had taken a lot of peace efforts with the stakeholders of the two communities in the past on the need to promote peace but to no avail..
He said apart from this, the state government had held peace meeting with the suspended council chairmen of Offa and Erin-Ile while the state government also mandated the state chairman of Council of Traditional Chiefs, Emir of Ilorin, Alhaji Ibrahim Sulu Gambari, to mediate between Olofa of Offa, Oba Mufutau Gbadamosi, and Elrin of Erin-Ile, Oba Abdulganiyu Olusokun, in order to ensure that peace returns to the two towns.
Gold explained that despite all these peace efforts made to all the stakeholders in the two towns, the crisis broke out and no any responsible government would fold its arms and watch the situation degenerates into criminality and lawlessness.
He pointed out that, the development led the state government to impose 24 hour curfew in the two areas, while “in view of the fact that, there is a clear and present danger of the breakdown of law and order, security and public safety in Offa and Erin-Ile towns and the need to take further action to prevent the deterioration of the situation led the state governor, Alhaji abdulfatah Ahmed to order the suspension of the two council chairmen of Offa and Oyun local government councils in line with the power confers on him.”
Hostilities broke out in Offa/Oyun local government councils on January 28, resulting in the loss of three lives and destruction of property's worth millions of naira.