Police Quiz Warring Royal Fathers in Kwara Communal Clash

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Hammed Shittu in Ilorin

Kwara State Police Command have quizzed two royal fathers in the warring communities of Ilofa and Odo-Owa in Oke-Ero local government council of the state over the resumed communal clash which claimed at least four lives, with about twenty houses burnt during the crisis.

Already, the state government among other measures saturday imposed curfew on the two warring communities to restore peace and tranquility in the areas, while the police command has arrested one person, which it believed would lead to the arrest of others that perpetrated the acts.

The two warring communities last Thursday engaged themselves in free-for-all fight over the disagreement that arose over who should first present yams for selling at the market allegedly owned by the two communities. The ugly development however led to the death of four persons including a graduate.

In order to curtail the dastardly act according to THISDAY investigations, the state police command has summoned the two royal fathers of the warring communities for a peace meeting in Ilorin.

The two monarchs according to THISDAY checks were summoned to the state police command to make statement on how peace will be restored to the two communities.

The meeting with the monarchs it was gathered was held behind closed doors at the police command, Ahmadu Bello so as to know the cause of the hostilities, and they were cautioned after their release to return to their communities and ensure peace and tranquility.

The commissioner of police, Mr. Lawan Ado, who directed the two monarchs to report to the police headquarters in Ilorin on Monday to give update on the directive given them, visited the warring communities yesterday to personally access the extent of the damages.

The two monarchs, HRH Joshua Oloruntoba, the Adimula of Odo-Owa and HRH Oba Samuel Niyi Dada had allegedly absconded from their palaces as a result of the resumed gun shootings from Friday morning till the afternoon when soldiers were drafted to quell the crisis.
Three batches of contingents of soldiers from Sobi Barrack Ilorin were seen yesterday at the flash points in the warring communities with mounted road blocks, even as they frisked passers bye to maintain peace in the areas.

A visit by our correspondent to the two warring communities yesterday showed that normalcy has returned to the communities in view of the presence of armed guarded soldiers deployed to the communities.

However, the state government has imposed a curfew on both communities between 6pm and 6am effective immediately. In a statement by the Secretary to the State Government, Alhaji Isiaka Sola Gold, the state government barred all human and vehicular traffic in Iloffa and Odo-Owa during the curfew.

The government also ordered the suspension of any activities related to the yam festival in Oke Ero Local Government Area of the State.
While urging residents of both communities to comply with the law, Alhaji Gold said the curfew was designed to assist security agencies contain and prevent the escalation of the conflict as well as restore peace.
He urged residents of both communities to remain calm and continue to conduct their lawful affairs in peace as security agencies are on ground in both communities to secure lives and property.

The Secretary to the State Government restated Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed’s commitment to upholding the security of all residents in the state as well as to unraveling the perpetrators of the conflict in Iloffa and Odo-Owa, starting with a Judicial Commission of Enquiry.
Gold also reaffirmed the government’s resolve to bring the full weight of the law to bear on any individual or group found to have initiated, participated or otherwise contributed to the recent violent conflict between the neighboring communities under any guise.
Also, the state government will set up a Judicial Commission of Inquiry to find out the immediate and remote causes of the recent communal clash between the two warring communities.

A statement issued by the SSG said, “the Kwara State Governor, Alhaji Abdulfatah Ahmed has directed the establishment of the judicial panel of inquiry following the receipt of the report of a government delegation deployed to the affected communities for on-the-spot assessment”.

Gold described as tragic and unfortunate the recent violent clash between the two neighbouring communities and vowed that the State government would prosecute to the fullest extent of the law anyone found to have been remotely or directly connected to the crisis no matter how highly-placed.

The Secretary to the State Government assured citizens and residents of the state of their safety, as security agents have been drafted to the area to maintain peace and security.
He therefore urged all residents in both communities and all parts of the state to go about their lawful business without fear for their lives. Only two people died.

Senator Rafiu Ibrahim representing Kwara south in the national assembly in a statement by his media aide, Hon Biodun Adegoolu also appealed for calm, adding that there would be no development in an atmosphere of acrimony.
The commissioner of police in the state, Mr. Lawan Ado also condemned the communal crisis saying that it was unwarranted because of who should sell yam first.

Speaking with journalists after his inspection to the two communities yesterday, the state police commissioner said a suspect has been arrested in connection with the dastardly act.
His words, “This man (a suspect, Ibrahim Ganiyu) is one of the suspects that was apprehended by Ekiti State police command yesterday (Saturday). We went there and brought him. We will use him and interrogate him and get other members that participated in this horrendous activity.

“In fact we have gotten some names through intelligence which we are pursuing them and we will get them. The nabbed suspect was running away. He was escaping and police apprehended him and later he was interrogated. They later found out that he is one of those people who participated in the mayhem between the two communities”‎.

He stressed, “We have gone round the two towns. Normalcy has been restored. We are on ground. There is police and joint patrol. Myself and some functionaries of the state government came this morning to assess the situation. We have seen it. We assure all the people here to go back to their normal businesses as we are on the ground. We will ensure that this thing does not re-occur.”