Yoruba and Hausa community leaders have pledged to forget the ugly incidents of the past week and promote peaceful co-existence in Ifako-Ijaiye/Ojokoro and its environs.
They spoke at a people’s peace forum organised by the Commander of the 9th Brigade of the Nigerian Army, for community leaders of the two local governments at the Ifako-Ijaiye Local Government Area office.
Various community leaders blamed impatience and mob anger for the orgy of violence recorded at Fagba, one of the trouble-spots at the aftermath of the #EndSARS protest which enveloped the state last Tuesday.
The 9th Brigade Commander Maj-Gen. Mohammed A. Etsu-Ndagi said the Brigade came up with the forum as part of its civic engagement initiatives aimed at promoting peace and peaceful co-existence among all Nigerians irrespective of race or tribe.
The Commander who was represented by Col Ibrahim Umar warned everyone intent on for meeting trouble to have a rethink as the government will not hesitate to deal decisively with anyone trying to upturn the peace process by all state actors.
“We are here to tell you that the military high authorities are concerned about the threat to peace here at Fagba between the host Yoruba community and Hausas in the past week and we are determined to work with everyone to put this to check. We would therefore urge everyone intent to former trouble to stop forthwith and to earn a parents and guardians to earn their children to be weary of the friends they keep.”
He sympathised with all those who lost their loved ones and those who lost their valuables in the looting of shops and houses around the area,
He said the Brigade would love to have a more community engagement through a more regular security meeting with all community leaders in the area on order to eschew actions that may snowball into the massive destruction of lives and property in the future.
His assurances were also underscored by the chairman of IfakoIjaiye Local Government Apostle Oloruntoba Oke and his Ojokoro Local Council Development Area colleague Hakeem Tijani, who both praised the youths of the two council’s for protecting government assets and not turning the incident to an opportunity to foment crisis.
They said the forum was called to drum the need for leaders of the two communities to preach peace and mutual co-existence.
Oke regretted the incident, calling on leaders of the Hausa community and their Yoruba host to always promote peace.
Tijani in his stead reminded all that no one is permitted to take the laws into their hands, noting that the government is interested in the peaceful co-existence of all Nigerians in the state.
The Seriki Fulani of the Abattoir Hausa Community Alhaji Al-Amin Bashir thanked the state Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu and the various community leaders for rising timely in defence of his people in and around the Abattoir, which led to the early escalation of the violence.
Bashir said the entire Hausa community is resolutely committed to the peaceful co-existence with the Yoruba and everyone as members of one nation.
He said: “We will continue to cooperate with all initiatives aimed at forging peaceful co-existence with our host.”
A youth representative of the All Progressives Congress in Ojokoro LCDA Sola Agbayewa said the youths of the two communities must be saluted for their role in quelling the violence in the area.
Chairman Fagba Community Development Association (CDA), Femi Agbalajobi, commended the state government and the two council chairmen for bringing an early resolution and ensuring the return of peace to the Fagba area.
The Ifako-Ijaiye CDC Chairman Pastor Samuel Opajobi noted that the violence was perpetrated by itinerant Hausa elements and not those at the Abattoir.
He noted that scrap dealers, wheelbarrow and cart pushers as well as okada operators among the Hausas caused the mayhem, urging the government to clamp down on their operations in order to prevent a recurrence.
Ojokoro CDC Chairman Barr Gabriel Alade called for investigations into the incident with a view to unravelling the immediate and remote causes of the crisis and to come up with resolutions to them.
He said the CDC leadership will continue to partner the government on all initiatives aimed at promoting peace in Fagba, and the state in general.
Member Ifako-Ijaiye constituency II, Hon. Rasheed Makinde urged both Yoruba a and the Hausa communities to sheath the sword and live together in peace.
He said the violence erupting from Fagba was regrettable, even as he commiserated with those who lost their loved ones or property to the crisis.
He said the government would not hesitate to come to the aid of all who lost their means of livelihood to the crisis, and urged all to support the Babajide Sanwo-Olu administration in its effort to rebuild the state.
“The government is putting in place steps aimed at ensuring that all those who lost their loved ones and valuables begin a process of healing and closure. The least we can do is to join hands with the government in the effort,” Makinde said.
He commended the military for the efforts aimed at promoting peace and communal understanding, noting that when the story of the incident is written, the place of the military in ensuring peace would not be forgotten.