By Gbenga Olarinoye
Osogbo—Not fewer than 10 people were reportedly killed in a clash at the Sabo area of Ile-Ife when the ancient city was yesterday engulfed in a bloody clash between the indigenes of the town and the Hausa community.
Though no tangible reason was given for the crisis but a source said, trouble started when an Hausa man living in Sabo area of the town was allegedly accused of having love affair with the wife of an Ife man who reportedly went over-boards when he discovered what happened.
The incident said to have happened on Tuesday night degenerated into a bloody clash between the two communities yesterday leading to the killing and destruction of property from both sides.
Aregbesola imposes curfew on Ife
Meantime, the Osun state government has declared a two day curfew in the entire Ile-Ife City.
According to a statement from the Director of Bureau of Communication, Media and Strategy to governor Rauf Aregbesola, Mr Semiu Okanlawon; “The curfew has been compelled by the breach of the peace in the area which led to avoidable destruction of lives and properties.
‘’The curfew, which will be between 6pm to 7am, will be in force till Friday.”
While the crises lasted, dangerous weapons such as daggers, guns, clubs, arrows, cutlasses and swords were freely used in a free for all between the two warring tribes.
Eyewitness told Vanguard that, the people organised themselves into two formidable groups to match themselves strength for strength in the frightening battle.
At the battle ground around Sabo area of the town, the Hausas were said to have used freely daggers, arrow and bow to confront the Yoruba who were said to be armed with dane guns, cutlasses and other traditional weapons.
Also, several shops were reportedly looted by miscreants who took advantage of the violence that engulfed the ancient city to perpetrate the act.
Shop owners around the place briskly locked up their shops while the environment was completely deserted by both commercial and private vehicles. Residents of the area had relocated to another part of the town to escape the blood bath.
Some of the persons killed in the mayhem were said to have been burnt while bonfire was also made by both sides.
A combined team of anti riot, regular and mobile policemen were on ground to maintain peace as they were seen at strategic positions, milling around the scene of the incident.
Speaking on the development, Imam Muhammed Basir, the Senior Special Assistant to Osun state governor, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola on Arewa matters, said; ‘’The situation has taken a very dangerous dimension because as I am talking to you, one person had been shot dead.
‘’I have notified the state governor and the police commissioner, Mr. Fimihan Adeoye and the State Director of the Department of State Security Services on the development.’’
In his own comment, the acting Commissioner of Police in the state, Mr. Mohammed Abubakar Koji while speaking through the command Police Public Relations Officer, Mrs. Folasade Odoro, said that, the security men were in control of the situation.
However, soldiers from Engineering Construction Regiment, Ede were drafted to the scene of the crisis to quell further killings and destruction of property.
Govt orders immediate quelling of crisis
Osun state government said it has caused deployment of heavy security forces to the scene of the crisis in Ile Ife in Ife Central West Local Council Development Area of the state.
A statement from the Office of the Governor, signed by the Director, Bureau of Communication and Strategy, Mr. Semiu Okanlawon, assured of the readiness of the security forces to quell the face-off which has led to the destruction of properties in affected areas of the ancient city.
“This is to assure all and sundry that the breach of the peace in Ile Ife is not beyond the control of our highly mobilized security forces.
“To this end, the governor of the state of Osun, upon receiving reports of the fracas, the exact cause of which is still under investigation, has ordered deployment of adequate security forces and is getting minute-by-minute situation reports.
“The Government therefore warns those involved in this act of criminal breach of public peace to end it immediately as the full weight of the law would be brought to bear on anyone arrested.”
Ooni Ogunwusi appeals to warring parties
The Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi, Ojaja11, also appealed to the warring Yoruba and Hausa factions to give peace a chance.
Speaking through his media aide, Comrade Moses Olafare, the monarch said that, he had instructed some palace officials to see to the rescue of the Hausas who were arrested by the Ifes in the mayhem.
The monarch was quoted as telling the people of Ife to ensure that no more live or property is lost while the law enforcement agencies are allowed to restore peace to the community.
He told his subjects to ensure that they allow peace to reign in their domain so that his efforts since ascending the throne to ensure peace in his domain, Yorubaland and Nigeria as a whole would not be in vain.
He stated that, peace would soon be fully restored between the two warring factions in the town.
He appealed to the two factions to tolerate one another and live as one without segregation, sectionalism, tribalism and nepotism saying all tribes are one in the country.
Vanguard gathered that casualties are from both the Hausa and Yoruba communities including children from both sides.
Some of the victims that received varied degrees of injuries are receiving treatment at the Obafemi Awolowo University Hospital Teaching Hospital Complex, Ile-Ife.
Meanwhile, normalcy is gradually returning to the ancient town as the security agencies combined to ensure no more damage is done on both sides.