The Federal Government on Thursday renewed its commitment to restoring peace and sanity in all parts of the country.
The Minister of Interior, retired Lt.-Gen. AbdulRaman Dambazau, said this at the Ooni of Ife’s palace after a visit to the Sabo area of Ile-Ife.
This followed a crisis that ensued between Yoruba and Hausa communities on March 8.
He said: “I am part of Ile-Ife. Even late Oba Okunade Sijuwade who was the closest friend of the late Emir of Kano, Alhaji Ado Bayero, confirmed that I schooled in South West.’’
The however said that he was shocked and confused when he learnt of the dispute between Ife and Hausa communities, saying it has not been so from ages past.
“I know Ile-Ife as a land of peace, accommodating strangers, friendly and loving other ethnics, so I wonder how such incident could occur,” Dambazau said.
Dambazau attributed to the crisis to criminals and not the Ife or Hausa communities, adding that the strife had no tribal or religious coloration.
He called for a peaceful coexistence, saying “all we want in all communities is peace, for without peace, we cannot sleep nor slumber, for without peace, there cannot be any development”.
While urging all to join hands and fish out the perpetrators, the minister said the bad eggs, once identified, would not go unpunished to serve as a deterrent to others.
Dambazau commended the efforts of the Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi, and host Gov. Rauf Aregbesola, over the matured way they managed the crisis.
He also appealed to other Nigerians to desist from acts likely to lead to violence and loss of lives and properties across the country.
Earlier, the President, Ife Progressive Forum, Mr Olajide Awowoyin, had welcomed the minister while acknowledging his good posture towards the cradle of the Yoruba.
Awowoyin also described Ile-Ife as a land of peace and love, assuring the minister that no more war or crisis would occur in the land.
He however condemned what he described as one-sided arrests, saying that justice needs to be upheld in solving the crisis in the area.
Also, the Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi, who was represented by his second-in-command, Oba Idowu Adediwura, the Obalufe of Ife, lauded the minister for coming to share in Ife’s agony and pains inflicted by miscreants.
Ogunwusi described the incident as saddening and regrettable not just for Ife indigenes but the entire Yoruba race.
The Ooni also said that normalcy has returned to the land and that peace would follow.
In the same vein, Aregbesola, who was represented by his deputy, Mrs Titilayo Laoye-Tomori, observed that the Hausa people had been living in Ife since 1824 and that several generations of them were actually born there.
The governor condemned a section of the media for misinterpreting the misunderstanding between two individuals as a fracas between Hausa and Yoruba.
He therefore appealed for peaceful coexistence in the land, promising that with the crisis over, the state government will provide succour to the victims.