The Arewa Youth Consultative Forum (AYCF) has warned Yoruba groups including the Afenifere, the pan Yoruba socio-cultural organisation, not to provoke Hausa people with their comments over the recent Yoruba/Fulani crisis in Ile-Ife, Osun State, which led to the death of some persons.
This is even as Afenifere, on Tuesday, vigorously kicked against the Nigeria Police Force in the way it has been handling the recent Hausa/Yoruba crisis in Ile-Ife, Osun State.
A clash between the Hausa community and the indigenes of Ile-Ife on March 8, 2017 led to the death of some Nigerians, most of them reportedly from the North.
The Police had waded into the crisis and arrested some people. However, some Yoruba groups have kicked, saying that only Yorubas were arrested over the incident.
The National President of AYCF, Alhaji Yerima Shettima, said the comments from the Yoruba groups amounted to a gang-up to harass and intimidate the courts and the police from investigating and punishing those found guilty so that a repeat of the sad episode would be avoided.
Shettima, in a statement he personally signed, said: “We take exception to those marauders who are hiding behind ethnic umbrella and are desperately trying to pervert the course of justice.
“We are cautioning them to tread carefully so that their latest action would not provoke reprisal attacks, because this is an important period in the history of this nation, when all compatriots are working hard to address the multiple challenges confronting the nation, economically, politically and socially”.
The Northern group reminded the Afenifere that the Hausas have displayed maturity by not going after millions of Yoruba citizens doing business in their region.
“This is a demonstration of respect for the rule of law and not cowardice. We are aware that no one has the monopoly of violence or creating hot-air balloons in order to cover up an organised attack on people doing legitimate business in any party of our country.
“We watched with dismay, how the Afenifere is beginning to fan the embers of hatred against the victims and creating heroes out of the attackers. This amounts to a subtle ethnic cleansing campaign and we wish to warn Afenifere and its paymasters to shun such a dangerous act.
“It was unfortunate that a few loquacious Yoruba sons have joined the bandwagon by shouting to the roof tops, in a calculated attempt to dissuade the courts and law enforcement agencies from doing the needful.
“For the records, one-time vice presidential candidate in the 2007 elections, Pastor Tunde Bakare, has launched a negative campaign against the Nigerian Police for detecting and carrying out the arrest of prime suspects in the clash. Other tribal champions include Femi Fani-Kayode; and the Yoruba Youth Council (YYC), which bought airtime on Channels TV, just to condemn the arrest of the suspects,” AYCF said.
AYCF added: “Let the Afenifere and their fellow collaborators in this massive cover-up campaign bear in mind that we, the Northerners, are watching and if we were not law-abiding, we would have followed the same path of ethnic antagonism and defending the indefensible.
“We can only stress that this is a crucial moment in the history of this nation and the most important thing is how to move forward in all spheres by shunning acts capable of breeding large-scale violence in the North in the name of reprisal attacks.
“It is now evident that Afenifere has openly endorsed the killings, especially as they were all quiet when the killings were going on and shamelessly came out after the arrests by security agents have been made. Let this be last time anyone would be shielded for killing fellow citizens in the name of ethnic or tribal agenda. We have had enough of this rubbish,” the AYCF said.
Meanwhile, Afenifere, the pan Yoruba socio-cultural organisation, on Tuesday, vigorously kicked against the Nigeria Police Force in the way it has been handling the recent Hausa/Yoruba crisis in Ile-Ife, Osun State.
The organisation declared that the police was unfair with the Yorubas that were arrested in connection with the crisis in Osun State while describing the action as “sectional”.
Afenifere said that those suspects arrested in connection with the recent crisis must be returned to Osun State where the offence was allegedly committed rather than being prosecuted at its headquarters in Abuja.
Yinka Odumakin, the spokesman of Afenifere, who said this in a communique read to journalists in Akure, the Ondo State capital, asked the Police to investigate the crisis with fairness and in line with the ethics of their profession.
Odumakin advised the police to stop further dehumanising of the suspects and cautioned against further sentimental judgment in relating to the case.
The communique reads in parts: “The Police intimidated, harassed and embarrassed the Yoruba people of Ile-Ife. They arrested some Yoruba people in the town and even pronounced them guilty without any trial. Up till now, the suspects are not arraigned, neither were they tried, yet the Police pronounced them guilty.
“The Police remains a federal institution which is for all Nigerians regardless of tribe or ethnic affiliation. The Police should not be seen as an institution for a particular ethnic group, as we are being made to understand through their actions now.
“The suspects should be brought to Osun State where the offence was allegedly committed and they should be tried there. If they are found guilty, they should be punished in line with the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. We are not in support of criminal acts, neither are we in support of cheating, like the Police are doing.
“While sympathising with the victims of the Ife crisis, including the Hausas and the Yorubas, especially those who lost their lives, we call for thorough investigation into the matter to determine the cause of the crisis and also punish those involved to serve as deterrent for others.
“However, we condemn the Police for arresting only Yoruba people and also parading them. We are worried with the way the Police pronounced them guilty without being tried.
“This shows that the Police are sectional in the handling of this matter involving two different ethnic groups. How could people be called criminals without being tried?
“The office of the state Attorney General should be given roles to play in our constitution. In the case of the Ife crisis, the office of the Attorney General of Osun State and the Ministry of Justice as a whole should be the one to advise the Police on the matter.
The organisation also maintained that the Osun State Police command should be in charge and to investigate the crisis with the state Ministry of Justice and not the Police headquarters.
“Those penalized should be brought back to Osun State forthwith. They should not be tried in Abuja or any other place where the offence was not committed. Also, the Police should stop dehumanizing the suspects and show that they are for all Nigerians and not for a particular ethnic group in the country.“