• Calls for return of suspects to Osun
From Bamigbola Gbolagunte, Akure
The pan Yoruba socio-cultural organisation, Afenifere, has frowned at the handling of the recent Hausa/Fulani crisis in Ile-Ife, with a declaration that the Police are not fair to the Yoruba.
Rising from a meeting at the residence of its leader, Pa Reuben Fasoranti in Akure, Ondo State, yesterday, Afenifere condemned the action of the police, especially the arrest of 20 Yoruba. The group stressed that the police were bias and sectional in the way they handled the matter.
Publicity Secretary of the organisation, Mr. Yinka Odumakin, who read the communiqué at the end of the meeting to newsmen said: “Afenifere becomes worried with the way the police handled the Ile Ife crisis, especially considering the fact that the leadership of the Presidency and that of the police are from one of the sections involved in the crisis.”
Afenifere called on the police to investigate the crisis with utmost fairness and in line with the ethics of the profession, insisting that the suspects arrested in connection with the crisis must be returned to Osun State where the offence was allegedly committed, rather than being tried in Abuja.
Expressing disappointment on the steps taken so far by the police, the apex Yoruba organisation advised the police to stop further dehumanising of the suspects, even as it cautioned them against further sectional judgment.
Also, the group alleged that the police took sides in the crisis, and maintained that 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 have not been arraigned, neither were they tried; yet the police pronounced them guilty.
“While sympathising with the victims of the Ile Ife crisis, including the Hausa and the Yoruba, especially those who died, we call for thorough investigation into the matter, to determine the cause of the crisis and also, punish those involved, to serve as deterrent to 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 Ile 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 Osun State Police Command should be the one to investigate the crisis with the state Ministry of Justice and not the police headquarters.
“Those penalised 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 dehumanising the suspects and show that they are for all Nigerians and not for a particular ethnic group in the country.
“Those criminalised in the crisis did not commit treason to warrant the federal government to take over the case. Police cannot charge the suspects outside Osun State. If a Yoruba man commits offence in Ile-Ife, he should be tried within that same jurisdiction,” the communiqué said.
Also, the group tasked all the governors of the northern states to build ranches in their states, to avoid invasion of farmlands by cattle.