Bamigbola Gbolagunte, Akure
About five persons have reportedly died in a renewed clash between the people of Araromi Obu and Ikale in Okitipupa Local Government Area of Ondo State.
The two communities had engaged in violent clash since last month due to a land dispute between them.
It was learnt yesterday that seven more persons allegedly sustained injuries as the two communities renewed their clash and engaged in maiming.
Addressing a press conference in Akure, General Oluyemi Bajowa (retd), stated that the clash was perpetrated by the people of Araromi Obu as against the claim that it was the people of Ikale that masterminded it.
He alleged that houses belonging to the people were razed in the melee by the people of Araromi Obu and accused Governor Rotimi Akeredolu of being bias in the matter.
The state government had declared a 24-hour curfew in the two communities to forestall further breakdown of law and order. The governor visited the two troubled communities.
Bajowa, who said he was dismayed over the attitude of the governor during his visit to the communities, said: “I was at the palace of Abodi of Ikale land when the Ondo State governor visited. I was shocked and horrified at the governor’s public display and pronouncement of power, devoid of decency and protocol by taking the Abodi of Ikale land and other Ikale traditional rulers present to the cleaners.
“He threatened to instruct the security services to level the ground of Ago Alaye and other Ikale villages in Araromi-Obu and its environs; he also threw caution to the wind, by boasting that he does not need Ikale votes for his re-election.
“At this point, I had to cut in with reverence and cautioned against any bias and indiscriminate arrest of Ikale people. I also advised the government to abide by the rule of law, while I implored the security services to confine their activities to the established operational rule of engagement; afterall we are in a democratic dispensation.
“The governor then promised to set up a committee to investigate the Araromi-Obu/Ikale crisis. The committee is yet to be put in place as at today,” the retired army general said.
Bajowa maintained that instead of addressing the issues, the governor has been placing the people of Araromi Obu community on the land belonging to the Ikale people.
“As at today, 15 Ikale persons including an 89-year-old man have been arrested and all of them have been remanded in prison custody.
Incidentally, these are people who were not involved in the fracas, but were merely waiting for the governor to give information that could have led to a peaceful resolution of the crisis.
“In view of the foregoing, we are requesting in the interest of fairness, equity and justice, that an independent administrative enquiry should be set up by the government to look into the immediate and remote causes of the incessant crisis between Araromi-Obu settlers and the Ikale people,” he said.
In his reaction, Commissioner for Information and Orientation, Donald Ojogo, said: “It is an unfair statement if anyone says the governor is biased in his handling of the crisis.