Afenifere National Publicity Secretary, Mr. Yinka Odumakin, who is also an indigene of Ife, yesterday in statement titled: ‘Ife Crisis: The Hounding After and Yoruba Stand’, said the pattern of the arrest was sectional.
He also lamented that apart from the fact that the recent fracas was sparked by some persons of northern extraction, the activities of some individuals is having telling effects on the social fibre of Ife people.
“We are equally miffed that security operatives sectionally mobilised have moved to Ife after the incident to carry out one-sided mass arrests of Yoruba people who are mostly notables and could never have participated in any riot.
“As at the time of making this statement, all of those so indiscriminately arrested have either been taken to either the state police command in Osogbo or Force Headquarters in Abuja. The people arrested are either community leaders or members of the vigilante who assisted in rescuing members of the Arewa community and took them to either the police or the palace. Nobody has been arrested so far on the Arewa side,” Odumakin alleged.
He gave the names of those he said were indiscriminately arrested as: the Alapoje of Alapoje, Oba Ademola Ademiluyi; an undergraduate of Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Ile-Ife, Alhaji Yekini Saka; Oshowade Lukman, Adigun Osuolale, Eludoyin Francis, Sakiru Jimoh, Seye Akinyobo and Samson Makinde.
Others on the list are Adelegan Kehinde, Isaac Omisanmi, Peter Omisope, Daniel Olanrewaju, Isaac Adefisan, Monday Adejumo and someone whose name was simply given as Dele aka DBamson.
“We seriously object to a one-sided arrest in a clash between two groups in this undue deployment of federal influence along fault lines. But we are further disturbed that people who are arrested for an offence allegedly committed in Ife are being bundled to Abuja for nothing but sheer intimidation. What information can Abuja gather on a fight in Ife? Can you charge anybody in an Abuja court for a crime allegedly committed in Ife? Since the answers to the above questions are in the negative, we demand that all those taken to Abuja be returned to Osun State immediately.
Explaining how the trouble began, Odumakin emphasised that for well over 80 years since Arewa people have stayed in the ancient city of Ife, they have never come under attacks of any sort, even during serious disturbances between the local communities.
According to him, “Our investigations and eyewitness reports indicated there was a serious provocation which bordered on assault on a Yoruba woman by a member of the Arewa community which attracted reaction from the husband of the assaulted woman and his friends around 8p.m. March 7, 2017. The Ife traditional authorities alerted the police immediately to step into the matter. The Area Commander however failed to act on the community request. An Osun State police would have been more responsive if Nigeria were to run a proper federation.
“The fight resumed on the morning of March 8.The first casualty killed by members of Arewa community goes by the name Busuyi Kayode a.k.a Aperin. His corpse was put in a wheel barrow. The next was Elijah Balogun who was killed by the stray bullet of Special Anti-robbery Squad (SAS) policemen with a vehicle marked 109.
Meanwhile, the Kaduna State Government yesterday assured Yorubas and other non-indigenes resident in the state of their security.
The government also warned that anyone caught circulating video clips and pictures purported to be the corpses of Hausas killed in the recent clash between Yoruba and Hausa in Ile-Ife, Osun State, would be arrested and prosecuted.
The government had earlier issued a similar warning two days ago following the circulation of gory images and calls for reprisals, especially on the social media.