By; JACOB ONJEWU DICKSON
Media sources have reported about six casualties in the ethnic clash which occurred at Shasha, Ibadan, three days ago. Several houses were razed while dozens were injured. The clash was triggered by a fight between a Northerner and a Yoruba man. The state governor had to impose a curfew while the army was called in before the situation was brought under control.
Meanwhile the Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) has condemned the ethnic killings. The Islamic human rights organization called on law enforcement agents to fish out those responsible for the killing and arson. It also called on the Oyo State government to investigate the immediate and remote causes of the crisis. MURIC spoke through a press statement issued on Wednesday, 17th February, 2021, by its director, Professor Ishaq Akintola.
“We of the Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) strongly denounce the ethnic killings which occurred at Shasha, Ibadan on Friday 12th and Saturday 13th February, 2021. That ugly and unfortunate incident is a manifestation of barbarism in its highest form. We reiterate our condemnation of all killings and violence in all its ramifications, whether perpetrated by criminal herdsmen, by tribal jingoists against Nigerians of other tribes or by citizens exercising jungle justice.
“Nigerians should learn to coexist peacefully. This country belongs to us all and we have no other place we can call our own. We should therefore be prepared to tolerate and to forgive one another. In addition, we should always remember that others are playing host to our kith and kin just as we are hosts and landlords to others. Southerners live in the North in their thousands just as thousands of Northerners live in the South.
“We should all control our emotions in times of anger because the actions of Southerners in the South may be used to judge Southerners in the North and vice versa. We are all stakeholders in the Nigerian project and ambassadors of our tribes and clans.
“MURIC appeals to Nigerians to eschew bitterness and vengeance. We remind true patriots that fifth columnists are still bent on causing confusion. Insurrectionists, rebellious subjects and enemies of peace want this government to fail. That is why they keep sending hate messages and fake news on both conventional and social media. They are inciting the populace against the government of the day. They are setting tribes against each other with the hope of setting off a huge conflagration which no fire fighter will be able to extinguish.
“We call on the Oyo State Government to investigate the immediate and remote causes of the hullabaloo with a view to bringing the culprits to book. This will act as deterrent to other agent provocateur. We appeal to traditional rulers to bring their weights to bear in forging more cordial relations between their communities and non-indigenes.
“It is interesting to note that our office has been inundated with calls from people of Yoruba extraction living in the North since the ugly incident in Ibadan. There is palpable fear in the air. We therefore advise the state government to compensate those who lost their bread winners and those whose properties were destroyed in the Shasha fracas in order to douse tension and avoid retaliations.
“More importantly, there are certain measures which the Buhari administration must take in order to douse tension and calm nerves throughout the country. One, farmers whose crops were destroyed by cows must be compensated. Two, herders with genuine evidence of loss of cattle due to attacks or rustling also deserve to be pacified. Three, the Federal Government (FG) should arrange a bailout fund for cow owners to enable them purchase land for use as ranches. Four, FG must also ban open grazing. Five, the Nigerian Police must officially proscribe the possession of arms like AK 47 by herders.
“Above all, we charge the National Assembly (NASS) to revisit the hate speech bill. It is our considered opinion that hate speech was remotely responsible for the Shasha imbroglio and the earlier we put a halt to it via legislation the better. NASS should ignore all attempts to blackmail it to submission.”