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Ife crisis: Afenifere group rejects police report, wants commission of inquiry

The Afenifere Renewal Group, ARG, has cast aspersion on the investigations of the police on the recent crisis  in Ile Ife, describing it as unfair and one-sided.

The group, in a statement by its publicity secretary, Kunle Famoriyo, on Tuesday, said it had looked forward to a thorough police investigation establishing the immediate and remote causes of the crisis, but it appears that no thorough and trustworthy report would come from the police.

It called on the Osun Government to institute a commission of enquiry to conduct a thorough investigation into the crisis.

“We are however shocked at the outcome of a purported police investigation which from all indications would now appear one-sided and tending towards a predetermined outcome,” the group said.

“For instance, the sin of one of those paraded, Obimakinde Samuel, according to police information, was that he was ‘found with a fresh cut on his head suspected to have been inflicted on him during the crisis.’ Mr. Obimakinde, according to police information, is obviously a victim.

“In a violent clash that involves deaths, injuries, and arson on all sides, the Nigeria Police are saying that Yoruba people are the only culprits, that Yoruba people attacked their own people, and burnt the houses of their own people. Who would believe this?”

ARG also contended that the Ife crisis was not an ethnic issue even though the police was in the effort to make it one.

“It disturbingly raised the question of partisanship and cast a doubt on the police institution,” the statement said.

“But the whole world can now see the joke that the Nigeria police is in the temple of justice and fairness.

“What is desired is a thorough and trustworthy investigation but it appears that is impossible to get from the Nigeria Police that have failed to produce a single arrest in cases of perpetual marauders and killers in Southern Kaduna, Benue and Enugu States but have within a week found a sudden ‘efficiency’ in the Ile-Ife crisis.”

The group pointed out that the police failed to make any arrest when a similar crisis occurred at Mile 12, Lagos, last year during which Yoruba people were killed and their properties razed and when a LASTMA official, Tajudeen Bakare, was brazenly murdered in the process of enforcing the law.

It asserted that the Yoruba people were lovers of peace but also haters of injustice in any appearance or form.

“We would not allow our people to be deliberately made a scapegoat of the inherent failure of Nigeria’s nationality,” ARG said.

“We therefore call on the Government of the State of Osun to inaugurate a commission of enquiry to establish the remote and immediate causes in a manner that will engender truth and reconciliation.”

The Force Public Relations Officer, Jimoh Moshood, has however, denied that the police investigation was one-sided or ethnic bias.

“It is not good for any group to be fanning the embers of disunity,” Mr. Moshood said.

“The police did a thorough investigation, and 30 people were arrested, but 18 were released unconditionally. Those involved will be charged to court.”

Mr. Moshood said the crisis was not an ethnic one and the report did not indicate that.

According to him, some groups were trying to make it ethnic, warning that no one can perpetrate a crime and hide under any ethnic group.

“The era of impunity is over, we cannot allow people to perpetrate comes and hide under any group,” he said.

He said those to be arraigned have the opportunity to defend themselves in court to prove whether they are innocent or not.

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