* Meet Hausa, Yoruba leaders
* Buhari warns against violence
Oyo State governor, Seyi Makinde, and his Ondo counterpart Rotimi Akeredolu, on Sunday, visited the troubled Shasha community in Ibadan, with the former warning that criminals masquerading as hoodlums will be fished out and dealt with.
Bemoaning the wanton carnage, destruction of properties and killings, the two governors tasked the Shasha residents on the need for peaceful coexistence and to desist from taking the laws into their hands.
Speaking on behalf of South-West governors, Akeredolu urged the Yoruba and Hausa to rekindle the spirit of brotherliness with which they have lived as one for many years.
He held that the clash may not be unconnected with built-up anger of Nigerians about the state of affairs of the nation.
While expressing optimism that the nation will overcome its challenges, he cautioned residents against taking to fighting and counter-attack to express their displeasure. He also urged residents to cooperate with the Oyo State governor to remedy and take charge of the situation.
Akeredolu said: “I have come here on behalf of my colleagues in Ekiti, Lagos, Osun and Ogun. All of them have sent messages. Ogun has its own crisis it is battling with, so does Lagos. But as the chairman, I decided to come around to appeal to us.
“Though we are here in our fatherland, our own sons and daughters are in another person’s fatherland. So, let us think about this and continue to live in peace with one another. We don’t need to fight ourselves.
“We have security agencies that you can call their attention to any issue that could cause crisis. Let us not take the law into our hands. I have a brother in Abuja and others living in Hausaland.”
On his part, Makinde assured of ensuring that normalcy quickly returns to Shasha market. To this end, he said the government will immediately work on giving palliatives to persons affected in the crisis. He decried the carnage that characterised the clash, stating that the government will fish out and deal with criminals masquerading as hoodlums to fuel the crisis.
Makinde charged security agencies to step up their efforts at calming the situation and particularly dominate Shasha area to ensure no more deaths are recorded. He explained that the curfew declared on Saturday is still in force, though he noted that he was initially reluctant to declare the curfew because he did not want anything that will negatively affect the means of livelihood of the people.
“The last time I came here, about six weeks ago, some shops belonging to Hausa and Yoruba people got burnt.
“So, you have been living together peacefully and all I am pleading with you is, no matter what is making anyone angry, we will solve it with patience.
“The curfew is still in force. What I saw out there I could not believe. The carnage, loss of lives are needless. We will continue to appeal to everyone. If criminals want to take advantage of the situation, we will not allow it.
“We will ensure that criminals masquerading as hoodlums are fished out and dealt with. We have to do quite a bit, in terms of normalising the situation. You can see lots of people whose means of livelihood are gone. We have to try to see what we can give as palliatives immediately.
“I was reluctant to declare curfew here because I feel the economic well-being of everyone here is important and because this is where you get what you use to feed yourselves.
“One thing is, if you allow those who don’t have anything to lose here to blow this matter out of proportion, no one will be able to say where the crisis will end. By the grace of God, I pray we don’t lose any more lives,” he said.
After the visit, the governor later met with leaders of both sides at the Government House, where they both agreed to sheathe swords and allow peace to reign.
Meanwhile, President Muhammadu Buhari has warned that the Federal government will not allow any ethnic or religious group to stoke hatred and violence against other groups in the country.
The President vowed to protect all religious and ethnic groups – whether majority or minority – in line with his responsibility under the constitution.
His Spokesman, Garba Shehu, said that the President was reacting to reports of violence in some parts of the country by ethnic and sectional groups.
“The President condemned such violence and gave assurance that his government will act decisively to stop the spread of any such violence,” the statement added.
He appealed to religious and traditional leaders, as well as governors and other elected leaders across the country to join hands with the government to ensure that communities in their domains are not splintered along ethnic and other primordial lines.