Ooni Adeyeye Ogunwusi, Ojaja II of Ile-Ife, Osun State has awarded a scholarship to over 200 students.
The students, according to the coordinator of the Ooni’s Save Education Project, Adeyanju Olaoluwa, were shortlisted from 37 secondary schools from six states in the South West. He added that the children are from homes where the parents are financially constrained.
Olaoluwa said this on Wednesday when some of the beneficiaries and their parents paid a visit to Ooni Ogunwusi at his Ile Oodua Palace in Ile-Ife, Osun State.
The Coordinator added that 68 students had their West African Examination Council (WAEC) fees paid in 23 of the schools already visited, while 14 others would be visited soon.
According to him, the project is entirely sponsored by Ooni, as part of his landmark achievements in the last two years on the throne.
The coordinator urged NGOs, philanthropists, politicians and meaningful Nigerians to emulate Ooni in assisting the less privileged in the society.
Ooni while receiving that parents and students urged them to be studious, humble and respectful. He advised the students never to lose hope but prayerful and focused for them to get to their promised land.
The Vice-Principal, Ilobu High School, Yemi Opawoye-Adeagbo acknowledged the traditional ruler for assisting all and sundry including the less privileged students.
Mrs Paulina Nwachukwu, of Saint Paulina Missionary School, Lagos, who spoke on behalf of the beneficiaries, applauded Ooni for his good gesture towards the less privileged.
Victims of the ethnic clash that occurred in the Sabo area of Ile Ife, Osun state, are still counting their losses over the violence that wreaked havoc in their area.
They have appealed to the government to assist them by providing shelters for those displaced.
The residents made the plea when a team from the National Commission for Refugees, Migrants and Internally Displaced Persons visited the community.
A member of the team, speaking to Channels Television, said the commission believes that whenever there is a crisis, the first thing to do is to ensure that the victims are at least able to eat.
According to her, that provides immediate succor for the victims.
Meanwhile, the wife of the Ooni of Ife, who also accompanied the team, appealed to the community to embrace peace.
“We continue to ask for peace because that is the only way we can move forward. we cannot pay back hurt with hurt and it is important that we all remember that we are one and in unity, that is the only way we can progress,” she noted.
The Ooni of Ife, His Imperial Majesty Ooni Adeyeye Ogunwusi Ojaja II, has described Nigeria’s cultural heritage as a huge export potential, capable of igniting economic rejuvenation.
Ooni Ogunwusi said this at Ile-Ife during the joint celebration of Alafere, Oya and Ijugbe festivals which attracted a huge crowd of participants from within and outside Ile-Ife, especially the Bariba and Nupe people in Niger and Kwara states of Nigeria.
The African foremost monarch who is the spiritual leader of Yoruba race stated that the celebration is to give glory to God Almighty who he described in Yoruba language “Oba ti a ko ri, ti a n ri ise owo e”, meaning “The unseen God but whose impact is being felt always”.
The Ooni wondered why cultural festivals and heritage are not getting necessary attention from citizens of the country, saying this has been affecting the growth of the local festivals and culture in the country.
He also expressed displeasure that foreigners were beginning to appreciate the African culture, mysteries and festivals than indigenes of the continents.
“Our heritage is so strong. All the things that we are celebrating may be strange to a lot of people living in Nigeria and Yorubaland but in the Western World, I just returned from the UK where I met with the British Royal Family and visited the British Museum, they don’t joke with our culture. All these things are so important to them.
“They traced the origin of mankind to Africa and all these facts are displayed in their libraries and museums. They believe in the potency and power of all these festivals. It is about time for us (Africans) to nurture what we have.
“We should celebrate what nature has given to us. Our culture is a very huge export potential and tourism is one of the biggest trades in the world. It is bigger than a lot of investments that you can think of because it has a lot of people’s movement.
“With tourism, people are able to establish a common heritage and ancestral background”, Ooni said.
He called on government at all levels to improve the level of infrastructure, noting that the government needs to support the drive to project the Yoruba culture to the world.
“It is about time for us to focus on tourism by improving our infrastructure and for us to package these entire heritages. Most of the heritage and festivals are very timely and yield benefits.
“The government should pay serious attention to our heritage. We are blessed here because our tourist centres and attractions are natural.
“We don’t need to create any form of artificial tourism. They are very natural tourism potentials and that is why we need to display them.
“We hope that at one point, the government will appreciate us.” He added.
The Public Relations Officer of the Nigerian Police Force, Jimoh Moshood, has stressed that the fatal incident that took place in Ile-Ife, an ancient town in Osun state, south-west Nigeria, was not an ethnic clash.
According to him, those same youths do business together and have always lived in harmony, regardless of their tribal differences.
He made this position known while addressing the allegations by Yoruba youths that the Force had handled the case in a one-sided manner.
Mr Moshood however stated that the Osun State Commissioner of Police, among other people handling the case, were equally Yorubas.
He said it would be wrong for anyone to make a blanket accusation against the Police, describing it is as a disservice to the efforts of the Inspector General of Police.
46 People Killed
Giving a background of what resulted in the fatal clash, he said a certain Oba of a Local area, who is also a Chairman of the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) in the area, moved in with thugs to attack a community, following an assault on his wife, which occurred the previous day.
He stated that when the crisis started, the Police moved in immediately to resolve it, however, people started burning houses, property, and killing people.
“96 People were injured, 81 were treated and discharged, and 15 were still hospitalized as at the time we did the parade of the suspects and 46 people were killed in this process,” he confirmed.
He also stated that when the crisis erupted, the IGP promptly deployed Special Intervention Force from the Force Headquarters headed by a commissioner of Police, in charge of Police Mobile Force.
“This intervention was very very swift, in ensuring that within two days, the arrow head was arrested.”
The PPRO further stated that investigation was still on-going and he confirmed that 38 people have so far been arrested and taken to Abuja for more thorough and discrete investigation.
Mr Moshood, however, stated that 18 of them were later found not culpable and amongst them were Yorubas as well as Hausas.
“Our intervention was very prompt and we ensured that including the northern states, the effort of the Police were equally circulated in local language for people to know that we have intervened and the situation is under control.”
Governor Rauf Aregbesola of Osun State has set up a five-man commission of enquiry to unravel the remote and immediate causes of the bloody crisis that ravaged the ancient city of Ile-ife on March 8, 2017.
The Commission was given four weeks to complete its job and members include: Justice M.A Adeigbe who is the chairman, Mrs Bose Dawodu DCP (rtd), Barrister Ismail Ajibade, the State Commissioner of Police, the State Director of DSS and Mr Bisi Babalola, who will act as the secretary.
Aregbesola urged the commission to investigate and determine the true cause of the mayhem and identify the persons behind it, and their level of involvement.
The commission was also charged to recommend appropriate civil or criminal actions to be taken against the perpetrators.
According to him, there were reports that small arms and light weapons were deployed freely during the crisis, a fact which he described as disturbing and frightening.
“It has implication for security of lives and property and the potential for more conflicts beyond the immediate theatre of war, if not nipped in the bud.
“I want you to look into this. The sources and the current location of these arms and their custodians should be investigated and determined. They should all be recovered.
“There are also reports that cultists who have no regard for human lives were recruited into the mayhem for a fee. This is most disheartening. Please investigate this and unearth the roles they played and let the law be applied without fear or favour.
“I charge this commission to be courageous and fearless. Undertake this assignment with all seriousness and the fear of God. You should pursue the truth and not fear where it will lead to.
“We want justice for all, like Martin Luther King Jr, once said: “Let justice roll down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream”, to the victims and the perpetrators alike, as I wish you success on this crucial assignment,” Aregbesola said.
The governor also cautioned residents of the state not to pre-empt the outcome of the enquiry, noting that it would be prejudicial to the efforts of the law enforcement agencies.
He further stated that it was unwise and wicked for anybody to describe the violence in the Sabo area of Ile-Ife as a religious or tribal war.
“The police and other law enforcement agencies have assured all that the rule of law would be strictly adhered to and would be allowed to prevail. We owe them support and the need for patience until the final outcome, since investigation into the matter continues.
“In the light of the ongoing investigation, therefore, we do not want to pre-empt the outcome by making statements prejudicial to the efforts of the law enforcement agencies.
“However, we have no doubt that this is not an inter-ethnic, inter religious or inter regional conflict by any stretch of the imagination. It was just an ugly development, a breach of public peace, masterminded by hoodlums and criminals resulting to loss of lives and property.
“We should all therefore disabuse our minds of ethnic bias by denying the narrative of inter-ethnic conflict between the Yoruba and Hausa community in Ile Ife, because it was not.
“It is the duty of government to guarantee the welfare and security of all people in its area of jurisdiction. This we shall do to the best of our ability and with all the resources at our disposal, without fear or favour,” Aregbesola maintained.
The Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, on Friday met with President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa in Abuja.
The meeting was held to update the President on the deployment of the Police in crisis areas in Nigeria.
IGP Idris also informed President Buhari on his effort to ensure that the country and its people are well secured.
Speaking shortly after the meeting which held behind closed door, he briefed State House correspondents on the specific directives given to him by the President.
“Obviously, there should be a specific directive to ensure that all of us use all the facilities at our disposal to make sure that some of these incidents we are talking about are brought under control as soon as possible,” he said.
The Police boss said his men have made concerted effort to stop the recent communal clash in Ile-Ife, adding that investigations were ongoing while a number of suspects have been arrested.
He, however, expressed doubts over the involvement of Fulani herdsmen in the recent killings in Zaki Biam, Benue State.
According to Mr Idris, indications pointed in the direction of a wanted hoodlum, Gana who has been on police wanted list.
It was also convened to forestall any form of reprisal attacks in Kaduna State, and seek the support of the leaders in finding solutions to the Southern Kaduna crisis which has claimed so many lives.
Resident community leaders comprising of Igbo, Yoruba, Igala and others from various part of the country gathered at the Government House, on the invitation of the Kaduna State Government.
Speaking, Mr Bantex warned those trying to incite unnecessary tensions in the state as a result of recent events elsewhere to desist from circulating videos, images and making inciting comments.
He appealed to the community leaders to prevail on their subjects to uphold peace in the state, remain calm and firmly reject any attempt to drag them into any form of violent behaviour.
Enemies Of Peace
“Those trying to incite unnecessary tensions in the state because of what is happening in Ile Ife, Osun State should desist from circulating videos and images with inciting commentary and calls to citizens for reprisals.
“Already, the unfortunate incidents in that part of the country have been contained and taken care of, so the government will not watch enemies of peace capitalising on the situation to cause problems in Kaduna State, using images and videos to incite reprisals.
“People circulating images and calling for reprisals are enemies of peaceful society, and all citizens must say no to them.
“The Kaduna State Government is determined to ensure that anyone or group of persons distributing images and videos calling for revenge are arrested and prosecuted.
“Citizens must support the government to ensure that every threat to law and order in the state is defeated,” he said.
Speaking on the crisis in Southern Kaduna, the Acting Governor noted that the violence was purely an act of criminality and banditry, contrary to the Christian against Muslim crisis as widely believed.
According to him, the most peaceful local government area in Kaduna State is Jaba Local Government Area, which is one of the eight local governments that make up the ‘Zone Three’ called Southern Kaduna.
The leader of the Community Leaders Forum and President-General of Yoruba Traditional Rulers Council in the 19 Northern States, Abdulganiyu Oguntoyinbo, in his response said those responsible for the Ile Ife crisis did not represent the Yorubas as a people.
He urged the Yoruba community in Kaduna and Northern Nigeria to remain calm, peaceful and shun reprisal attacks.
“We are tired of blood spilling and we therefore appeal to our political, religious and traditional leaders irrespective of their differences to come together and find a lasting solution to the recurring crises,” Oguntoyinbo said.
While commending the Kaduna State Government for convening the meeting to acquaint them on the measures taken to protect lives and properties of citizens, especially the non-indigenes, he lauded the Governor, Nasir El-Rufai’s administration for the ongoing infrastructural development in the state.
Although the community leaders commended the recent steps taken by government and security agencies to end the attacks in Southern Kaduna, they expressed concern over the negative consequence of the crisis on the socio-economic development of the state.
Reports say so far, many lives and properties were reportedly lost in about 10 sectarian crises in Kaduna State in the past 30 years.
The Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi, has set up a Truth and Reconciliation Committee to look into causes of the recent communal clash that occurred in Sabo Area, in Ile ife.
Addressing journalists in Osun State, President of the Ife Progressive Forum, Awowoyin Lawrence, said the committee is also expected to come up with ideas to prevent a future occurrence of such mayhem.
The leader of the Hausa community in Ile Ife, Mahmud Madagali, who is a member of the reconciliation committee, spoke on the helplessness of his people in the aftermath of the crisis.
Affected communities have been receiving relief materials to cushion the effect of the crisis.
The lawmaker representing Osun East Senatorial District, Senator Babajide Omoworare, also visited some victims of the clash who were left behind.
According to Senator Omoworare, “what we have done in the interim is to assure both the Arewa community and the Yorubas in Sabo area that we are interested in peace and we are doing everything to get peace”.