Nigeria’s Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, and the Ondo State Governor, Rotimi Akeredolu, have warned Nigerians against failing for bait of mischief makers seeking to pitch Nigerians against each other through ethnic fault lines.
The duo explained that the alleged drum of war being beaten by some divisive elements, particularly the rhetoric of Yoruba, Fulani brewing ethnic was being construed to destabilise the peace being enjoyed by all and sundry across the South West region.
They added that unfortunate recent mayhem at Shaha, in Ibadan, Oyo State, must not be allowed to repeat itself and that all hands must be on deck to ensure the region maintain its peaceful and accommodating nature against plot of those seeking disunity.
Osinbajo who described the Shasha incident as tragic and unfortunate said that it was disturbing that a unifier point was destroyed while lives were also lost in the process.
While speaking with newsmen during a condolence visit to late Lateef Jakande’s residence, Ilupeju, the vice president said Nigerians must resist the urge of resorting to jungle justice in dispite resolution.
According to him, Shasha market has been a melting pot for traders bringing foodstuff from the North to the Southwest for decades.
He added that for decades, traders from the North have done business with their brothers from the Southwest and they have lived in peace and even inter-married, saying that Shasha represents unity.
“When a disagreement arises between individuals or a criminal act is committed by one against the other we must ensure that we see it for what it is, a criminal act, which must be punished according to law. Not an ethnic conflict. Every Nigerian has a constitutional right to live, work and enjoy their lives in safety, peace under the law.
“It is the duty of government through the police and other law enforcement agencies to arrest and prosecute any person who commits a crime against a citizen of this nation. It is the role of the citizen to assist the police to identify the criminals.”
Countinuing, he said, “we must never take the law into our own hands, if we do, we will be promoting chaos, and a breakdown of law and order, and all of us especially the most vulnerable amongst us, will be at risk. I urge all community leaders to work together to preserve the brotherly co-existence that our people from different parts of the country have enjoyed in Shasha market for several decades,” Osinbajo said.
On his part, Akeredolu described the incident as unfortunate and an avoidable orgy of violence, adding that the region must work together in achieving and sustaining peace.
“Without doubt, the situation we have found ourselves as a people is most despicable and contends violently against, and abhorrently at variance with the values and hospitality for which our people are known.
“We have been known for thoroughness. We have identified with legality over the centuries; and our ethos as a civilised breed of people are such that we do not identify with lawlessness, not even illegality.
“In this regard, we urge all indigenes of the South West to sustain these values and enviable virtues by remaining law abiding. Our resolve in this direction is not a sign of weakenss; it is indeed, the strongest of all
“In particular, while I understand the height of provocation in the light of recent happenings as regards Shasha, Ibadan, I, alongside my other brother Governors in the Region are against willful appropriation of Laws unto hands. We do not support violence and in particular, brigandage, jungle justice and unnecessary self-help.” the statement said.