Governor Rauf Aregbesola of Osun State has again rietirated the commitment of his administration to the promotion of communal peace in the state, just as he called for cooperation with security agencies in the process of unravelling those behind the March 8 mayhem in Ile-Ife.
The Governor stated this in a speech titled “JUSTICE FOR ALL, NEVER AGAIN IN THE LAND OF THE VIRTUOUS ( IPINLE OMOLUABI ), on Saturday shortly after inaugurating a five man judicial commission of enquiry into the disturbance of public peace in Ile-Ife on March 8.
Members of the commission who have been given four weeks to work are: 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.
The Governor charged the commission to investigate and determine the remote and immediate cause of the disturbance, identify the perpetrators and extent of involvement, determine the extent of injury sufferd by any individual or group.
They were also mandated to recommend appropriate civil or criminal action to be taken against the perpetrators, make appropriate suggestions to the State Government towards the prevention of future occurrence and also recommend appropriate monetary sum as compensation(s) for damages or injuries that may have been suffered by any individual or group of individuals in respect of matters received by it.
According to the governor, “You have four weeks to carry out this assignment. The report that small arms and light weapons were deployed freely during the crisis was 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,” he said.
The Governor warned against a pre-empt of the outcome of on going investigation, saying it will be prejudicial to the efforts of the law enforcement agencies, he however expressed confidence that the crisis is not an inter-ethnic, inter religious or inter regional conflict.
He described the mayhem as just an ugly development, a breach of public peace, masterminded by hoodlums and criminals which resulted into loss of lives and property.
Aregbesola, who called for cooperation and patience with the police and other law enforcement agencies until the outcome of the final investigation, hinted that the police and others have assured of even handedness and that the rule of law will be strictly adhered to and allowed to prevail.
He said the opinion of those fanning the embers of discord between the Hausa and Yoruba should be disregarded, stressing that it is unwise and wicked for anybody to describe the violence in the Sabo area of Ile-Ife as a religious or tribal war.
While emphasising that it is the duty of government to guarantee the welfare and security of all people in its area of jurisdiction, the governor stated that the present administration in the state will do the best with all the resources at its disposal, without fear or favour to guarantee security of lives and property.
“The police and other law enforcement agencies have assured all of even handedness and that the rule of law will be strictly adhered to and prevail. We owe them support and the need for patience until the final outcome, since investigation into the matter continues.
“In light of 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 Governor called on all and sundry to always explore the options of peaceful resolution of conflicts before crisis, saying crisis will always leave both parties in pain and agony at the end of the day. He added that war is bad and must be avoided by all means possible.
“Civilized people should avoid destructive actions and promotion of conflicts. War is bad and must be avoided by all means. We must always first explore and exhaust all options for peace and seriously consider the cost of conflict before promoting it.
“The consequences of war in Libya, Syria, Yemen and South Sudan are sufficiently frightening enough to check any thought of war by any one.
“Secondly, Yoruba people are OMOLUABI; very loving, fair-minded, justice seeking, hospitable and accommodating to a fault. This is why other people flock to us. Likewise, the Hausa community in Ile-Ife and other parts of the state,” he stated.
In his response, Chairman of the judicial commission of enquiry, Hon. Justice Moshood Adeigbe who thanked the governor for the opportunity to serve the people of Osun, promised that the commission will discharge its job without fear or favour.
He said the commission will go all out to ensure that the real perpetrators of the dastardly act are brought to book and ensure that all waring factions are appeased.
“Mr. Governor, I assure you that we will not let you and the people of down, we will carry out this task you have given us to the best of our ability.
“Myself and my members will ensure that the perpetrators of the sad event which occurred at Ife are brought to book.
“We will ensure that it doesn’t happen again in Osun. We will do our job without fear or favour to anyone or group in the matter,” Adeigbe assured.