THE federal government has dismissed insinuation that the recent communal clashes in Ife, Osun State was based on ethnicity, saying that it was perpetrated by a bunch of people who decided to constitute themselves as nuisance.
Ministers of Interior, Lt Gen Abdulrahman Danbazau, who had just returned from a tour of the area, told State House correspondents over the weekend that government will fish out the perpetrator and visit the full weight of the law on them.
He said: “It is very clear that this issue is not about crisis between Hausa community and Yoruba community in Ife. The Hausa community has been leaving in Ife close to 200 years.
“I understand that the first settlers arrived in 1820 and this is about the 4th or 5th generation. They have never experienced this kind of thing until now.
“So, it is not about ethnic issue. It is about a bunch of people who decided to constitute themselves nuisance to carry out this dastardly act.
“Quite a number of them escaped from the community. So we made them understand that they should not look at it from the point of ethnicity and they all agreed.”
Danbazau emphasized the need for peace to prevail in the affected area and warned against reprisal attacks.
According to him, “We also emphasized the need to remain in peace and the issue of revenge, reprisal shouldn’t come to anybody’s mind because the government is handling the situation and those who are found to be involved and deliberately attack and take people’s lives and destroy properties will be dealt with in accordance with the law.”
He said during the tour of the area, “We made them understand that the government is up and doing, the government is taking up its responsibility in ensuring that it protects lives and properties because in accordance with chapter two of the Constitution, the purpose of government is protection of lives and properties.”
He reveled that he had also met with the Hausa community in Ibadan and had impress upon them the need to leave in peace with their host community.
“We discussed all the issues and that they discussed with their people to peaceful co-existence,” he said.
At least seven persons were confirmed dead while property worth millions of Naira were destroyed when clashes broke out in the town earlier this month.