Yoruba, Ijaw leaders condemn Lagos/Ogun killings, call for restructuring of Nigeria

Chief Ayo Adebanjo, leader of the Yoruba delegation, left and Chief Albert K. Horsfall, leader of the Ijaw delegation

Yoruba and Ijaw leaders met in Lagos on Friday condemning the recent killings by purported ‘militants’ in Ikorodu area of Lagos State and challenged the police to release the identities of the perpetrators, including their names.

They also restated their call for the restructuring of the country and the establishment of state police.

The leaders met against the background of recent killings in Lagos and Ogun communities, which police authorities attributed to Ijaw ‘militants’.

In a communique jointly signed by Chief Ayo Adebanjo, leader of the Yoruba delegation and Chief Albert K. Horsfall, leader of the Ijaw delegation, the leaders said the Ikorodu incident  “underlines the urgent need for state police, the restructuring of Nigeria and the need for the review and adoption of all past national conferences, including but not limited to the relevant sections of the reports of the 2014 National Conference reports.”

The leaders, in the communique, which was read by Chief Horsfall, further said that “informed by the need for peaceful co-existence and sustainable development of Ijaw and Yoruba nations, the meeting was initiated by elders from both nations to address issues of mutual interest for peace and well-being of the two great civilisations.”

They recalled that there had been some developments in the past few months, which were of utmost concern to the two nationalities, saying some of these issues included but not limited to “recent spate of violence in some Yoruba territories, the social and economic state of the Nigerian nation and the future of the people of the two nationalities in the context of the emerging trends in the country.”

“That the recent cases of militant attacks in Ikorodu and other places linked by the police to the militants of Ijaw extradition are quite unfortunate.

“The meeting rejects the Ogun State police commissioner’s account and, therefore, requests the police to furnish the public with convincing details of the people that carried out the attacks, including their names. This issue should not, however, be allowed to fuel discord and communal violence between the Yoruba and Ijaw nations,” they warned.

The  leaders, however, enjoined the two ethnic groups not to fall into the antics of being used against each other. “It is in the interest of both nations, who have lived together in their territories for over 6000 years, long before Nigeria as a country was established, to work together, explore areas of cooperation for the race and well being of the two nationalities.

“It is not a meeting between two nations at war or in conflict. Us a meeting of people of people who have lived together for several years as brothers. That the peace and development of the two nationalities can best be achieved in an atmosphere of trust, confidence and mutual trust. That the meeting condemns violence in any form and that the recent killings in Ikorodu are extremely in bad taste,” the communique said.

The meeting, which said the violence was “carried out by criminal elements who sadly had links with security agencies,” pointed out that the meeting strongly condemned the violence.

In attendance also were Chief Thompson Okorotie; chairman, Bayelsa Elders Forum; Chief Francis Doakpola, Justice Tabai, General Alani Akinrinade (retd), Comrade Joseph Evah, Mr Wale Oshun, Mr Yinka Odumakin, Prof Banji Akintoye among others.