Following the killing of five farmers of Modakeke extraction in Ile-Ife, Osun State on Friday and the appeal by the Ooni of Ile-Ife, Oba Enitan Adeyeye Ogunwusi, Ojaja II, for calm, the Muslim Rights Concern has requested both parties to listen to the monarch.
MURIC spoke in a statement by its Director, Prof. Ishaq Akintola, on Saturday following the heightening of tension.
MURIC said: “Five Modakeke farmers were allegedly killed yesterday, Friday, 20th August, 2021. The victims were on their way to the farm when they were ambushed in a village lying between Ife and Modakeke.
“We are glad to note that the Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi, Ojaja II has appealed to the people for calm. We hereby join His Imperial Majesty to appeal to both sides to embrace dialogue. The situation must not be allowed to escalate.
“With ‘Dialogue, No Violence’ as the motto of MURIC, our organisation cannot ignore any outburst of violence anywhere in the country. We therefore appeal to the Ife and Modakeke people to simmer down. We call on the youths on both sides to focus their attention on issues which can bring development to the two communities.
“We commiserate with the families of victims of yesterday’s tragic incident. We pray that Allah will give them the fortitude to bear the loss. However, we appeal to them to exercise patience and forbearance. We remind them that vengeance is a square peg while the first offence is a round hole. What we seek to avenge is never what we get in the end. But it raises one to the pedestal of saints and angels to forgive and forbear.
“Already, different versions of the incident are being spread on social media and some newspapers. That is why we must bring the situation under control. We therefore call on all stakeholders to cooperate with the security agencies who have since waded into the matter.
“Reports that about 100 Modakeke youth on motorcycles allegedly stormed Ile-Ife before they were stopped by Ife youths is very disturbing. That was exactly how Offa and Erin-Ile communities clashed recently. Ugly incidents like these are symptomatic of a desertification of unity of purpose and lack of mutual trust among the Yoruba.
“These clashes create food for thought for those who are agitating for the creation of Oduduwa Republic. Is this how the components of Oduduwa Republic will always be at one another’s throats? Are they really ready to opt out of Nigeria?
“Ife and Modakeke are so close that people inside their houses in Ile-Ife can fetch water from houses in Modakeke and vice versa. The space between the two communities is a matter of six meters, not one hundred, talk less of one kilometer! Why will neighbours who are so close, who share the same language, the same boundary and the same environment not tolerate one another?
“This is why we commend the current Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi, for his peace-making efforts. It is on record that the Ooni made peace moves towards Modakeke immediately he was crowned as king. Not only that, he toured major Yoruba cities and visited the royal fathers in an effort to unite the Yoruba people.
“We appeal to the youths of Ife and Modakeke to give Ooni’s initiative a breathing space. Dialogue is the way forward. Both sides must avoid mutual suspicion. No community can make progress in an atmosphere of insecurity. Schools and businesses will be shut down whenever there is a clash. Such disruption of socio-economic life drags communities back to the Stone Age. A word is enough for the wise.”