Activist-lawyer Femi Falana (SAN) and Oodua Peoples’ Congress (OPC) (Reformed) have berated the Police over…
‘Hold Hausa suspects’ – Afenifere to police
The Pan-Yoruba Movement, Afenifere, has encouraged the police to be fair, following the clash between Yoruba and Hausa in Ile-Ife, Osun State.
The group, yesterday, said it would continue to disagree with the police and the Federal Government on why only Yoruba suspects were paraded in Abuja.
Afenifere said the police must also arrest the Hausa, who are also involved in the clash, to show sign of fairness.
This was contained in a communique after the monthly meeting held at the home of the leader, Pa Reuben Fasoranti, in Akure, the Ondo State capital.
Afenifere condemned the decision to transfer the suspects from Osun State to Abuja, adding that they have not committed any treasonable felony or accused of any financial crime to warrant the Federal Government taking over the case.
The communiqué reads: “It is on record that a feud occur between the people of Ile Ife and some Hausa Fulani, which led to loss of lives on both sides.
“Afenifere regrets the incident and expressed its condolences to the victims’ families, irrespective of their tribes or ethnic affiliations.
“We condemn unequivocally the attempts being made by the police high command to intimidate, harass, coarse, ridicule and dehumanise Yoruba, who have been called suspects and who were arrested at Ile Ife, transported to Abuja and paraded by the police as criminals.
“Nigeria is still operating a federal system of government and despite the uniteriasation of the country, there is an entity called Osun State in the constitution.
‘The office of the Attorney General of the state is given defined constitutional roles under the constitution to initiate, commence, and discontinue criminal proceedings, he is the chief law officer of the state
“The people paraded tried and convicted by the police at Abuja have not been arraigned before any court. Besides there is a police command in Osun State which ordinarily should have taken charge of the investigation.
“The position of Afenifere is that the incident happened in Ile Ife in Osun State and it is only within Osun that those arrested can be detained, investigated and prosecuted if need be.
“Afenifere is not also unaware that even if a treasonable felony had been committed in Osun State, the police cannot charge the suspects outside the state, not particularly Abuja and above all, the police as a federal institution which belongs to all Nigerians should desist from adding any tribal or ethnic coloration to the unfortunate incident.
“This is the first time we are hearing that two communities engaged in a fight and you are parading only meme re of a community.
‘The police is not a sectional organisation but a national institution that dispenses justice.
“ Afenifere declared that we will not support any criminal, if any Yoruba is found to committed a crime in Ile Ife ,he should be put on trial, but the Hausa should also be put on trial but we cannot accept that only the Yoruba are guilty in this matter or are the only suspects.
“We are not supporting criminality, we are not subverting justice and we are not saying anybody that commits crime should not face the law and what the police have evaded in all these is that how on earth would you said two communities fought and you putting only a section on trial and the other section you have left untouched are from the area where the present leadership of the police hails from, and that’s what we are kicking against.
“Therefore we are insisting that the police must be fair, must not be sectional, must obey the law and must work within the rule of law in terms of putting into trial those who participated the crime in Ile Ife.
“Lastly, the Federal Government has shown insufficient will in protecting the lives and property of Nigerians as stipulated in the constitution, it should immediately and as a matter of urgency disarm all the herdsmen who are carrying arms and killing people all over the country and prosecute those who are found with guns.
“We are saying that the time has come for those who are doing cattle rearing business to go and have ranches where they would raise their cattle.
“They cannot continue to harass us, we are agrarians in the Southwest and many of our people cannot farm again because Fulani herdsmen have taken over their farms , this cannot continue and must stop immediately
“To show our seriousness on this matter, we have empowered a panel to go round all the communities in the Southwest where the herdsmen have been carrying out all kind of havocs to do an on the spot assessment , and compile reports which we will not be hesitate to take to international communities if the Federal Government continues to prove that it is helpless or unwilling to tame these herdsmen”