The Ekiti State Governor, Ayodele Fayose, has accused the police of showing ethnic bias in their handling of the investigation into the recent crisis in Ile Ife which claimed the lives of not less than 40 persons.
“It appears that the police have so far demonstrated ethnic bias in its investigation and this is not good for the unity of Nigeria and its people,” the governor said in a statement issued by his Special Assistant on Public Communication and New Media, Lere Olayinka.
Mr. Fayose however, condemned the killing of innocent people and destruction of properties in Ile-Ife.
“Whether committed by Yoruba, Ibo, Hausa or any tribe, crime is crime and it must be treated
as such. However, the handling of crime must be without ethnic bias,” he said.
“In a clash involving the people of Ile-Ife, who are Yorubas and Hausa, who are settlers in the
ancient town, only Yorubas were arrested, taken to Abuja and paraded before the press.”
Governor Fayose said there was no way the police could convince Nigerians that only the 20 Yorubas that were paraded in Abuja were involved in the crisis.
He expressed concern that the same police that intervened promptly in the Ile-Ife crisis, made arrests and paraded 20 people as alleged masterminds of the mayhem, had been unable to arrest and parade killer Fulani herdsmen accused of killing in different communities.
“If there was a clash between Yoruba people and Hausas in Ile-Ife, are the police now saying that only the Yorubas took part in the crisis?” queried Mr. Fayose.
“Both Yorubas and Hausa were attacked. Properties belonging to both Yorubas and Hausas were destroyed. Are the police saying that those 20 Yorubas that they paraded in Abuja were the ones who attacked the Yoruba people that were also victims of the crisis and destroyed those houses belonging to the indigenes of Ile-Ife that were destroyed?
“In my own opinion, the investigation so far conducted by the police was done with ethnic bias and I demand (for) thorough investigation that is devoid of ethnic sentiments.”
He called on the Osun State Government to set up a judicial panel of inquiry to ascertain the remote and immediate causes of the crisis, as well as identify the masterminds of the crisis so as to forestall future occurrence.
“Most importantly, security agencies in the country must treat all crimes as the same, irrespective of those perpetrating them,” he counselled. “As it appears, crimes committed by Fulani herdsmen against other Nigerians are not being treated as crimes that should be given attention by the security agencies and this is worrisome.”
Force Public Relations Officer, Jimoh Moshood, had earlier maintained that the investigation by the police of the Ile Ife crisis was “thorough and devoid of ethnic biases.”
He said those culpable would avail themselves of the courts to prove their innocence in the matter.