Crisis in Ondo communities: Traditional ruler calls for justice, release of detainees

The traditional ruler of Ikaleland in Okitipupa local government, Ondo State, Abodi of Ikale, Oba George Faduyile, has appealed for fairness from members of a five-man panel of inquiry set up by the state government to investigate the recent crisis which broke out in the area between two communities.

Violence had erupted between the Araromi-Obu and Ikale (Ago Alaye) communities on July 16, 2019 over a land matter, leading to destruction of houses and other properties, while many people were injured.

Following the crisis, the Ondo State government set up a five-man panel headed by a former Commissioner for National Resources, Barrister Tunde Atere, to unearth the root of the crisis.

Oba Faduyile told members of the panel, who had visited him in his palace on Wednesday, that the two communities had been living peacefully together for more than a century “until disaffection crept in when the Araromi-Obu referred to the Ikale (Ago Alaye) people as non-indigenes in the local government.”

The monarch said violence erupted “when some Ikale people were waylaid on July 16, 2019”, adding that the “rights and privileges of Ikaleland were frequently and openly denied because they were baptized non-indigenes in a local government to which their settlement form a major part.”

Oba Faduyile urged that some people arrested after the crisis should be released unconditionally to pave way for peace in the two communities.

“Initially, nine persons were arrested. But after some days, some other persons were also arrested, including an 89-year-old man, who is still in detention. All those people should be released, and government should also lift the curfew imposed on the community totally,” he said.

Speaking in the same vein, the Jagunmolu of Ikaleland, retired general, Olu Bajowa, charged the panel to follow due process and be guided by the rule of law, “where fairness, equity and justice would form the criteria of deliberations and recommendations.”

Atere assured the community that the committee would not be biased in its investigation, and its recommendations at the conclusion of its assignment.

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