By David Adeoye
The Nigerian Governors Forum (NGF) says last weekend’s conflict at Shasha Market in Ibadan was not a tribal conflict.
Gov. Abubakar Bagudu of Kebbi who made the declaration on behalf of the Forum after an on-the-spot assessment on Tuesday said it was the handiwork of miscreants who set out to loot, steal and cause mayhem.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Gov. Bagudu also described the crisis as a regrettable spontaneous incident.
With him at the on-the-spot assessment were Gov. Abdullahi Ganduje of Kano State, Gov. Abubakar Bello and Gov. Bello Matawalle of Niger and Zamfara States, respectively.
The NGF mandated the four governors to visit Oyo State and rub minds with their Oyo State counterpart, Gov. Seyi Makinde over the conflict in which lives were lost and property destroyed.
Gov. Bagudu admonished youths and social media warriors and influencers to desist from painting the conflict as tribally-motivated and to also discontinue the fanning of the embers of discord that could destabilise the country.
He noted that normalcy had returned to the Shasha community as leaders there were working together to put the incident behind them.
The Kebbi governor stressed that “the streets of Ibadan are calm; there is no one chasing another and people are supporting one another to ensure normalcy.’’
He noted that such skirmishes were bound to happen in communities, but that “sometimes they are exploited by miscreants to loot, steal and to cause mayhem.
“At Shasha Market, we saw the destruction, but more than the destruction was the regrettable loss of lives that were caused by an unfortunate and condemnable spontaneous response to emotions.
“Everyone in the community recognised that two issues led to the crisis.
“First, there had been contention over the leadership at Shasha Market.
“Both the Seriki and Baale of Shasha are in agreement about the leadership tussle, but other interested groups were not, hence, there was an under-current for trouble to brew.
“What was the trigger? There was somebody pushing a wheelbarrow with tomatoes and the items fell in front of a shop. Ordinarily that is normal in markets.
“But when emotions rose and social media posts instigating crisis became strident, we had the situation we had.
“We sympathise with those who lost their lives and property. Also, we appreciate what Gov. Makinde, community leaders, security agents, youth groups, have done so far.
“We are also glad that the Seriki and Baale of Shasha are firm that everyone is free to stay and conduct his or her lawful activities.’’
Gov. Bagudu further revealed that Gov Makinde had assured that he would continue to engage the people to ensure that all communities lived without fear.
“As we speak, it is certain that some people are hiding and experiencing fear about what will happen.
“So it behoves us to ensure that we communicate properly.
“This will make those living in fear to know that the NGF, President Mohammadu Buhari and security agencies are working hard to ensure that we treat things for what they are,’’ Bagudu said.
He also expressed satisfaction that the Oyo State governor was rendering assistance, assuring that NGF would support him.
“In fact, we have given a token to support those who are already displaced. We will meet at wider forum on Wednesday and I’m sure more support will be mobilised,’’ he said.
NAN reports that the NGF delegation had earlier visited the palace of Baale of Shasha, Chief Akinlade Ajani and the Seriki of Shasha, Alhaji Haruna Maiyasin, where they described the unfortunate incident as not good for nation building.
The two leaders sued for peace and urged government to assist in restoring lasting peace to the area.
Gov. Makinde also sued for peace and promised that his government would find means to restore lasting peace in Shasha and in the entire state. (NAN)