The Nigeria First movement has called for better understanding and tolerance amongst Nigerians of different ethnic groups in the country amidst heightened tension in Oyo State.

The group expressed worry over the crisis in the state where some Nigerians appear to be targeted, attacked and even killed over their ethnicity.

In a statement signed by its President/Director General, Patriot Philip Agbese, on Monday, the Nigerians said this ugly development must not be allowed to continue.

According to Agbese, from all indications, those behind the criminalities that culminated into ethnic strife may not even be Nigerians.

Patriot Agbese, however, urged Yorubas and Fulanis to immediately cease all hostilities to allow authorities to get to the root of the mayhem that has caused the loss of lives and properties.

While suing for peace, the Nigeria First movement encouraged all relevant stakeholders in the country to join forces to put an end to the growing spate of ethnic tension.

It also warned those stoking the fire of ethnic violence to have a rethink, adding that ” there shall definitely be reckoning for people that trivialize human life to the extent of wantonly causing deaths”.

Read the full statement below:

Nigeria First is alarmed, worried and concerned at the unfolding in Ibadan, Oyo  State where Nigerians are being targeted, attacked and even killed by fellow Nigerians based on their ethnicity. The ugly development, which should not have been allowed to start, was allowed to go on for too long and the entire nation must now engage the high gear to activate damage control. Our people must show more understanding and tolerance for one another.

We condemn in the strongest terms the clash in Ibadan where innocent Nigerians are being killed and their property raised as a result of their ethnic affiliation.

It is most unfortunate that the Yoruba and Hausa communities that had hitherto lived as brethren are now killing each other when each of the ethnic nationalities is as much the victims of the situation they think they are fighting. Not even the pastoral Fulani that some people are blaming are the problem as there are now strong indications – short of evidence – that those behind the criminalities that started this ethnic strife are not even Nigerians. They are aliens, who took advantage of ECOWAS Regional Integration to sneak into the country to wreak havoc.

We call on all sides to the crisis to immediately cease all hostilities to allow room for authorities to get to the root of the mayhem that has caused the loss of lives on a scale that scars the national conscience while property have also been wantonly destroyed in a manner that will haunt the economy of south-west Nigeria and even that of the entire country.

We had in the past raised alarm about how some unscrupulous elements were plotting to cause nationwide crisis using ethno-sectarian baiting as we have now seen in Ibadan. The projection of this warmonger was that the ethnic strife in Ibadan would have by now spread to other cities in the south-west in a manner that would provoke tit-for-tat retaliations and bloody reprisals in other parts of the country.

It is pertinent that the enemies of Nigeria are not provided with kindling in their bid to set the nation on fire. They are looking for how the public discourse of the events in Ibadan will further inflame passions and provide incitement that would result in more killings. Nigerians must never allow them.

As we sue for peace, Nigeria First consequently solicits for the cooperation of all stakeholders in the country to put an end to the growing spate of ethnic tension, which is traceable to the selfish agenda of some politicians.

We call on all traditional and religious leaders in Oyo state and their counterparts across the country to wade into the matter as peacemakers. They should diligently play the role that Nigerians and the whole world expect of their strategic positions so that this issue does not escalate beyond the gory developments that we have already seen.

We demand that law enforcement agents live up to expectation and prevent further loss of lives while holding those responsible for the loss of human life to account. Political office holders, even under the burden of expected neutrality, should not abuse this to stay indifferent at a time when decisive action on their part would have prevented the situation from degenerating into the kind of ugliness witnessed.

For those stoking the fire of ethnic violence, we urge a rethink because there shall definitely be reckoning for people that trivialize human life to the extent of wantonly causing deaths.

On a final note, Nigeria First call on all ethnic nationalities in the land to show better understanding towards each other while also being more tolerant as nothing is gained from violence, particularly when it is pointless. We must reset our ethnic relations to have an outcome where people see themselves first as Nigerians before devolving into ethnic blocs.

We wish our country quick healing.