As I watched the video of three young men lying helplessly on the ground as Ifon and Ilobu youths continue to kill themselves over land dispute, I was reminded of the well-known song by the late Gbenga Adeboye, an exponent of Ewi and multifaceted broadcaster, in which he urged all Yorubas to unite and become one for the advancement of all.
It is depressing and quite terrible that more than 20 years later, the musical track is still relevant to sad narratives of the present. When the late broadcaster released this musical track in the late 1900s, it was primarily done to confront the concerns of treachery and conspiracy.
Two Yoruba towns are battling over land because the elders in each town have spread unfavorable rumors among the young people in order to stake a claim to possession of some plots of land. These older people took advantage of young people’s naivety and used them as weapons of devastation to enforce their demands rather than bringing their issues about ownership claims before the court.
They empowered these rebellious youngsters with firearms to destroy properties and take lives. I find it disturbing that, in spite of the obvious evidence of modernity, some people might sit in one spot and think that violence can conquer all.
In addition to the property destruction both towns experienced, this crisis has claimed the lives of at least eight people. The tragedy is that the eight people who were brutally murdered were young people who were vital to the development of the society. It is tragic that these two towns are busy enlisting their “future strengths” to be used as weapons of devastation over property disputes, while other towns are leveraging the potential of their young people toward communal development.
When someone questioned me about what could possibly give these “bad elders and their troublesome kids” the ability to kill and damage property at will, I simply said that they are aware there won’t be any repercussions. Those eight and any more martyrs for this cause would perish in vain, and after a few weeks, the elders who instigated this conflict would still be seen wandering the streets.
Two events that occurred five weeks ago furthered supported my claims that we are a joke of a state and that we play politics with everything, including life. Both the police and the state administration could have averted the continual crisis. First, there was a heated argument between the leaders of the two communities that raged for days. A 28-year-old guy named Sodiq Alamu was killed in the second incident. They weren’t rounded up like scum, had a thorough inquiry, or were forced to sign documents committing them to responsibility in the event of any problems.
I’ve not heard of any official statements or reports about anybody in custody for the murder of Sodiq Alamu, a 28-year-old man. Despite the existence of state secret service and force intelligence in these areas, they have not yet been captured. If individuals who killed Sodiq Alamu are allowed to move around freely, we are inadvertently encouraging others to kill as well and enjoy similar freedoms. We cannot promote crime while simultaneously condemning its negative effects. Arrest and discipline first-time offenders. That is the first action in suppressing a situational crisis. We wouldn’t be here right now if that had happened.
I was startled by the strategy and demeanor used by the government to address the issue when Governor Adeleke revealed on Thursday morning during Ipade Imole that peace had restored to these towns a result of his involvement. Adeleke went on to say that both villages will now be under a 24-hour curfew. Only a few hours after the announcement, a video surfaced showing some young guys brandishing guns as bystanders scurried frantically for cover. After imposing yet another curfew, did Adeleke anticipate that both villages would be tranquil and serene?
Nigerian leaders do not learn. They would rather swim in their ignorance-filled pool and slumber to the shameful sounds of the Hallelujah Boys. If Governor Adeleke is not joking, why would he keep trying the same thing and expecting a different outcome? The 24-hour curfew was first imposed by Governor Adeleke on September 19. It has only been two weeks and Ifon and Ilobu have already reported eight fatalities and significant property damage. After the governor’s latest curfew on our state there was an increase in fatalities from three to eight.
These people who support these attacks are well-known individuals. They don’t use ghosts; instead, they employ angry elements. Their biggest strength thus far has been avoiding criminal activity because they are confident a political solution will be found.
A better strategy must be sought by the police and state administration. Fruits on unhealthy trees shouldn’t be removed because they will reappear, so they shouldn’t. These trees should be cut down, burned, and their remains dumped into waterways. It is understandable if the police and the administration dislike justice for political gains. At the very least, they shouldn’t let the Ifon and Ilobu people perish.