Ten people from both communities were reported killed on Monday as the people used dangerous weapons like guns, machetes, knives, including charms in the ensuing break down in law and order in the ancient communities.
A reliable police source in Ilorin said that the hotelier who operates his hotel at around Federal Polytechnic, Offa was beheaded while it was also reported that the hotel was set ablaze.
However, police have denied any casualty, just as unconfirmed sources said more than 10 people have been killed as at Wednesday.
Meanwhile, the Kwara state police command in a statement signed by the PPRO DSP Fabode Olufemi and made available to newsmen on Thursday noted that “Three persons died in the incident and not ten as published by some media, several properties were destroyed during the incident.
“Both towns in the crisis recorded losses. Eight persons have been arrested with various calibre of fire arms and ammunition. Investigation is ongoing and those arrested will soon be charged to court.
Security agencies deployed to the area have been reinforced to ensure no further break down of law and order. The Kwara State Police Command warns trouble makers in the area to desist from their ungodly act and embrace peace. Anyone arrested will face the wrath of the law. All law-abiding citizens in the area are enjoined to go about their lawful businesses anytime curfew imposed in the area is relaxed”
However, as a result of the renewed age long communal feud caused by land disputes between the people of Offa and Erin-Ile communities in Kwara state, the state government has imposed a 24-hour curfew in the two affected warring towns with immediate effect.
The Graphic gathered that the two communities were like war zones on Wednesday, as sporadic gun shot continued to rent air in the affected areas while some residents of Offa who lived close to Erin-Ile have relocated to the main town of Offa.
Investigations also revealed that some vehicles parked in front of the newly commissioned national secretariat of Offa Descendants Union were burnt while the vehicular movement between the two towns had been suspended by the commercial operators plying the roads leading to Osun state.
It was also gathered that the students of the Federal Polytechnic, Offa have been ordered to go on two weeks compulsory vacation.
The Graphic gathered that the two warring communities renewed their hostilities on Monday leading to the reported killing of about 10 people while properties worth several millions of naira were destroyed.
The state police command had deployed about 40 anti riot policemen to maintain law and order in the two warring towns.
However, a Government House statement issued in Ilorin on Wednesday signed by the Secretary to the State Government(SSG) Alhaji Isiaka Gold said a 24 hour curfew in the two warring towns of Offa and Erin-Ile had been imposed with immediate effect.
The SSG said that:
“The curfew is to restore public order in both communities following recent disturbances”.
“All human and vehicular movement is hereby barred in Offa and Erin-Ile. In line with this order as the security agencies will deal decisively with any found contravening the curfew
“The state government will bring the full weight of the law to bear on anyone who disrupts public order or otherwise incites violence in any part of the state under any guise”, the statement said.
While assuring law-abiding citizens of its resolve to secure lives and property, the state government said that, “it is determined to identify and prosecute those behind the recent crises in both communities”.
Also speaking with journalists in Ilorin on Wednesday, one of the high chiefs of Offa, Ojomu of Offa, Chief Bayo Akinola called on the federal and state government to rise up to the situation.
Akinola who was in Ilorin to represent Olofa of Offa, Oba Mufutau Gbadamosi at the International workshop organised by the state government, said that, the national and state boundary commission should come out and do justice to the disputed area so as to put an end to the protracted crisis between the two towns of Offa and Erin-Ile.
“We( Offa) are for peace and will ready to abide with the final justice on the matter so as to move the state forward”.
Also speaking, the former Governor of kwara State, Senator Abubakar Bukola Saraki has appealed for calm among the people of Offa in Offa Local Government and Erin-ile in Oyun Local Government of Kwara State.
Saraki charged the people of the two communities to give peace a chance and live harmoniously among themselves.
The senator representing kwara central. In the National Assembly stated this in a press statement from his media office over a renewed hostilities among the people of Offa and Erin-ile, the statement said “no communities will attract Government and private patronage if there is no peace, people of both communities, need to learn how to tolerate each other to attract any Government and private patronage and economic development.
He urged the people to cooperate with the Government in finding lasting solution to the problem.
The former Governor advised the people of the two communities to utilise lawful channels for dispute resolution.
Senator Saraki also called on the traditional rulers of the two communities( Olofa of Offa and Elerin of Erin-Ile ) to appeal for calm and call their people to order in the interest of peace.
Senator Saraki also commended the state government for prompt action by deploying appropriate security agencies to help restore peace and order.
THE Kwara State Governor, Dr Abdulfatah Ahmed has urged the people of Offa and Erin-Ile in Offa and Oyun Local Government Areas of the State, to embrace peace by halting the spate of violence between the two communities.
Meanwhile, Governor Ahmed described the killing of innocent citizens and destruction of properties between the two hitherto friendly neighbours as cruel and barbaric, called for immediate cessation of hostility and restoration of peace and order in the communities. The Governor promised to bring the perpetrators of the dastardly act to justice as “government will not condole any act of lawlessness from any individual or community”.
Governor Ahmed, therefore, directed traditional rulers of the two communities to henceforth, maintain peaceful coexistence in their communities or be prepared to shoulder the dire consequences of hostilities.
According to Governor Ahmed, “it’s by share providence that Offa and Erin-Ile found each other as neighbours. Both communities must, therefore, show gratitude to God by living together in harmony. Efforts of the state government to bring development to the state may continue to be a mirage in the atmosphere of violence and destruction.”
“Government will continue to take every positive step to attract investment to the state, create more youth jobs and promote youth entrepreneurship through adequate support for skill acquisition”, the governor reiterated. He, therefore called for cooperation from all Kwarans to support government to deliver the benefits of democracy by maintaining the peace with which the state is known.
Governor Ahmed emphasised that the security forces would fish out the brains behind the current public disturbance of peace between the two communities and made to face the full wrath of the law, adding that Government would not tolerate lawlessness, hence the imposition of 24-hour curfew in Offa and Erin-Ile.
Governor Ahmed assured Kwarans that other measures are being taken to guarantee that all law abiding people in all parts of the State carry out their legitimate activities without any form of molestation.
Also, The chairman, Kwara State traditional council and Emir of Ilorin, Mai-Martaba Alhaji Ibrahim Sulu-Gambari has warned land owners in Ilorin and the entire state at large to avoid unnecessary land disputes which could create crisis in the state.
Sulu-Gambari threaten to deal with any land owners that attempt or go ahead to cause land disputes adding that he had received many cases of land disputes which were avoidable.
The monarch in statement signed by the Magaji Nda of Ilorin,Alhaji Salihu Woru Mohammed, expressed his displeasure over the incidences happening in the state as it relates to land issues.
He said: “The Royal father expressed concerned over the incessant reported cases of avoidable land dispute with its attendance threat to life and property and warned that he will not hesitate to deal decisively with any person or group of group of person in his domain who engage themselves in any activity capable of disturbing the prevailing peace and harmony in Ilorin Emirate and the state in general.”
“The monarch advise land owners to always lease their land to potential investors rather than outright sale of the family land so as to protect and safeguard the future as well as interest of their younger generations yet unborn as he enjoins good people of Ilorin Emirate to love one another.”