FOLLOWING the hostilities which recently broke out between Offa and Erin-Ile towns, in Offa and Oyun Local Government Councils respectively, following a disagreement between rival chapters of the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) in both communities, Kwara State Governor Alh. Abdulfatah Ahmed, has suspended Offa and Oyun Local Government Councils with immediate effect.
The Secretary to the state Government Alhaji Isiaka Gold while briefing newsmen on the Erin-Ile/ Offa Communal Crises added that all public office holders in both councils including the Chairman, Vice Chairman, Councillors, Secretary to the Local Government and Supervisors are to vacate their respective offices immediately.
Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed has also approved the appointment of Sole Administrators as follows: Alh. Ishaq Abubakar(Offa Local Government Council) and Alh. G. B. O. Bello (Oyun Local Government Council)
In addition, the Executive Governor has set up a Judicial Commission of Enquiry into the Erin-Ile/Offa Communal Crisis. The Commission’s Terms of Reference are to identify the remote and immediate causes of the crises, determine the extent of damage to property, determine the number of lives lost, determine the culprits, review reports of previous Committees and Commissions on the crisis and make appropriate recommendations in respect of punishment/prosecution of culprits, lives lost, properties destroyed and solutions to prevent future occurrence.
Members of the commission are Hon. Justice Adeyinka Sikiru Oyinloye (Chairman), Barr. AbdulAzeez Ayodeji Ibrahim, Alh. A. R. Shehu(Rtd HOS), Mr. Job Afolayan (Rtd Perm. Sec), Mrs. F. A. Lawal(DCL, Min. Of Justice), Dr. Jelili Animashaun (University of Ilorin), ACP Olatunji Ayodele( Nigeria Police), Mr. John O. Ojo (SSS), Lt. Col. A. H. Ahmed (Nigerian Army), Alhaji A. A. Yusuf(DPFS, Governor’s Office). The commission is to submit its report within 6 weeks.
Alhaji Gold restate that the full weight of the law would be brought to bear on anyone apprehended for inciting violence or otherwise disrupting public order in Erin-Ile/Offa and other parts of the state, no matter how highly placed.
Alhaji Isiaka Gold said: “as a responsible government, we could not fold our arms and watch the situation degenerate into criminality and lawlessness.
The Executive Governor, Alh. Abdulfatah Ahmed, therefore promptly sought the intervention of the State Police Command and invited the state chapter of the NURTW to a meeting to identifyamicable solutions to the crisis.
As a result, the Offa and Erin-Ile branches of the NURTW were ordered to promptly relocate their motor-parks to the previous locations in both towns in line with existing laws.
Furthermore, the State Governor also mandated the Honourable Commissioner for Local Government Affairs and Chieftaincy Affairs, Alhaji Isa Bawa and I to meet with the traditional rulers of Offa and Erin-Ile to stress the need to ensure that the situation does not degenerate into lawlessness.
In addition, The Emir of Ilorin and Chairman of the State Council of Traditional Chiefs, Alhaji (Dr) Ibrahim Sulu Gambari was also requested by the state government to mediate between the Olofa Of Offa and The Elerin of Erin-Ile to promote a more cordial relationship between the two monarchs and their communities.
Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed also held meetings with the Chairmen of Offa and Oyun Local Government Councils, the Chief Security Officers of their Councils, to impress on them the need to maintain peace and order in Offa and Erin-Ile communities.
Despite these peace efforts and overtures by the state government, further hostilities broke out between the two communities on Monday, 28th January 2013, resulting in the loss of 3 lives and the destruction of property worth millions of naira.
The Executive Governor, Alhaji Abdulfatah Ahmed, the Chief Security Officer of the State, immediately imposed a 24-hour curfew on Erin-Ile and Offa and requested the deployment of a combined force of Mobile Police and the Nigerian Army to enforce the curfew andbring the situation under control.”
“It is however clear from the foregoing that the Chairmen of Offa and Erin-Ile Local Government Councils, as Chief Security Officers of their respective Councils, have failed to maintain public order and protect the welfare of the people in both communities”.
In view of the fact that there is a clear and present danger of the breakdown of law and order, security and public safety in Offa and Erin-Ile towns and the need to take further action to prevent the deterioration of the situation,” he added” he added.