Senate President Ahmad Lawan believes the recent ethnic clash at Shasha Market in Ibadan was sparked by the utterances of some governors from the Southwest.
According to a report by The Nation Newspaper, he wants the brains behind the clash to be brought to book.
But Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo State said the Senate President was mixing up the issues involved in the clash, while Governor Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State said he would rather not engage those he branded as ‘crisis entrepreneurs and divisionists.’
Speaking in an interview with the Hausa Service of the BBC yesterday, Ahmad Lawan asked government to investigate the cause of the Shasha market clash, identify the perpetrators of the violence and pay compensation to the victims.
“What has happened in Oyo and other southern states of Nigeria has led to a lack of leadership,” he said.
He added: “I would not only say that the governors, but they have an important right to protect the people, and the statements made by some of them have led to provoking the people of these states. They see their leaders as supporting them, they take this step.”
He said the Senate debated the matter after its recess and condemned the actions of some political leaders for provocative remarks.
According to him, President Muhammadu Buhari also sat down with state governors and told them that it was not permissible for any governor to make statements that would provoke violence and unrest in his state.
“He told them that the Nigerian constitution gives every citizen the right to live wherever he wants to live, so no one should be allowed to say that he will expel others from his state because he is not a citizen of the state,” he said.
“Yes, compensation must be paid, but make sure that people are not killed in vain, not just burnt goods and the victims of the shootings, that their cards are followed, or that compensation is paid to find the perpetrators.
“The security forces should arrest them and take them to court to be punished. This is the only way to prevent others from doing the same in the future,” he said.
Makinde: He’s mixing up issues
Contacted last night to react to Lawan’s statement, Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo State said Lawan was mixing up the issues involved in the Shasha market violence.
He spoke through his Chief Press Secretary, Taiwo Adisa, saying: “The Senate President’s statement has nothing to do with Shasha Market.
“The incident was a disagreement between market leaders which had a trigger in a clash between two traders – one Hausa and one Yoruba.
The four Northern governors who recently visited Ibadan on behalf of the Nigerian Governors Forum (NGF) attested to the fact that the clash had nothing to do with ethnicity or religion.
“The Baale of Shasha and the market leaders are on the same page on the genesis of the crisis.
“It is possible that the Senate President got mixed up by referring to Shasha in his interview.
“He should not have mentioned Shasha because it was not related to what he was talking about.”
We’ll not engage ‘crisis entrepreneurs’, says Akeredolu
Governor Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State was terse in his reaction.
His Special Assistant on New Media, Olabode Olatunde, said: “At the risk of being repetitive, the Governor Akeredolu-led Southwest governors will not go into the arena of media conflict with crisis entrepreneurs and divisionists.”
The Shasha Market violence erupted on February 18 following an altercation between a Yoruba woman and an Hausa man.
The matter quickly grew out of control, leaving many houses, shops and goods burnt.
Some people were also killed.