By Salawudeen Olawale
The Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) has appealed to Yoruba elders to show restraint in their comments over the recent crisis in Ile-Ife, Osun.
The northern socio-cultural group in a statement issued by its Publicity Secretary, Muhammadu Ibrahimin, in Kaduna on Tuesday, urged Yoruba elders not to give ethnic coloration to the crisis.
Ibrahimin described the clash between some Yoruba and Hausa traders as criminality, which did not know ethnicity or religion.
`He said: ‘’ACF noted with dismay, accusations by some Yoruba leaders that the police report on the clash was biased, as the suspects paraded by the police were alleged to be mainly Yoruba.“
He cautioned that disagreement between individuals or groups of persons regarded as ethnic or religious was dangerous and would deepen hatred and division among Nigerians.
Ibrahimin said ACF shortly after the incident condemned the killings and called on the parties involved to eschew bitterness and imbibe the spirit of accommodation and tolerance.
He added: “ACF commended the prompt action taken by the security agencies, the Osun State Government and community leaders to restore peace and normalcy in Ile-Ife.
“ACF also called on the various communities that have lived together in peace and harmony over the years to always exercise restraint in their utterances on such sensitive issues that might snowball into crises with reprisal consequences.’’
He described some events after the release of the preliminary investigation report by the police into the Ile-Ife crisis, especially with Yoruba alleging bias with regard to those arrested.
Ibrahimin said: “Elders are known for their wisdom in settling disputes and not to fan embers of divisions among their followers.
“ACF therefore, calls for restraint among the various community leaders and urges them to document their grievances and channel same through known legal process.`
He said such steps would help address all grievances.