The Nigeria Governors’ Forum has indicated its resolve to support the Oyo State Government in its efforts to rebuild Shasha Market in a drive to restore normalcy.
This indication was given on Tuesday by governors Abdullahi Ganduje of Kano, Bello Matawalle of Zamfara, Abubakar Bagudu of Kebbi and Abubakar Bello of Niger during a town hall meeting to address the conflict between the Hausa/Yoruba residents of Shasha in the wake of the recent violent clash in the community.
The four Northern governors, who were delegated by the NGF, indicated the readiness to support Governor Seyi Makinde in rebuilding the burnt market and urged the people to embrace peace.
They, however, declared the need for urgent resolution of the crisis for normalcy to be fully restored.
Governor Makinde had stated on Monday that his government would support the victims of the Friday violence in Shasha.
Governor Makinde said, “As a government you trust and elected us into office, please trust our judgement to watch out for you and ensure that we coexist peacefully. There is nothing we can do in an atmosphere of unrest and disharmony.
‘Those who have gone to Iroko to continue trading, I will lock up the place as well. When you are all ready to co-operate, you will come to me. When you have agreed that there won’t be any more bloodshed here, you will come and then I will reopen the market.I beg you. We won’t lose any more lives. On our part, we would do the needful.”
The Kebbi State governor, Alhaji Abubakar Atiku Bagudu, urged the people of Shasha to sheathe their swords and allow peace to reign supreme.
He said, “We are well received by our host, Governor of Oyo State, Seyi Makinde. He briefed us about what happened, and today, he took us to Sasa market and on our way, there was a stop over at Bodija Market and we are pleased that we saw Nigerians of all tribes in the market conducting their activities, which is evident of return of normalcy.”
“In fact, we saw onion sellers from different states, including Kebbi, Zamfara and Sokoto and people of other states. So, we went to Sasa market, we saw the level of destruction but more than the destruction was the regrettable loss of lives that were caused by a condemnable spontaneous response to emotions. Both the Hausa community and the Yoruba community were unanimous on the issues that led to this situation.
“First, there has been contentions over the leadership of the Shasha market. Even though the Seriki Shasha and the Baale of Shasha are in agreement about leadership, other interested groups were not so carried along.
“Then the trigger, there was somebody, either pushing or carrying a wheelbarrow with tomatoes and it fell in front of a shop. Ordinarily, that is just normal in a market, but once emotions pent up and social media are instigating, unfortunately, we had the situation that we had, which included loss of lives and property.
“We saw the damage and we appreciate what the governor has done so far and the community leaders, youth groups and security agencies and the Nigerian governors have been calling the governor (Seyi Makinde) over the last few days and we are glad that things are calming down.
“The Seriki Shasha and the Baale affirm that everyone is free to stay and conduct their lawful activities. And the governor (Seyi Makinde) assured that he would continue to ensure that all communities are living without fear.
“As we speak, it is certain that some people are afraid about what will happen, so it is on us to ensure that we communicate properly so that those who are living in fear, whether in Ibadan or outside Ibadan in other states, will not be in fear that there will be reprisal.
“Know that the Nigeria Governors’ Forum, President Muhammadu Buhari and the security agencies are working hard to ensure that we treat things for what they are.
“Incidences are bound to happen, sometimes, they are exploited by miscreants in the society to loot, to steal and to cause mayhem and part of what has happened in Ibadan has to do with that. Just like we saw during the $EndSARS riots, but we are glad reasons are prevailing and people are calming down and encouraging us.
“So, the Nigeria Governors’ Forum call on all those whose communities are in fear to send their community leaders to the Government House in Ibadan so that the governor will know so that he can send teams to ensure that those fears are addressed.
“But for the generality of Nigerians, it is important to know that the streets of Ibadan are calm. There is nobody chasing each other and people are supporting each other to resume normalcy.
“So, we are glad that the governor is rendering assistance and we in the Nigeria Governors’ Forum are also going to support him. In fact, we have given a token to support those who are already displaced and we will meet at a wider forum and I am sure more supports will be mobilised,” he assured.
Earlier on their arrival, they were conducted round the market for on-the-spot assessment of the level of damage occasioned by the clash between the Hausa/Yoruba and communities.
Shortly after the assessment, the governors proceeded to the palace of the Seriki Sasa, Alhaji Haruna Maiyasin, where they called for peace between the two ethnic groups.
The Seriki Shasha, Alhaji Haruna Maiyasin, who expressed regrets at the incident, said Governor Makinde had been supportive to the Hausa community. He called for urgent intervention by the administration for normalcy to return.
Baale Shasha, Chief Amusa Akinade Ajani, urged governments at all levels to rise to the aid of the people of the community by rebuilding the market and evolving a policy that would curtail excesses and ethnic rivalry.
He noted that the usual cause of crisis in the community is claim by some elements to superiority, saying, “In Shasha community, we have a history of being warm and enterprising. We are open to strangers and we are very peaceful.
“We also want a situation where those coming to cohabit with us would show love and understanding in our bid to promote harmonious relationship and grow trade. There should not be unhealthy rivalry.
“Government should also be assertive and always pay attention to activities in the community. Government must pay attention to the issue of security as nobody and no society can progress where there is no peace and where insecurity is the order of the day.”