Four governors from the Northwest region of Nigeria have met with Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo State over the inter-ethnic crisis that flared up last week at Shasha market in Ibadan.
The four Northern Governors said they came to Ibadan on the bill of the Nigerian Governors’ Forum (NGF) to identify with their Oyo counterpart Seyi Makinde and sympathise with those who suffered losses in the Shasha Market crisis in the city.
Governor Atiku Bagudu, disclosed this while addressing stakeholders at the home of Seriki Shasha on Tuesday.
Bagudu said Makinde had been in touch with his brother Governors since the crisis broke out to gain their understanding and ensure no reprisal attack is carried out in the north.
He said more Governors would have joined them on the trip but that it was generally agreed the four of them were enough to represent them.
On the team are Governors of Niger, Zamfara, and Kano states.
Bagudu hailed Makinde for his quick intervention, stressing that only criminals cash in on issues that touch on ethnic sentiments to foment trouble.
He said they should not be allowed because Nigerians have lived together for centuries and will continue to do so for the prosperity of all.
His words: “This delegation is from the Nigerian Governors’ Forum (NGF). Many others would have joined but they felt we were adequate to represent them. On their behalf, we commiserate with the government and people of Oyo State on the tragic incident that happened, which regrettably consumed lives and properties. We express our sympathies.
“We arrived yesterday. We got a view of what happened. We were in touch with Governor Makinde all along. Everyone has been concerned about what happened and have been calling.
“We appreciate the governor in restoring peace to prevent retaliation elsewhere. The move has helped to contain the situation.
“From what we gathered we saw that there is an underlying issue about who controls the market. Such issues are best appreciated by participants.
“Whenever there is an issue, reckless people take advantage of it to wreak violence and steal and kill. They are all over the place.
“Many Governors of cosmopolitan cities have been working hard in their states to prevent retaliation. We have seen such in the #EndSARS protests.
“Before now we were in Akure. Governor Makinde was firm in stressing that nobody has the right to send anyone away from where they choose to live.
“We once more call upon our youths in particular and social media users that we have no other country than Nigeria.
“Historically, Hausa actually predates Ibadan itself. Many academics have produced Masters’s and a doctoral thesis on this part of history.
“We have lived together for so long as brothers and sisters. We must come together and resist those who want to wreck people’s lives and destroy their means of livelihood.
“What we saw in town shows that people have moved on. We saw people at Bodija Market. When we stopped and interacted with them, one said he is from Sokoto, one from Kano, and another from Kebbi states.
“Ibadan has played host to several people from across Nigeria. So, let’s all be united against aggressive elements and mobilise to defeat them.
“We have seen the extent of the destruction. We can do better together.
NGF sent a message of support to our governor on this. We will give a token to help some of those who suffered a material loss in the crisis. We pray that Nigeria will continue on her march to prosperity.”
Makinde expressed pain at the sad incident, particularly loss of lives which he said cannot be replaced.
He said: “We’ve been together for so long. So I feel the pain of everyone here. Yes, properties were lost. We can replace properties.
“When a fire broke, I sent a fire truck but it was vandalised. It’s annoying that we have to use the money for other things to replace that. But when human lives are lost, we can’t replace it; it is irreversible. So, my message is that of peace.”
He added: “For those spreading fake news, let them desist. The writer of a particular fake news item lives in the UK and stokes the fire of violence here. The news said 6,000 volunteers were waiting to be rescued to Kano.
“I ask promoters of fake and devising news to please desist. Let’s have the chance to give our people the opportunity to earn a decent living.”