The ethnic unrest which had broken out earlier this week and which had escalated into a brutal ethnic clash between the Hausa and Yoruba communities of Igbo-Olomu, Ikorodu West LGA of Lagos State has finally been quelled by the timely intervention of the Lagos State Police Commissioner, CP Odumosu, his ever-gallant deputy, DCP Mohammed Ali, asbthe responsive Owutu Police led by Charismatic Super Police Woman and Mother of all, CSP Margareth Okonkwo, and her able DTO, DSP Kingsley who had been on ground all through coordinating peace mediation efforts and evacuation of the wounded.
On Friday, 9th October 2020, a general town hall meeting was initiated by the Police at Isawo Town Hall, Igbo-Olomu Junction which had in attendance, all the community heads of both tribes, Party Leaders, Policemen and erudite men of the Press.
The hall was jam packed by the time the commissioner’s entourage arrived. Proceedings commenced immediately with the opening prayer and initial introduction of the CP’s group by CSP Margareth Okonkwo, DPO, Owutu Police Station, and then the rendition of the national anthem. Coordination of the poceedings were later handed over to the compete who introduced the guests properly. Notable amongst those present also were the Executive Chairman, Ikorodu West Local Government Area, Princess Abimbola Jimbo, Alhaji Olakitan Adekunle, APC Chairman, Ikorodu West, Mr. Hambolu Felix B., LGA Party Deputy Chairman, Alhaja Yetunde Apoyin, Woman Leader, Ikorodu West LCDA, Mrs. J.A. Sulaimon, Lagos East Senatorial District Woman Leader, Ikorodu West LGA, Alhaji Seriki Shittu, Sabi Hausa Community leader and others, including Landlords, traditional leaders and Heads of Transport Unions and Local Vigilantes.
The process commenced with eye-witness accounts of the events which had triggered the ethnic unrest. Different versions were given by both sides with allegations and counter-allegations being made as to whom the initiators and aggressors were. After this, the Commissioner of Police, CP Odumosu, in an effective show of competence in the Art of Peace Mediation started by thanking both communities for responding to the Clarion call, also adding that despite him being Yoruba, he had spent most of his adult education life in the North amongst the Hausas, pointing out that they were nice to him all through. He went on to bring to everyone’s notice, the sacrifice in the efforts the Police had made to be in that Location that day and that nothing short of the restoration of absolute peace and tranquil was the main objective of their visit. He exhorted all the leaders to come together and put the past behind them to chart a more solid course for positive inter-tribal relations. He promised those whose Motorcycles were missing that they would be found and that those already in Police Custody should be released back to their owners.
Perhaps, the highlight of the meeting was when the CP narrated the rigours of getting to the venue, noting that the distance from Owutu Police Station to Igbo-Olomu was too far, hence, he instantly gave his blessings to the establishment of a police post within the community with immediate effect and automatic alacrity, promising that policeen will be immediately deployed if the community could provide a building to serve as the Police Post. This major development elicited wild jubilation and thumbs-ups from all present.
The DCP Operations, DCP Mohammed Ali buttressed the points made by the CP and went on to give a powerful speech on the reasons why the community should embrace peace. This was indeed a sobering moment for the elders who reasoned along with the orator in Police uniform and whom would have been convinced along such lines of reasoning to shun violence.
Another moving speech was rendered by Alhaja J.A. Sulaimon, Ikorodu-East Senatorial District, Ikorodu West LGA Woman Leader on the disparity in ethnic violence. She explained that both communities, having co-existed side-by-side peacefully for years, have become one already and fighting each other is similar to two blood brothers going for each other’s jugulars. The overall effect, she concluded, would have a telling effect on all.
By the end of the peace Parley which lasted over two hours, the atmosphere of hostility between both communities which had predominated the hall in the begining had completely evaporated and joy and order had taken over completely.
All leaders present were quick to mention the tireless efforts of the DPO, CSP Okonkwo, whom many of the communal heads referred to as ‘Mother’, ‘Superwoman’ and ‘Exceptional Officer’, and her DTO, DSP Kingsley Akaribe for promptly responding to their distress call and staying with them till peace was brought back.
As part of the resolutions reached during the peace Parley, the DPO, the Local Government Chairman, Vigilantes, Police patrol teams, Political Leaders and Da Scenario Online Publisher and PRO, Online Reporters Association of Nigeria, Mr. Alfred Abiodun, all made a deep incursion into the troubled area which was recorded with video evidence showing tonnes of broken bottles littering the roads for miles, burnt shops and houses, to rescue wounded Hausas who had been hidden by their fleeing comrades at the height of the clashes.
It was on this journey that a justice-seeking resident of the area gave a detailed account which was completely different to what had been earlier given during the Parley. On the condition of anonymity, he said the crisis was cult-instigated, adding that some of the Yoruba cultists had also initiated some young Hausas whose power displays eventually led to a brush off which soon quickly degenerated into a full-blown tribal war. He said most of the Landlord’s children we’re culpable and that their fathers would do whatever to keep them out of trouble rather than address the ugly issue fairly and squarely.
Da Scenario also learnt that property worth millions were either looted or destroyed during the unrest.
At New Age Hospital, Ola Imam Area of Igbo-Olomu, a young and heavily injured 15-Year Old Hausa Boy who had been rescued and taken to the hospital by the DPO and her team during prelim incursion and assessment of damages in the troubled area, after having been heavily machetes and left for dead by his assailants, was evacuated and taken away by his kinsmen for property treatment and security.
Infact, the young man had initially refused to leave the safe confines of the hospital till one of his brothers explained the situation to him in Hausa and then promptly backed him.and took him to the waiting van that was to convey him to safety.
After the safe return of all and sundry, the DPO summoned a general meeting in her office to liase with local heads of transport Unions, Vigilantes and the Police on way forward to consolidate on the peace gains cemented by the prompt responsiveness and timely visit of the distinguished Police Commissioner of Lagos State, CP Odumosu, his Deputy, DCP Mohammed Ali