More revelations have continued to pour in as regards the clash between the Yoruba and Hausa community members in Ile-Ife, Osun state that left at least 46 people dead.
Houses were burnt, goods worth millions of naira destroyed and lives were lost – though the authorities put the casualty figure at 46, witnesses say over 100 people died in the riot. There are different versions of what triggered the carnage.
In an interview with thecable.ng, a transporter in the area identified as Gbaye spoke on the crisis.
“Those are just rumours,” he said when told of some of the factors adduced to the crisis.
“Everyone knows that the conflict is all about a woman, but the stories attached to it are just fairytales. She’s the wife of our boss. We call her Iya Barakat. I grew up around the area where the trouble started. I am used to the place, in fact, I still picked passengers there hours before the clash.”
He went ahead to relate how the disagreement escalated to a bloody fight.
According to him, Iya Barakat, a native of Ile-Ife, is in her late 30s. Gbaye said the woman is among the food vendors around Sabo junction. He explained that she was previously married to a Hausa man, with whom she had a daughter.
“A few years after they went their separate ways, she re-married Escort, a popular Yoruba transporter, who plies the Ife-Abuja route,” he said.
“The Hausa man has a shop beside Iya Barakat’s. The place is near the motor park where people going to Abuja board vehicles. The woman reported that he slapped her on the buttocks, and this enraged the transporters, who warned him to desist from touching a colleague’s wife indecently.
“The husband was on a journey when this whole thing happened.
“Moments later, the man flogged the woman’s daughter for dumping dirt in front of his shop. This further enraged the men at the park, who descended on the Hausa people around. This led to a counter attack by the Hausa kinsmen, which resulted into a battle between the two ethnic groups.”
An elderly man, who gave his name as Adesina, re-emphasized the alleged bias of the police.
“The reason everyone seems quiet and everywhere is tensed is because we are still awaiting the outcome of the the decision of the police to arrest only Yoruba people and take them to Abuja,” he said.
“We are not happy at all. The crisis was between the Hausa community and their Yoruba host. People died on both sides.
So, why should they arrest only the Yorubas? The elders have stepped into the matter and assured us that justice would be done.
We are happy that the Hausa men are back and peace has returned but there’s still this strong feeling everywhere that things might still go bad depending on the outcome of those arrested.”