The Oodua People’s Congress (OPC) has called on northern leaders and the Federal Government to immediately halt the ongoing ethno-religious violence in Sokoto and other northern states, as well as guarantee the safety of the lives and businesses of Southerners in the North.
In a statement by OPC’s President, Otunba Wasiu Afolabi, the group also demanded the immediate arrest and prosecution by police and security authorities of the Islamic leaders who fuelled the crisis by directly mobilising rioters and through making inflammatory statements, following the killing of the female student of the Shehu Shagari College of Education.
“These people must know that nobody has a monopoly of violence. Nobody should provoke Yoruba people. Northerners cannot continue to take the laws into their hands. We hold President Muhammadu Buhari and all the governors responsible for this provocative resort to violence by rioters. Northern leaders must immediately put a stop to this madness because it is capable of provoking reprisals from other parts of the country,” OPC said, adding, “Enough is enough.”
Condemning the killing of Miss Deborah Samuel in the Shehu Shagari College of Education, Sokoto, the Yoruba socio-cultural group described her murder as unwarranted, barbaric and provocative.
Afolabi said: “We demand justice for Miss Deborah Samuel, whose life was so brazenly cut short in her prime. OPC demands that her killers must be hunted down, brought to justice and made to face the maximum punishment that the law dictates.”
Describing the spiralling riots as unjust and provocative, OPC warned that it would not fold its arms while Yoruba and Southerners were being killed and maltreated in the North by rampaging fundamentalists.
He added: “Equally, we note with much concern the provocative statements made by some religious and regional leaders, who flagrantly justified the killing of Miss Deborah Samuel. We demand that such disgruntled elements must be arrested and charged to court.”
According to Afolabi, it stood logic on its head and it was a proof of the collusion between authorities and religious fundamentalists the fact that the arrest of suspects in the Sokoto killing sparked riots in Sokoto and some northern cities.
OPC said: “This is what we have always said about the lopsided structure of President Buhari’s security architecture. The only thing that has emboldened these mobsters is the fact that all the security levers are under the total control of Northerners, who will treat their violence with kid’s gloves.”
Recalling that former President Olusegun Obasanjo once declared that security agencies should shoot-on-sight members of OPC and other self-determination groups for no justifiable reason, Afolabi wondered why President Muhammadu Buhari had failed to read the riot act to rampaging rioters in the North now maiming, killing and looting with reckless abandon.
OPC called for Buhari to borrow a leaf from General Sani Abacha’s handling of the Wahhabists involved in the 1995 beheading in Kano of Gideon Akaluka, a South-Easterner.
“These misguided miscreants must learn the hard way that the true God Almighty does not demand human sacrifice; and on no account should they ever take the life of anybody,” Afolabi said.