Nigeria Sets Up Committee On Ife-Modakake Violence

30 May 2000

Lagos, Nigeria (PANA) — President Olusegun Obasanjo has formed a committee to mediate between the feuding Ife and Modakeke communities in Nigeria’s south- west, where a dozen of persons dead and several houses burnt within two days in the latest flare of violence.

The committee, headed by Olabode George, a former military governor and chieftain of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party, will also comprise five representatives each from the feuding communities and five others from the Ife North Local Government.

The report of the committee would form the basis for the government’s further action to find a lasting solution to the intermittent fighting.

The committee was established following a peace meeting, convened by Obasanjo in Abuja, involving leaders of the two communities Friday.

The meeting had barely ended when the age-long crisis started afresh, following accusations of killing and counter-killing by both communities.

Ten people were reportedly killed and property worth millions of naira destroyed on the first day of fighting.

Two more people were reportedly killed and several others injured as the fighting continued Monday.

Passengers in vehicles travelling through the area were injured after being caught in the crossfire. They are now being treated at the Obafemi Awolowo University Teaching Hospital in Ife.

The latest fighting erupted three weeks after a similar clash between the communities claimed 25 lives, prompting the presidential intervention.

Land disputes and the drive for political control are at the heart of the crisis involving the two neighbours, who have lived together since the Modakeke people migrated to the area two centuries ago.

The latest fighting, which coincided with the first anniversary of Nigeria’s return to civilian rule, marked with a nation-wide public holiday Monday, is the latest in a series of sectarian and communal violence that has rocked the country in the past year.

More than 300 people died last week in a fresh outbreak of violence in Kaduna, scene of riots February following the introduction of the Islamic Sharia law.

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