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Iloffa/Odo-Owa Clash: How our husbands, father were killed, houses burnt – Victims testify before panel

By Kayode Adeoti

Victims of Odo-Owa/Iloffa clash in Oke-Ero Local Government Area of Kwara State have continued to count their loses before the six-man panel of enquiry commission set up by Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed in order to unravel the mystery behind the mayhem and come up with recommendations to avert future occurrence.

The communal clash that emanated as a result of proposed yam festival in the area was said to have claimed many lives and property worth millions of naira leaving some residents homeless.

The Chairman of the Commission and the Chief Judge of Kwara State, Sulyman Durosinlohun Kawu while addressing the warring communities on Monday at the High Court complex, disclosed that the commission received a total of 48 memoranda in which 37 are from Iloffa community.

The CJ also noted that the sitting will run concurrently for four weeks.

Speaking on the scope of the panel, Kawu said it was not founded to witch-hunt anyone, group or community but to give equal privileges to people to relay their minds through their counsels.

Communities who have submitted memoranda to the commission include; Egosi, Kajola, Ila-Ogidi, Ikotun-Ile, ekan and Igbede all in Oke-Ero LG.

Barr. Kayode Olotoke (SAN) who stood in for memo 1, 10-48 called 19 victims who had earlier submitted their memoranda to the commission of enquiry.

The victims recounted their ordeals to the commission even as many of them alleged Odo-Owa for setting their homes ablaze and killing members of their families.

Among the victims before the commission was one Alice Babatunde, who told the panel that those that shot his brother, Sunday Oloyede were from Odo-Owa adding that his brother told him so before he gave up the ghost. She said after he was shot, he was still managing to beg the aggrieved youths not to burn his saying it was his son who built it for him.

According to her, she was able to identify where the shooters came from due to their dialect.

“We rushed him to Adeyemo hospital in Omu Aran and later to Landmark hospital where he finally gave up the ghost on June 30,” she recounted.

Also, Ganiyu Oloyede told the panel that he received a distress call around 12:30pm from her sister notifying him that his father had been shot.

“Before he finally died, he spoke to me on phone and confirmed that youths from Odo-Owa were responsible for his plight, he was about mentioning their names when he breathed his last,” he said.

Another witness, Gabriel Adewumi also alleged that he went with his wife to the market to get some food items only for Odo-Owa youths to shot her to death.

Other notable memoranda considered is that of Odofin of Iloffa, Chief Sunday Oni who was earlier alleged by Oloota of Odo-Owo, Oba Joshua Adimula to have recruited hoodlums to raze houses. Odofin told the panel he was never at Iloffa on the day of the incident adding that he attempted to visit some people but for his car that developed mechanical fault on the day.

Cecilia Agboola in her testimony told the panel that the Odo-Owa community burnt her house and that she was able to identify the perpetrators through their dialect.

“Ade jogbogbo rin, this is what they were saying which means ‘they should burn everything down,” she added.

Another witness who has tendered his memoranda before the panel is Akinwowo Faniran Kazeem who resides in Iloffa but claimed to be a native of Ayedun. He alleged members of Odo-Owa community for orchestrating the crisis.

He said, “I was able to know that Odo-Owa youths burnt my house because of their dialect, Ilofa will say come out as ‘Nse jade while Odo-Owa is ‘Nde Jade’ the one I was heard concurrently that day was ‘Nde Jade’ this implies Odo-Owa people burnt my house,” he alleged.

Meanwhile, the sitting of the panel will continue today at same venue.

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