By Kayode Adeoti
The Judicial Commission of Enquiry set up by the Kwara State Government to unravel the mystery behind the clash that engulfed Iloffa and Odo-Owa communities in Oke-Ero local government had received 267 exhibits in the just concluded hearing.
The Chairman of the Commission, Justice Sulyman Durosinlorun Kawu made this known after the last public hearing of the matter on Saturday.
Recall that the crisis engulfed Odo-Owa and Iloffa communities as a result of the botched yam festival at Obada market in which no fewer than three persons were reportedly killed and 26 houses were burnt down leaving the residents homeless.
Addressing the gathering on Saturday, Kawu stressed that the commission has been magnanimous to welcome additional 44 memoranda.
He said, “At the take off on Monday, 24th July, 2017, we announced the receipt of 48 memoranda from stakeholders. Today, I make bold to say that, true to the status of the commission as a fact finding one, we relaxed the deadline for submission to give more people opportunity to air their views.
“Consequently, we received 92 memoranda, successfully heard a total number of 81 while 11 were withdrawn and struck out. The Commission took evidence of 78 witnesses and received 267 exhibits.”
He however enjoined the people of the two communities to leave in peace and harmony saying such communal clash must not repeat itself.
Meanwhile, on the last day of public hearing, no fewer than two witnesses advocated for the grading of the Oloota of Odo-Owa, Oba Joseph Sunday Adimula.
Kehinde Opeyemi Emmanuel testified before the commission that the crisis ravaging the two communities will only stop if the Oloota is upgraded.
According to him, “In terms of settlement, Iloffa came last, Kajola, Igbede, Owa, Imode, Igosi, Odo-Owa were the earlier settlers and Odo-Owa was their district head. If Oloota could be upgraded, the crisis threatening the peace of the two communities will stop.”
He noted further that he was in his house when the crisis broke out adding that he was able to monitor all that transpired because his house bordered the Obada market.
“It was only a dwarf fence that demarcated my house from the market, I saw what transpired that fateful day, Oloota did not slap Iyaloja as being reported. When I heard sporadic gunshot, I made several calls to the Iloffa DPO but I got no help in return.
“On the eve of the crisis, there were large number of youths in front of Odofin, Moses Sunday Oni’s house in Iloffa and antecedents have shown that whenever there will be crisis, Iloffa people will first gather to strategise.
“Oloota had once reported the matter to the traditional council of Obas in the region that Iloffa communities were procuring arms and ammunitions for war, he also alerted the local government authority of the development.
In the same vein, Abraham Ashaolu also called for the upgrading of Oloota saying the community has been treated unfairly.