Ife Monarch stresses need for peaceful co-existence

Timothy Choji, Abuja

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The Ooni of Ife, Adeyeye Ogunlesi says peaceful co-existence is what Nigeria needs at all times.

The monarch made this known after a meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, on Thursday.

He has however expressed concern over the security challenge confronting some parts of the country, declaring that the southwest does not want war.

Alerting Nigerians on the activities of war-mongers who were bent on causing social unrest in the country, the Ooni said he was in the State House on behalf of his colleagues in the South-West.

He frowned at those political elites misinforming and instigating the youths to beat the drums of war in the country.

He said: “Before I came here I discussed with the Alafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi, who has been there for close to 50 years and we cannot tore away such a very massive experience in terms of knowing the structure of Nigeria. And also by virtue of that Alafin is in constant touch with Owojale and very much we are all on the same page.

“So, I’m here and I had a discussion that is very fruitful with Mr President about what we all know – the security situation in the country. We made him to know that the issue at hand in the Southwest is real – the issue of insecurity.

“We that we live particularly in the remote and rural areas of the south western part of the country – most of those bushes and those forests are being occupied by strange people and we have decided to take it upon ourselves to try as much as possible to work with the government to fish them out.”

The royal father said Nigeria cannot afford to face another civil war thus, the country’s youth must be engaged positively.

“Why I’m here again is, everybody is beating the drum of war, we don’t want war, who can stand war? We want something better for our youths. We should better use them for something good other than shouting war and anarchy – we don’t want that. And to the glory of God we told Mr President that and he is on the same page with us,” he said.

Precautionary Move

The Monarch therefore, enjoined leaders and politicians to be wary and careful while commenting on the nation’s security developments as some of their utterances may throw things out of proportion.

He said the President has given the green light for heads of security agencies to meet with traditional rulers, to address the problem.

“We should make sure that things are right. Mr President has actually given good directives to all the security chiefs especially the Inspector-General of Police.

“They will visit each and every traditional rulers’ palaces that are very sensitive in the southwest with immediate effect – he is going to give that directive.

“We need to work very closely with them and every other security agency in the country. We all must put them to use now, it is very important for us to put them to use and work with the locals,’’ he said.

Adeyeye also revealed that the President would soon clarify his stance on the proposed Ruga Settlement scheme, which had generated mixed reactions from socio-political groups and individuals across the country before it was suspended.

According to him, traditional rulers are disturbed with the reactions of citizens over the proposed Ruga project and cautioned against stigmatization of the herders.

“Another thing that he assured me before leaving which I will go and give back to much more experienced traditional rulers in the southwest which I have mentioned their names earlier and even our leaders across bound – that he has assured that he would say his own side of the story about Ruga (settlement). He wants to let the world and Nigerians in particular know the true side of the story because he is being read out of content.

“So we should give him that opportunity as number one citizen of the country and what is important for me is our youthful exuberant nature of our youths in Nigeria for them not to take law into their hands – go into those places and start to kill and maim.

“We don’t want that. The drum of war is resurrecting too much and we are very worried,” the royal father said.

Ime Njoku