The Oodua Peoples Congress and the Fulani traders who were alleged to be in the middle of last Friday’s bloody clash in Ajase-Ipo in Irepodun Local Government area of Kwara State have denied provoking the clash.
Reacting on Saturday to the bloody clash between cow dealers and members of the OPC at Kaara market in Ajasse-Ipo, state chairman of the Gan Allah Fulani Development Association, Alhaji Alli-Mohammed Jounwuro said that 9 people were killed by the OPC members in the incident while 450 cows were lost.
The Funlani leader alleged that while many people were injured in the bloody clash, over N6m was stolen by the OPC members in the clash.
He appealed to the State Government and security agencies to check the Oodua Peoples Congress, OPC, members from taking the law into their hands.
However, Coordinator of the Oodua People’s Congress in Kwara state, Comrade Ganiyu Oladipupo, described as unfortunate the crisis leading to the death of four persons in Ajase-Ipo area of the state, saying his members were not part of the crisis.
He described as lies the statement by Jounwuro that the OPC killed 9 of his members.
Oladipupo said the crisis had started earlier between Yoruba and the Fulani in the town before the attack on the OPC members that were returning from the grand finale of Osun festival held in Osogbo last Friday.
“The Fulani transferred their usual aggressions to the OPC, when a stray cow in the Kaara market along the road damaged the side mirror of one of the 20 vehicles conveying our members that were returning from Osun Osogbo festival to the state.
“Knowing that the buses conveying our members have been stuck in the gridlock,the Fulani Cow- dealers deliberately attacked the bus with various weapons.
“The reports, according to the Kwara State Police Spokesperson, Okasanmi Ajayi, showed clearly that the OPC was never part of the crisis.
“However, some of our members that sustained injuries in the course of the crisis have been receiving treatment at the hospital.
“The leader of the Kwara State cow dealers was trying to hide the truth in order curry favour from the public. He lied that the OPC members killed nine of his members alleging also that our members made away with several millions of naira during the fracas.
“Our members travelled along the same Ajase-Ipo road when they were going to Osogbo to celebrate the Osun Osogbo festival without causing any crisis.
“Why is it that the whole story changed as they were returning from Osogbo? They were attacked by the irate Fulani cow dealers who see the OPC as the only threat to their long term agenda.
“The Yoruba in Kwara state have been relating peacefully with the Hausa/Fulani untill recently when they alleged that the excesses of the Fulani in the state are becoming unbearable.
“As much as the Kaara Ajase-Ipo incident was most unfortunate, it also showed the excesses of the Fulani cow dealers who think they are at liberty to kill and maim without recourse to the law.”
Oladipupo said that though peace had been restored to the area, it was important to clarify that the OPC is a peaceful organisation that has been going about its cultural promotion activities peacefully without any hitch.
“Nobody has the monopoly to attack and kill. What the Fulani cow dealers did in Kwara that led to the death of four people was very unfortunate and shows their conquering spirit,” Oladipupo said.
Meanwhile, the state Police Command said that it recovered four unidentified liveless bodies from the scene of the clash at Kaara market, Ajase-Ipo on Friday night.
The Command’s Spokesperson, Ajayi Okasanmi, said that normalcy had returned to the area adding that every barrier created as a result of the clash had been cleared.
The police spokesperson, however, could not confirm if any arrest had been made in connection with the clash.