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The Government of Kogi State has reiterated its commitment to the peaceful coexistence of its populace and its determination to develop the state on the tripod of fairness, justice and equity.
The Secretary to the Kogi State Government, Dr. Ayoade Folashade Arike said this during the inauguration of the Implementation Committee on the Report of Iyano Crisis in Ibaji Local Government Area on Tuesday at the Government House, Lokoja.
“His Excellency, Alhaji Yahaya Bello, believes that Kogi State belongs to all of us.
“He believes in peaceful coexistence and that everyone living here has a right to Kogi state. He abhors injustice and he believes every life is valuable. We inherited the Iyano Crisis but when we came in as a government, the Governor put it upon himself that the crisis must come to a total end and all rightful residents be accorded all the rights due to them. To achieve this, he set up a committee to look at the issues and made me the Chairperson, with members from every relevant stakeholder group, including NGOs, security agencies, members of the communities involved. Memorandums were called for and submitted to the committee and people came to give testimonies. Traditional leaders of the communities were interviewed and we have it all on tape.
“After the committee concluded its work and put together its report, the governor said it must not stop there. He asked that Kogites from other parts of the state with requisite experience be brought in to implement the recommendations of the committee to the letter. We are here to ensure there is sustainable and lasting peace in the Ibaji community,” she said.
The Iyano community is made up of three villages, namely: Alauja, Iru and Itale. Echule Abujaga is a neighboring village whose inhabitants came to settle with the Aluaja people in the late 18 century. There has been dispute over land and fish ponds between Aluaja the host village and Echule Abujaga settlers since 1958. This dispute was taken to various courts including High Court in Idah where judgment was delivered in favour of Aluaja in 1983.
However, the crisis has lingered since then. In 2015, violence erupted in the area and many lives and property were lost.
Earlier, while welcoming the attendees to the event, the Chief of Staff to the Governor, Hon. Edward Onoja, said the Governor was perplexed that people who had lived together for centuries would suddenly take up arms against each other and that was why he set up the committee.
“Each community must begin to preach tolerance, respect, understanding, feelings for each other, and no other there is no resources that is more valuable than human lives. I challenge anyone that can put every barrel of oil on the earth into creating a human being and succeed. No human being should take any life for anything that is of lesser value.
His Excellency expects this committee to do nothing else but ensure that the three principles that he selflessly serves Kogi State with–justice, fairness and equity- are abided by the committee.”
Speaking on behalf of the committee members, the Chairman, Barrister Muazu Adinoyi Abbass, thanked the government for finding he and others worthy to serve on the committee and promised that the vision of the Governor to ensure peace in the committee will be achieved.
“I thank the Government of Kogi State for the opportunity and will ensure that we carry out our activities according to law and with the expectation of the government. We will ensure that justice is done to each and every member of that community and to that extent that the state is peaceful and in a habitable condition for human existence.”
Members of the Implementation Committee on the Report of Iyano Crisis in Ibaji Local Government Area
1. Barrister Muazu Adinoyi Abbass – Okene Chairman
2. Timothy Ojoma – Ibaji
3. Barrister Enejo Aruwa –Idah
4. Mathias Abah – Ankpa
5. Felicity E.Ohiani – Adavi
6. Mallam Ayuba Adamu – Kogi
7. Barrister Ola Odana – Kabba-Bunu
8. Victor O.Oshamo – SSG’s Office – Secretary
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