Yoruba and Ijaw leaders, yesterday in Lagos, restated calls for the restructuring of the polity.
They said that only the implementation of the relevant sections of the 2014 National Conference report would douse tension in the country.
The leaders made the call at the end of a meeting between the ethnic groups following recent killings in some Lagos and Ogun communities, which police authorities attributed to Ijaw militants.
In a communique jointly signed by Chief Ayo Adebanjo, leader of the Yoruba delegation, and Chief Albert K. Horsfall, leader of the Ijaw delegation, the leaders noted that “the Ikorodu incident underlines the urgent need for state police, the restructuring of Nigeria and the need for the review and adoption of all past National conferences, including but not limited to the relevant sections of the reports of the 2014 National Conference reports.”
Horsfall, who read the communique, said: “Informed by the need for peaceful coexistence and sustainable development of Ijaw and Yoruba nations, this meeting was initiated by elders from both nations to address issues of mutual interest for peace and well being of two great civilizations.”
According to him, “in the past few months, there have been some developments which are of utmost concern to the two nationalities. Some of these issues include but not limited to recent spate of violence in some Yoruba territories, the social and economic state of the Nigerian nation and the future of the people of the two nationalities in the context of the emerging trends in the country.”
The Ijaw leader explained that the two ethnic groups would not fall into the antics of being used against each other.
He said: “It is in the interest of both nations, who have lived together in their territories for over 6000 years, long before Nigeria as a country was established, to work together, explore areas of cooperation for the race and well being of the two nationalities.
“It is not a meeting between two nations at war or in conflict. It is a meeting of people who have lived together for several years as brothers.
“That the peace and development of the two nationalities can best be achieved in an atmosphere of confidence and mutual trust.
“That the meeting condemns violence in any form and that the recent killings in Ikorodu are extremely in bad taste.
“That the violence was carried out by criminal elements who sadly have links with security agencies. The meeting strongly condemns the violence and however cautions that the two nationalities should be careful not to fall into the antics of being used against each other.
“That the recent cases of militant attacks in Ikorodu and other places linked by the police to the militants of Ijaw extradition are quite unfortunate.
“The meeting rejects the Ogun State Police Commissioner’s account and therefore requests the police to furnish the public with convincing details of the people that carried out the attacks, including their names.
“This issue should not, however, be allowed to fuel discord and communal violence between the Yoruba and Ijaw nations.”
He, however, noted that “the Ikorodu incident underlines the urgent need for state police, the restructuring of Nigeria and the need for the review and adoption of all past national conferences, including but not limited to the relevant sections of the reports of the 2014 National Conference reports.”
At the meeting were Chief Thompson Okorotie, Chairman, Bayealsa Elders Forum; Chief Francis Doakpola,. Justice Tabai, Gen Alani Akinrinade (rtd), Comrade Joseph Evah, Mr Wale Oshun, Mr. Yinka Odumakin, Prof. Banji Akintoye among others.