Violence Erupts Between Igbo-ora Muslims Groups over …
The crisis among the leadership of Muslims in Igbo-ora town resurfaced again when the end of Ramadan Festival turned sour as violence broke out on Friday 15th June 2018 on the Eid day between two Muslims groups in Igboora, this time over the control of Eid praying ground.
Some analysts believe that the recurring violent struggles for headship among the Muslims in the town could be located in the history of how various communities settled as different towns to later make the present day Igbo-ora town. Also the prestige as well as economic yields accruable to the position of the head, called the Imam, could motivate a do-or-die struggle by unemployed leaders who have poor source of livelihood, analysts have said.
It will be recalled that the modern day Igbo-ora is made up of Igbole, Pako, Iberekodo, Igbo-ora, Saganun and Idofin towns. Some refer to each of these towns as communities or quarters, thus having Igboora community or Igbooora quarters, within a whole Igboora town. The absurdity in the dual use of the word “Igboora” as quarters and “Igboora” as town often create misunderstanding at addressing quarrels among the communities and sometimes failure of solutions proffered by none indigenes.
On the latest round of violence at this year 2018 Eid prayer it was reliably gathered that security agents in the town had anticipated the violence and had tried their best to prevent unnecessary spate of violence and bloodletting that finally erupted. The source who pleaded anonymity alleged that a meeting was called by the state security agents in the town with a view of preventing any likely violence and this was attended by both Igbole and Igbo-ora Muslims leaders.
At the meeting, the source alleged that the security agents advised each of the two parties to hold their Eid Prayers within their respective quarter but that when Igbole Muslims reached home, the stay-in-your-quarter arrangement was allegedly not pleasing to Igbole monarch who allegedly invited Muslims from Igboora quarters to come and hold Eid prayer in his Igbole domain.
Most people were not willing to speak to the press on the issue, but our enquiries revealed that Igbole Muslims had gone to their Eid ground and had completed their prayers but as soon as they completed their prayers, their monarch allegedly telephoned the Igboora Muslims Community to come and hold Eid prayer also at the same Eid praying ground being vacated by Igbole Muslims.
Eager Igboora Muslims quickly seized the opportunity of the offer and went to Igbole for Eid prayers, unfortunately the Igbole Muslims who lay claim to their territory’s Eid ground had hardly left their praying ground when the invited Muslims from Igboora met them coming out of Eid ground, a fight ensued between the two groups, Igboora Muslims retreated towards their home but did not reach home. It was further gathered that the retreating Igboora Muslims went to re-strategize to take the High School route in order to by-pass Igbole Community to reach Igbole Eid ground.
Words reached Igbole Muslims that Igboora Muslims were at Igbole Eid ground hence they waited for Igbo-ora Muslims to come out. As soon as Igboora Muslims came out another round of fight ensued but this time the Igboora Muslims were alleged to be more armed and larger than when they were earlier repelled and Igbole Muslims had to run away. It was during the confusion of second round of fight that palace vehicles and structure were vandalized by unspecified persons.
Also, during their ‘victory’ march across various quarters towards reaching theirs, the Muslims of Igboora allegedly stopped at the old garage for about 30 minutes, brandishing various weapons and taunting the Muslims of Iberekodo to a fight, but no one came out to meet them. Iberekodo Muslims were away to their Eid praying ground.
However, at Abas Junction of Iberekodo, the Muslims of Iberekodo who were returning from their Eid ground at L.A. Primary saw Igboora Muslims allegedly brandishing weapons to taunt them for a fight, they had to run to hide away from the Igboora Muslims. The matter of harassment of Muslims of Iberekodo by traversing Igboora Muslims was reported to the Monarch of Iberekodo, who after a meeting of his Traditional Council prevailed on his subjects not to report the incident to the police but to allow the matter to rest so as not to inflame the already tense situation in the town.
The dousing action of Iberekodo Monarch could be understood against the background of the recent court case on the issue of Imam of the entire town which was initiated by leaders of Muslims of Igboora against leaders of Muslims of Iberekodo over which an appeal at the Court of Appeal is pending, a source said.
Meanwhile, reports that some of those arrested have been released could not be verified because the State Police have ordered full investigations of the violence that erupted during June 2018 Eid prayers at Igbole. Seven suspects were arrested including the two Chief Imams while peace has returned to the town.
It is on Tuesday, when the nation would have resumed from Eid il Fitri public holidays that the police will determine whether the suspects would be charged to court or the matter resolved amicably.