Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi, has warned residents of Ife and Modakeke communities not to give communal colouration to the recent killing of farmers in Modakeke.
Five farmers from Modakeke were killed by gunmen while heading to their farms in the early hours of Friday.
It was gathered that after learning about the incident, several residents of Ile-Ife hurriedly closed their shops and businesses over fears of reprisal from Modakeke residents.
Ile-Ife and Modakeke have a long history of land-related communal clashes spanning decades.
However, Oba Ogunwusi, in a statement issued over the weekend by Moses Olafare, the Director of Media and Public Affairs at Ooni’s palace, described the killing as “sheer criminality,” warning residents against fanning embers of discord between the two communities.
The monarch said the killing was not a communal war, adding that perpetrators of acts of criminality were not representing any community and would only be treated as criminals.
“While some mischief makers tried to link the criminality to the long-resolved Ife/Modakeke dispute, the Palace of Ife wishes to state unequivocally that what happened at Toro village was sheer criminality and the long hand of the law will soon catch up with the perpetrators.
“It is in the public knowledge that the country like its counterparts across the world is being confronted by security challenges, which would soon be a thing of the past with the cooperation of all, especially we, the citizens.
“Attempts to add communal colouration to the crime with an attempt to distract security operatives from unveiling the evil minds behind the devilish act by some mischief makers is already known to security operatives who are on top of the matter,” the statement added.
The monarch commended security agents for sustaining peace in the two communities and urged residents to carry on with their activities.