The Ife Action Council (IAC), an association of Ile-Ife indigenes, has disclosed that a mother and son were murdered at Alapata village on Tuesday by Modakeke indigenes because of the huge debts they owed the woman.
The murder of the two persons has results in a tension between the two communities, with both trading blames over the heinous crime. While Modakeke community claimed that they must have been killed by Ife indigenes, the latter insisted otherwise.
The incident would have renewed the historical riot between the two communities but for swift the intervention of the government and security agencies.
In a statement by its president Gbolade Famoriyo; Secretary, Lawrence Adewale and Public Relations Officer, Chief J. O. Olafare on Thursday, the IAC said Modakeke community was trying to conceal its crime by claiming that the deceased were killed by Ife indigenes. The council explained that Ife indigenes who have farms in the area have been denied access for years, wondering how Ife indigenes got to live and kill anyone in the village.
It said that Modakeke indigenes in the village and surrounding villages were heavily indebted to the deceased, adding that they decided to kill her and her son when they sought to recover her debt from them.
The statement read: “It is pertinent to let the general public know the true story on what had happened at Alapata village on 11th of May 2021 where a mother and her son were murdered.
“Without mincing words, the deceased persons were allegedly murdered by Modakeke gunmen. Dragging Ifes to the matter was an attempt to conceal the murderers. The facts as investigated and verified which can be independently confirmed through the law enforcement agents and hospital records by interested parties are as follows.
“One, Ife farmers at Alapata village have since been denied access to their farms for many years to date.The village had been occupied by Modakekes till today.
“Two, the deceased woman was a cocoa merchant and money lender to the Modakeke hoodlums occupying Ife farms at Alapata village.
“Three, hoodlum farmers of Modakeke descent were heavily indebted to the deceased woman and were not ready to pay her. The deceased woman and her son went after their debtors to recover their money.
“Four, it was in the course of a hot argument that they decided to kill the woman and her son and left them in the pool of their blood.
“Five, when the news filtered to town, the Modakeke youths, without investigation, erroneously believed that it must have been the Ifes. Consequently, they got themselves heavily armed, bombarded Ife villages like Toro, Alapata, Ojuade, Aba Paanu, etc, shooting sporadically, killing and maiming innocent lives.
“In the process, they murdered Mr and Mrs Idowu (of Ife origin) at Oyere, Mr Sunday (a.k.a “Oko Lere Agbe”) (of Ife origin) at Aba Paanu, Madam “Iya Eve” (An Igbo woman) at Ojuade and a lot. These are the discovered corpses, others are still missing.
“This is aside many others kidnapped by those hoodlums and taken to Modakeke with the aim of killing them. Those who sustained injuries are now in the hospitals and some of them have been reported dead while others are in critical condition.
“It is on record that recently, the Modakeke youths had done similar onslaught in Ife township when the news got to them that a ritualist of Ijesa origin popularly called “Ifa” was alleged to have assassinated a woman selling “ekuru”. They terrorized Ife and burnt Ifes’ two houses while Ife remained calm in the interest of peace.
“It is not in our interest to avenge the onslaught, though they cannot claim to have monopoly of violence always but they need to be warned to desist from continuous harassment and violence against Ife farmers on their legitimate farmland and ancestral belongings as this will henceforth be resisted by all possible means.”
The council implored law enforcement agents to bring perpetrators of the violence to book.
The historical clashes over land ownership were renewed in 1983 and 1996 during which each community recorded hundreds of casualties with destruction of property owned by indigenes of both communities.