The Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, has stated that divisive utterances by some Southwest governors were responsible for the killings in Sasha market and other violence against Northerners in the region.
Recall that on Thursday, February 18, violence had erupted in Sasha Market, Oyo State between Hausa traders and Yoruba indigenes, resulting in the death of dozens of Northerners and torching of their shops in the market.
Speaking with the BBC Hausa Service on Saturday, the Senate-President attributed the violence to the latest call for the eviction of Fulani herders out of Southwestern states.
He said: “What happened in Oyo State and other things that kept happening in the Southwestern states are caused by leadership failures in the region.
“Some utterances by some governors also went a long way in inciting the citizens to take up arms against other ethnic groups settling in their states.
“The governors’ utterances emboldened the criminals to unleash violence against the Northerners.”
Speaking on what the National Assembly was doing to stem the rising tide of violence against Northerners in the South, Mr Lawan said although the Sasha killing occurred when the legislators were on recess, the Senate, upon resumption, rose to condemn the violence in its entirety.
He said: “Sasha killing was one of the things we deliberated upon at the plenary when we resumed. We condemned the violence and even moved against any kind of inciting comments or utterances by some government officials.
“We equally condemned the eviction order by one ethnic group on the other, or indigene-settle claims, just as we called for the compensation of all the victims of herder/farmer clashes in the country.
“Recently, President Muhammadu Buhari had also invited the state governors and told them that the Federal Government would not condone any governor calling for the eviction of any ethnic group from his state.
“He said that no governor should incite his citizens to unleash terror or violence on the non-indigene members of the communities.”
“The President also stressed that the Nigerian constitution guarantees every Nigerian the right to live in any part of the country he wishes.
“Also, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo had met with state governors during NEC meeting and it was resolved that compensations be provident to all the victims of herder/farmer clashes.”
Mr Lawan, therefore, called on the security agencies to fish out the killers of the Sasha market victims and prosecute them so as to serve as a deterrent to others.
“To me, not only compensation, but the killers of the victims should also be fished out and prosecuted. This will discourage other people from taking that action tomorrow,” he added.