Ikale community in the Okitipupa Local Government Area, Ondo State, has rejected the five-man panel of inquiry set up by Governor Rotimi Akeredolu following the clash between the community and its Araromi Obu neighbour over land.
Akeredolu had set up a panel headed by Tunde Atere to investigate the cause of the violent clash between the two communities, resulting in loss of lives and property.
About four persons were killed and property worth millions of naira destroyed in the violent that erupted in Ago Alaye and Araromi Obu community in Odigbo Local Government Area of the state.
Speaking during the committee’s visit to the Abodi of Ikaleland, Oba George Faduyile, the people accused Akeredolu of taking sides in the matter, adding that there was no indication that the panel would be fair in its recommendations.
One of the leaders of the community, Mr Donald Morebise, who spoke under the auspices of the Ikale Central Organisation, said the dispute had been resolved by the judiciary in favour of Ikale.
He said, “Our people believe Governor Akeredolu has taken sides – we are not comfortable with this. He has prejudged us as the aggressors with his comments and actions since this crisis started. We are not the aggressors; The people of Araromi Obu are.
“You cannot be a judge in your own case. The governor is interested in one side and we are protesting against him because he has not allowed the principles of justice.
“We don’t believe this panel will be objective looking at the position of the governor who constituted it.”
Another community leader, General Oluyemi Bajowa, said the governor should have constituted an independent panel of inquiry to be headed by a retired judge.
He added that the people of Araromi were the aggressors in the July 16, 2019 crisis, adding that they would deploy legal means to reclaim their land.
However, the retired military officer advised the panel to follow due process.
But Atere assured the community that they would be fair and dispassionately carry out their assignment.
He said, “I want to assure the people of Ikale that members of the panel are men of proven integrity and we will not be biased in our findings. All issues raised will be looked into.”