Kwara - The Mobile Police Unit in Offa, near Ilorin, on Sunday averted a communal clash between two neighbouring communities of Offa and Erin-Ile in Kwara.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that a disagreement between members of the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) in the two communities sparked off the trouble.
NAN gathered that members of the union in the two communities had earlier reached an agreement that passengers going to Erin-Ile should board designated taxis at Offa Poly Motor Park. But on Saturday afternoon, a mini- commercial bus was said to have flouted the directive by conveying passengers from Offa direct to Erin-Ile on inter-township route.
The mini bus was said to have been accosted on its return trip by NURTW officials in Offa for failure to stop. They had its passengers offloaded at the Poly Motor Park. A source who spoke to NAN on condition of anonymity, said that the driver, rather than accept the sanction meted out to him in good fate, went to Erin-Ile and returned in company of some motor park thugs.
The source said that the thugs attacked the Ajegunle unit of the union in Offa but the executive of the union in the two communities brokered peace. On Sunday afternoon in Offa, when information circulated that vehicles belonging Offa were been seized at Erin-Ile and destroyed, the peace meeting ended, resulting in a free for all fight.
Saheed Popoola, the Chairman Offa Local Government Area who was at the scene of the incident, however, told NAN said the officials of the union from the two communities had agreed to release vehicles seized to their owners and to maintain peace. Meanwhile in his reaction, the Secretary to the State Government, Isiaka Gold, said that the law enforcement agents had brought the situation under control.
Gold called on all law-abiding citizens to ignore rumours of communal conflict in any part of the state, adding that what happened in Offa and Erin-Ile, was a dispute between members of a union. He also called on the public to continue to maintain the peace and shun all acts of violence in the interest of the people’s welfare and the development of the state.
In a telephone conversation with NAN, Mr Olatunji Ayodele, the Area Commander, Nigeria Police Command, Omu-Aran Unit, said the situation had been brought under control.