Crisis in Ibaruba: Yoruba Traders Appeal for Intervention Amidst Rising Tension
By Adedoja Samuel Adesoji
On Friday 14th January 2023, the indigenous people of Ibaruba at Chikanda, Baruten LG, Kwara State attacked businesses and properties of people of Yoruba extraction who were peaceful traders of the community, with cars destroyed and houses razed down, due to physical assault and injuries to the Yoruba people caught during the clash.
The clash was a result of the conflict that had been brewing before the clash where the over 200,000 Yoruba people in the community have appealed for the intervention of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the Kwara State government and relevant authorities over the alleged ban and attempt to forcefully expel them from the area.
The Ibaruba community was originally a non-Yoruba speaking settlement, but with thousands of Yoruba residents carrying on business and engaging in inter-marital activities with the settlers for decades.
They said many of them doing business in Ibaruba land, including towns and villages within the local governments such as Yasikira, Okuta, Boriya, Gure, and Siya were about to be sent packing over an issue between one of their leaders, Baale Nafiu who was said to have made a derogatory statement against the town and was banished from the community.
The duo said Yorubas and the Ibaruba people had been living peacefully before the misunderstanding, adding that the quick intervention of relevant stakeholders was needed before the issue got out of hand.
Some representatives of Yoruba residents in the community call on President Tinubu, the Kwara State government, Department of State Service (DSS), and the Inspector-General of Police to intervene with the traditional rulers of Ibaruba in a cry for help, appealing: “Because of the sin of Nafiu (Oba Yorubaland in the Okuta District of Baruten Local Government), Ibaruba Community of Kwara State has since November, last year banned us from carrying on our legitimate trading in foodstuff.
“They have been subjecting us to forceful confiscation of our goods. The District Heads in the Baruten communities, including Yasikira, Okuta, Boriya, Gure, and Siya have threatened us that they are going to expel us.
“Other Yoruba Obas in Baruten, Siya, have been expelled. They have said that we should no longer be having our traditional meetings again. We are hereby begging that Nafiu be forgiven, so that we can continue to co-exist in peace as before.”