The Nigeria Police Force has released 15 out of the 21 persons arrested for their alleged role in the clash between Hausa and Yoruba youths in Ile-Ife, Osun State, which left at least 46 persons dead.
The Publicity Secretary of the pan-Yoruba group, Afenifere, Yinka Odumakin, told our correspondent on the telephone on Thursday that the 15 suspects were released unconditionally.
He, however, noted that the Alapoje of Alapoje community in Ile-Ife, Oba Ademola Ademiluyi, and five others were still in police custody.
Odumakin stated, “The police have released 15 of the Ife 21 (detainees) unconditionally.
They were released to Ropo Oyewole, a member of the legal defence team but the kabiyesi (monarch) and five others are still in custody.”
Odumakin, however, said he did not know why the remaining persons were still in custody.
He identified the released persons as Ayoola Abimbola, Bello Wahab, Peter Omisore, Adefisan Isaac, Adelekan Kehinde, Elufisan Akintoye, Omisanmi Isaac, Adejobe Monday, Olanrewaju Adebayo, Akanbi Adeyinka, Obimakin Samuel, Alhaji Zakariyu Abdulyakeen, Bamidele Elufisan, Clement Kehinde and Akinyombo Seye.
It was learnt that the monarch and five others might soon be arraigned in court by the police.
Curiously, all the suspects paraded by the police on March 20 in Abuja were Yoruba.
No Hausa was arrested by the police.
When contacted, the Force Public Relations Officer, Jimoh Moshood, said he was not aware of the release of the suspects.
Meanwhile, traditional rulers from Ile-Ife, on Thursday protested, the continued detention of Oba Ademola Ademiluyi, who was arrested by the police following the bloody clash on March 8.
The Laroka of Wanikin Ife, Oba Kole Ojutalayo, who led other traditional rulers from Ile-Ife to address a press conference in Ile-Ife, said the detention and the parade of Oba Ademiluyi by the police was a desecration of Yoruba customs.
Ojutalayo said Ife monarchs were aware that the police did not treat any emir the way they had treated Oba Ademiluyi, when ethnic clashes occurred in their domains.
The monarch said Ademiluyi had been in police custody for over a month.
He said, “Ife obas, numbering 40, have written a protest letter to President Muhammadu Buhari and the same letter was sent to the Inspector-General of Police, Ibrahim Idris; and the Osun State Governor, Mr. Rauf Aregbesola, on the continued detention of the arrested monarch.”
The monarchs said they were surprised that the police declared Ademiluyi wanted on March 9 in connection with the clash even when available evidence showed that he (Ademiluyi) was in Lagos when the fight broke out.
Ojutalayo said, “Our investigation revealed that while in the custody of the Nigeria Police, Oba Ademola Adedewe Ademiluyi was stripped of his royal paraphernalia, including the removal of his cap, thereby exposing his bare head which is contrary to the Yoruba custom.
“As if that was not enough, he was paraded at the Force Headquarters, Abuja, like a common criminal alongside other innocent Ile-Ife indigenes that were arrested.
“Your Excellency will agree with us that no emir or any other traditional chief in the northern part of Nigeria would ever have been degraded and ridiculed in the manner Oba Ademola Adedewe Ademiluyi was treated by the Nigeria Police.”