By Foundation for Peace Professionals
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In the early hours of Wednesday, reports of crisis between Hausa and

Yoruba in Ile Ife- Osun state flooded the social media, in which 5

people were reportedly killed.
Different newspapers reported different stories about the cause of the

crisis, but none of the stories were close to the truth since they all

claimed it was an ethnic crisis between Hausa and Yoruba when the

facts as contained in their report says otherwise.
Here are the facts as reported by different newspapers:

• TheCable reported that trouble started on Tuesday after a vehicle

driven by a Yoruba man hit the wife of a Hausa trader. Some youths

were said to have attacked the driver with machete and this angered

members of the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) who

chose to fight back to defend one of their own. The security agents

deployed in the town were said to have foiled an attempt by the NURTW

members to gain access into Sabo community, where the majority of

those who attacked the driver came from.
• In its own report, Business Day newspaper reported that sources in

Ile-Ife told its correspondent that crisis erupted when a Hausa man

was caught in bed with the wife of an indigent of the town.

• Another national newspaper, Punch in its report claimed that the

fight was caused by a misunderstanding between a Yoruba man and an

Hausa man at Sabo area of Ife. The Yoruba man was said to have been

beaten by some Hausa traders and he in return came back to the market

with his group to confront those who beat him.
For the purpose of clarity, ethnic conflict is not a conflict between

two individuals of different ethnicity or groups over business or

other natural conflict in human interactions. Ethnic conflict is a

conflict between two or more contending ethnic groups. But the crisis

in Ile Ife has nothing to do with ethnicity. It is merely a kind of

conflict that often arises from natural human interaction.

However, it is saddening that media organizations in the country are

now becoming notorious for deliberately twisting reports to create

tension and escalate ethnic divide. They report distorted news in

other to portray certain ethnicity in negative light and widen the gap

between people of different ethnicity.
While social bloggers that are not tutored to report professionally or

guided by any known rules may be excused for their irresponsible

reporting, established newspapers that prided themselves as

professionals and guided with certain code of conduct cannot claim

ignorance. Newspaper editors must therefore be aware of the

destructive tendencies of this kind of reportage.
From the three (3) contradictory reports above, one fact was

established. The crisis has nothing to do with ethnicity per se, it

was more of a badly managed crisis between two people, which

subsequently transformed to crisis between two groups.

For the same media that reported the above facts to then describe the

conflict as an ethnic crisis between Yoruba and Hausa beat our

Similarly, none of the newspapers verified the killing of anyone, even

though their headline all creamed 5 killed in Ile- Ife. We must then

ask, what do these newspapers gain from unnecessarily heating up the

polity with distorted report of ethnic crisis?
In the course of our investigation, we reached out to our friends

around the area for verification and they did confirm the incident,

but none of those we spoke can confirm if anyone was killed. They

however noted that some people were injured and properties destroyed.

We therefore appeal to all media organizations in Nigeria to ensure

they report incidents as they truly are, not to distort report to

portray imaginary ethnic conflict where none existed. Many people have

died in reprisal attacks fueled by distorted information.

We also appeal to social media commentators to desist from trying to

portray each others ethnicity in negative light through spreading and

promoting false and distorted information.
AMB. Abdulrazaq O Hamzat
President, Foundation for Peace Professionals
[email protected]