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Two warring communities in Kwara to embrace peace through football

Date: 2018-04-20


A football competition, tagged "Maigida Unity Cup", has been put together to foster unity between the warring Offa and Erin-Ile communities in the Offa and Oyun Local Government Areas of Kwara.

Speaking on Thursday in Ilorin at a press conference to herald the tournament, the competition’s sponsor, Umar Balogun, said conflicts could only retard the economic potentials and prosperity of the communities. "Sustainable development that provides responsible lifestyles for citizens of a country depends on how peace and stability are guaranteed and assured.

"Peace is the most fundamental asset to community-building, personal growth and to the very survival of the world. “At the heart of many faiths, practices and cultures, advancing peaceful co-existence is essential to ensuring productive, meaningful lives and sustainable societies.

"We have watched in distress and anguish as our people in the two communities of Offa and Erin-Ile unleashed mayhem on themselves. "The loss of lives and destruction of properties which have resulted from these clashes sadden us all," Balogun said.

Also speaking, Gov. Abdulfatah Ahmed of Kwara said his government would continue to support any move towards sustainable peace in the state. Ahmed, who was represented by the Secretary to the State Government, Isiaka Gold, identified peace as a key component in achieving development in any society.

He urged the two communities to "resolve to live together in peace and unity, forget the past and forge ahead for the development of the areas and the state as a whole".

The governor said no nation could grow without peace and unity, and urged residents of the state to eschew violence and embrace peaceful coexistence in the interest of the state.

In his remarks, the Elerin of Erin-Ile, AbdulGaniyu Ajibola, Olusookun II, advised stakeholders in the two communities to allow peace to reign by avoiding actions and utterances that could truncate peace.

"I acknowledge earlier peace initiatives by various groups towards achieving sustainable peace between the two communities, and I appeal to the people of the areas to support any peace move in the area," he said.

Ajibola thanked the state government for supporting the initiator of the peace move and hoped that the effort would guarantee peace in Offa and Erin-Ile communities. Speaking in the same vein, the Olofa of Offa, Mufutau Gbadamosi, Esuwoye II, said the people of Offa were ready for peace to reign supreme between the two communities.

Speaking through a traditional title-holder, Yinusa Oyeyemi, Gbadamosi also expressed gratitude to Balogun and called for genuine interest in finding lasting peace in the two communities. He emphasised the need for peaceful coexistence in moving Ibololand forward. The football competition and peace move were put together by a group called LADORB Peace Initiative.

The competition is scheduled for May 5 to May 12, with matches being played in both communities.(NAN)


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