Five farmers from Modakeke were killed on Friday while heading to their farms, a development some have blamed on the decade-long communal feud between Ile-Ife and the community. In the wake of the attack, several Ile-Ife residents were forced to close their businesses over fears of reprisal from Modakeke indigenes.
But in a statement on Saturday, the Ooni’s spokesman, Moses Olafare, said the killing had no communal undertone, describing it as “sheer criminality”.
“The palace of the Ooni of Ife on Friday morning received with great concern, news of the reported killing of some persons numbering about five at Toro village, Ile-Ife,” the statement began.
“Aside from condemning the unfortunate incident in strong terms, the Palace of the Ooni immediately reported the case to appropriate security authorities who swung into action immediately.
“While some mischief makers tried to link the criminality to the long-resolved Ife/Modakeke dispute, the Palace of Ife wishes to state unequivocally that what happened at Toro village was sheer criminality and the long hand of the law will soon catch up with the perpetrators.”
The monarch was quoted as commending security agents for sustaining peace in the community and urged residents to carry on with their normal activities.