ONDO State government has declared a 24-hour curfew in Ikare-Akoko, one of the biggest towns in the state.
The government gave the order at the State Security Council meeting chaired by Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu.
A statement signed by the Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Richard Olatunde, on Thursday December 5 warned people of the community to comply with the directive.
According to the statement, the order followed the escalated violent clash in the town since Tuesday, “which has continued unabated, despite the meeting held by government and the Olukare of Ikare, Oba Akadiri Momoh, and Owa Ale of Iyometa, Oba Adeleke Adegbite l, to rein in their subjects.”
The government directed security agencies to ensure strict compliance with the order.
It noted that investigations were on to unravel the cause(s) of the violent clash.
“For emphasis, Ikare Akoko has been closed down to any unauthorised human movement and activity until further notice.”
The ICIR reports that Ikare-Akoko is the headquarters of Akoko North-East Local Government Area of Ondo State and a major commercial hub.
The community has two rival monarchs who claim the town’s kingship.
In 2022, Governor Akeredolu upgraded scores of monarchs across the state to different grades.
The promotion elevated Owa Ale of Iyometa to a first-class monarch, equalling the status of his rival, Oba Akadiri Momoh, in the town.
An impeccable source briefed The ICIR that indigenes loyal to both kings have since mongered war through different means.
On Tuesday, January 3, some youths in the town organised a carnival to celebrate the New Year.
Gunmen suspected to be supporters of either king stormed the venue and shot sporadically, forcing people in the area to scamper for safety.
The source said the ensuing melee led to the destruction of property and vehicles plying the town’s highway.
The source said the crisis over kingship in the town had spanned several decades from the warring kings’ forefathers.
The source explained that both kings were classmates at Victory College in the town and were friends.
Besides, they attended European universities before returning home to mount the throne.
The source bemoaned the crisis and described it as unfortunate.
“Ikare used to be a commercial hub. People from different parts of Nigeria usually came to trade at the town’s market. But you don’t have that anymore. As I speak with you, a three-bedroom flat in Ikare is about N60,000, while in the neighbouring town, Akungba, which has a university, a self-contained room goes for N120,000,” narrated the source.
The ICIR reports that the dualisation of the Akungba-Akoko Road by the Ondo State government has boosted the town’s commercial activities.
This newspaper also reports that the curfew will not only affect the town’s residents and its economic activities, but will also negatively impact travellers from the North to the Southwest who use the road as a better alternative to the dilapidated Lokoja-Okenne-Ibillo Road.
Ikare-Akoko is one of the five biggest towns in Ondo State. Others are Ondo, Akure, the state capital; Owo and Okitipupa. Ore and Ile-Oluji are also among the rapidly-developing communities in the state because of sprawling economic activities.