Don’t Play Politics With Offa Calamity, Minister warns

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The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhajii Lai Mohammed, delivering his address at the 2018 Ijakadi Festival in Offa, Kwara State, on Saturday.

The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, has chided some political actors in Kwara State for attempting to trivialize the April 5, 2018 robbery attack in Offa that left 33 people dead, saying claims of compensating the victims in monetary terms cannot equate the lives lost in the incident.

The Minister, who made the remarks in Offa, Kwara State, on Saturday at the 2018 Ijakadi Festival, described the efforts to trivialize the dastardly act as indecent, and called on the people to condemn any attempt to play politics with human lives.

“In recent days, there have been attempts by some political desperadoes to trivialize the calamity that befell this community when those armed robbers attacked banks and the police station, among others. These desperadoes were quoted as saying that when they visited this town to commiserate with the people after the attack, they donated 10 million Naira, even when what was stolen from the banks’ vault was 7 million Naira.

”Now, let us ask them: How many of those who were killed in that attack have they also been able to bring back? How can any sane person equate human life with money? No amount of money is worth any human life. And no one should play politics with human life. All people of conscience must condemn this glib comment by a desperate political warlord,” he said.

Alhaji Mohammed commended the resilience of the people of Offa for organizing such an elaborate festival, despite the calamity that befell their community this year, saying it is not surprising because Ijakadi festival itself is a celebration of the Offa virtues of strength and determination, as well as equity, justice and wisdom.

He expressed delight that the people of Offa have resolved that never again will any armed robber, hoodlum or brigand shed the blood of any innocent person in the town by raising 700 million Naira to build an ultra modern Mobile Police Force Barracks in the community.

The Minister said in keeping with the mandate of the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture to develop and promote national festivals, a manager of the Ijakadi Festival has been nominated to attend a training on festival management in Ghana.

“In line with our promise during the 2017 Ijakadi Festival, to help train the managers of this festival, I am happy to announce that come January 2019, a manager of the Ijakadi Festival will be travelling to Ghana to attend the training which is being organized by the Ministry in collaboration with the British Council. I congratulate the nominee and I am sure he or she will make the best use of this opportunity,” he said.

In his remarks, the Olofa of Offa, Oba Mufutau Gbadamosi Esuwoye II, said the Ijakadi Festival is aimed at sustaining the cultural heritage of the people and fostering cohesion in Offa community and its environs.

“Today, the Ijakadi Festival has, of course, attracted national attention, corporate bodies and government at all levels. Without any iota of doubt, this festival has brought development and benefits to Offa Community,” he said.

Highlights of the Ijikadi Festival include the traditional wrestling, homage to the Oba by the various districts, horse racing, hairdo and traditional attire display, as well as Moremi showpiece.

Segun Adeyemi
SA To Hon Minister of Information and Culture
Offa, Kwara State
29 Dec. 2018