What to do about Arungún?

Intriguing the way we deal with social issues in Nigeria.

To get a glimpse of what is going on in the southwest, we read news coming out of Lagos which usually can be representative to an extent, however there are some issues specific to a few towns within Yorubaland that never received proper attention that it deserves.

Arungún (vandals), in most cases are people who have nothing to lose and not afraid of destroying what others have worked hard to create.

This post is about last Friday street fight between Asipa and Ipetumodu guys that lead to destruction of some of Akinola Market stalls.

To be clear, within Ife Central, Ife North, Ife South, Ife East and Ayedaade, if any, there are few people whose families are not stretched across towns. Even if one has no family relations in another town, we share villages and local markets so really disputes over borders should not come to people destroying properties they’ve worked hard for.

For example, in my village we have people from Ode Omu, Gbongan, Ipetumodu and of course God’s own town, Modakeke. We share ààlà (borders) that have been established from long time ago, people have learnt to respect each other’s boundaries so why can’t same wisdom apply today?

Like many countries of the world, increasing population growth presents real challenges for people in the rural areas because most people are farmers, it means more people are competing for limited resources – land. The land that used to be enough for a few people has now become a tussle amongst many.

My point here is that how could people have managed to live in peace with one another in our villages and small towns but can not seem to find a civilised way of settling border disputes or trace history to identify rightful owner?

When I was little, disputes over land boundaries and land ownership are what formed significant part of my childhood memories. I know elders have their explanations but I have seen enough of property destruction border disputes can cause, I see no explanation good enough to allow destruction of properties to continue over border disputes – there are better ways and we can surely adjust our thinking to find amicable solutions.

No society can develop if knocking people who have no other source of income over down to their knees every other year is what neighbourhood gangs specialise in.

Again on vandalism at Oja Akinola last week Friday where market stalls were damaged are stalls owned by people from local villages and towns, others bring wholesale goods from the city so people need not travel far from home. Akinola Market is where a few people I know buy their bulk food stuff.

Maybe fight after a football match is not unheard of but why do they have to destroy market stalls? Why can’t we be excited to see progress? Ha, awon arungún.

Vandalism should be made a punishable crime. I can’t say either of the town is my town but I see a developing pattern that I am well too familiar with which should not be ignored.

I could never understand why a fight after a friendly match between two communities – Asipa and Ipetumodu guys escalated to stabbing one another, gun shots to destroying market stalls.

It is only in Nigeria that we think this should be understandable because of unemployment and poverty. If you are poor, one thing that gets drilled into the psyche is to protect the little you have. Poor people keep their head low and don’t destroy the little glory in their neighbourhoods.

I am glad to hear that the state governor has made some arrests and promise to get to the root of the problem between the two communities.

After all the damages, the reason provided had nothing to do with the football match, disputes over  market owner was cited as the cause. This is just not good.

The issue remains the same as it was in 2015, if going by experience, I bet most of the buildings destroyed over a year ago are still there.

I hope that elders and government will work together and settle this once and for all. We have history, land disputes don’t go away on its own. Arungún will always use this as excuses to cause further damage which is unfair to local people and a big deterrent to any meaningful investment.

I am so happy to read from many young people from the area who want nothing but peace in both towns. O ti se se.


Categories: Family, Nigeria, Politics

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7 replies

  1. Dear Folakemi,

    Your knowledge, care and involvement in issues around your native local government area and even the wider Nigeria is not only amazing but impressive although it should not surprise that much because Ifẹ and Modakẹkẹindigenes seem to have their eyes – and minds – wide open enough to always understand socio-poiitical problems in Nigeria; I mean it.

    On a more serious note, it is very troubling how our people are still caught up in all these land issues. What can we say when peoples of the world are inviting others to buy landed properties in their countries to promote economic growth.

    We hope the state’s governor will do everything possible to nip this [sort of] new boiling point in the bud. Yesterday – and still not completely routed – it was Ifẹ/Modakẹkẹ, today, Ipetumodu and Aṣipa are beginning to boil; where will it be tomorrow? And by the way, these are all in Ọṣun State. May be the governor should have a panel look into the probable root causes of these land-based tussles that always seem to end up in blood-letting.

    Thanks for these illuminating insights and info.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Mrs Adenle. I am not sure why this comment ended up in my spam box, only seeing it now.

      I read somewhere that the court verdict on 2015 resolution of conflict was not acceptable by one party, hence this latest unrest. I truly hope the governor will help find a lasting solution to this, too close to home to sweep under the carpet.

      Fingers crossed on getting people to see the bigger picture.


  2. Hi Fola, if there are a lot of land disputes I’m wondering if the Chinese are buying up a lot of land there? That would really compound the problem.(I often hear rumours that the Chinese are buying a to of land in Africa)

    Liked by 1 person

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