Ijaw leaders in Lagos have taken steps to douse the apprehension arising from reports of criminal activities linked to alleged militants from the Niger Delta.
They say some communities in Lagos and Ogun states have been attacked by either armed robbers, pipeline vandals or kidnappers with accusing fingers pointed at militants.
A Yoruba youth group recently threatened reprisal attack on Ijaw indigenes resident in Lagos and other South West states.
Since the threat was issued, tension had heightened in areas with high population of the Ijaw and other Niger Delta indigenes.
Former president of the Izon Community Lagos, Mr. Regent Youmor, in a press release on Thursday, said leadership of the Yoruba nation at various levels are being contacted to address the situation in order to douse the tension.
“We are seriously worried about the spate of criminal activities and the colouration it is given in the media. The Izon community in Lagos is not taking the media reports and the feedback we get lightly.
“We are ready to collaborate with our Yoruba brothers and leaders as well as security agencies to ensure that criminals masquerading as militants are fished out and dealt with according to the laws of the land.
“We however frown at a situation where a particular ethnic group appears targeted for negative and biased reportage in the media. We are a peaceful and peace-loving people, who abhor all forms of criminality whether in Lagos or anywhere else,” said Youmor, who is also vice chairman of the Police Community Relations Committee (PCRC) in Ajeromi Ifelodun Local Government Area of the state.
He disclosed that a friendly/unity football match to cement the relationship between the Ijaw and their hosts is to hold on Saturday, August 6 in Lagos.
“Football, like any other sport, is a unifying force. We want to use this friendly game to foster better relationship with the Yoruba, who have been very accommodating and hospitable. We expect that it will be an annual event. Our leaders in Lagos that are in support of this initiative will host their Yoruba and non-Yoruba friends and associates on that day,” he said.