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Showdown Looms In Lagos As Yoruba Nation Agitators Insist On Rally

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Yoruba nation agitators appear poised for a showdown with the Lagos State government and security agencies over today’s pro-Yoruba Nation rally scheduled to hold at the Ojota area in the state.

Despite police warning that no rally is allowed in the state on Saturday, the umbrella body of Yoruba Self-Determination Groups, Ilana Omo Oodua, has said that the rally scheduled to hold in Lagos State on Saturday will go on as scheduled.

Earlier, Hakeem Odumosu, the Commissioner of Police in Lagos at a media briefing held in Alausa, Ikeja, on Thursday said the rally will not be allowed to lock down the normal daily activities of the residents of Lagos.

“On no account will any actual or rumoured activity, including the planned mega rally, be allowed to lock down the state or hinder the normal daily activities of the good people of Lagos State.”

However, Ilana Omo Oodua, which is headed by a renowned historian, Emeritus Professor Banji Akintoye, in a statement yesterday titled, “Yoruba Nation’s Rally To Hold Tomorrow in Lagos – Ilana Omo Oodua … Writes Sanwoolu, Odumosu, says “It is the duty of Police to ensure the rally is not hijacked by hoodlums.”

The self-determination group said it had written a letter to CP Odumosu, and copied the Governor of Lagos State, Mr Babatunde Sanwo-Olu, to assure them that the rally will be peaceful, orderly and not hijacked by hoodlums as earlier insinuated by Police.

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“Our rally scheduled to hold on Saturday will still hold without any fear or intimidation and we promise to be peaceful like we have always been.

“We have been peaceful, orderly and lawful at everywhere we have visited, therefore, we call on the Lagos State Police Command to ensure that the rally is not hijacked by hoodlums.

“We are happy that the Police already know that hoodlums are likely to hijack the rally. Now, we call on the police to ensure such does not happen like it didn’t happen in Ekiti, Ondo, Osun, Oyo and Ogun States respectively where we’ve held our rallies.

“It is the duty of the Police to safeguard our peaceful demonstration and protect us. On our own part, we promise to cooperate with the police towards ensuring that the rally is peaceful and orderly.”

Also speaking yesterday on the planned rally, Yoruba rights activist, Sunday Adeyemo also known as Sunday Igboho said the rally will go ahead despite the order by the police.

Igboho, who spoke through Olayomi Koiki, his media aide said the police should be held liable if the rally turns violent.

He said, “I heard that the Commissioner of Police said no rally will hold, tell them to expect us. We will know who owns Lagos on Saturday between Yoruba people or Sanwo-Olu or police. We will all meet on Saturday during the rally.

“If everything will be ruined, let it be on Saturday. They have the choice of letting us have our protest peacefully or causing violent. Police should be held responsible for any violence.”

Reacting to the development, Prof. Itse Sagay (SAN), Chairman of the Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption (PACAC) said the Lagos State government and the security agencies may stop the rally if they feel the security of the country and people’s lives will be endangered.

Speaking with Saturday INDEPENDENT, Sagay said while the constitution permits rallies, the government can stop it if it will cause harm to people or lead to breach of security.

He said “As a country, we have a culture and constitution which permit rights of freedom, free speeches, rallies and so on. That aspect will definitely support Sunday Igboho’s attempt.

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“But we also have a superior provision which stated that if any of these exercise of rights is going to land the country in a position which is prejudicial to the health of the people of the country, to the security of the nation and other number of things along that line, then this exception will be superior and the exercise of that right can be stopped.

“So, it all depends on the perception of the authorities on the nature of the rally or the likely nature it is going to take. If they feel it is going to result in the breach of security, then they may not allow it to go ahead. But if they don’t feel that way, they may allow it to go ahead as it is allowed under the constitution,” he said.

Also yesterday, condemnation has continued to trail the attack on the home of Yoruba Nation agitator, Sunday Adeyemo aka Sunday Igboho in Ibadan, where two of his aides were killed.

The Oduduwa Worldwide, a Diaspora pro-Yoruba socio-cultural group, which rose from an emergency meeting on Friday, said the attacks will not deter Igboho from pursuing a just cause for the emancipation of his people.

President of the Oodua Worldwide, a global organisation with headquarters in Canada, Prince Adewale Julius Ojo, condemned the act saying it was “callous, oppressive, barbaric and smirks of obvious favouritism deliberately skewed to favour a section of the country against others.”

Ojo, who was of the opinion that Igboho was fighting a just course which should not attract the big stick wielded by the Federal Government, posited that self-determination agitation is a fundamental human right that should not be met with stiff resistance as being demonstrated by the Nigerian government.

He wondered why a section of the country has been terrorising the citizens of Nigeria unmolested while Igboho, who is carrying out a peaceful agitation would be the target of government.

“Reports have indicated that the gun totting men of the DSS, donned in military uniform, had killed two occupants in the building and whisked away others, including Igboho’s wife, to yet to be ascertained destination.

“This is an urgent response to avert a looming danger hovering around Nigeria, if swift, urgent steps are not taken to the right course. We wonder why known national tormentors like Sheik Gumi, Miyetti Allah and others are walking the streets of Nigeria unmolested while those on a popular struggle suddenly became objects of intimidation by our government.

“We make bold to say that we shall hold the Muhammadu Buhari-led administration down to this barbaric attack if nothing is done in record time to condemn the act and redresses made to assuage frayed nerves on this very dastardly act.

“And should there be no response to our request within 72 hours, this recent action will be taken as a declaration of war against our peace-loving people. A stitch in time can save more than nine,” Ojo warned.

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Also reacting, Yoruba diaspora socio-cultural organisation, Yoruba Global Council, (YGC) said the attack on the residence of Igboho is provocative, barbaric and deliberate act to suppress the growing agitation for a Yoruba nation.

In a statement issued by its spokesperson, Prof Lere Amusan on Friday, the group said with the DSS revealing it organised the attack under the guise of seeking out stockpiled arms, it may not be out of order to conclude that, considering the desperation with which the attack was staged, Sunday Igboho could as well been killed if found during the operation.

Registering that the reason given for the attack by the DSS was not convincing enough, YGC said ”it is baffling that herders who are known to be custodians of illegal arms even with Miyetti Allah its leadership known to government, are not accused of stockpiling arms, rather it is the peaceful Igboho government consider too dangerous and deserve such unwarranted, violent sting operation where lives were lost.”

”The attack on Igboho where lives were lost and many arrested, has exposed the fact that Nigeria is miles away from acceptable democratic norms,” even as it warned on what it said could be the dare consequences of the attack on the fragile peace in the country.

The group, while reaffirming its support for the agitation for a Yoruba nation, stressed that Igboho should not be seen as a threat by any system that is fair, sincere, progressive and democratic.

Describing the times as very challenging for the race, the group charged all Yoruba ”sons and daughters to come together at this crucial time, to demonstrate transparent unity that will send the ultimate signal, that securing Yoruba nation sovereignty is not negotiable.”

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