THE Oodua Peoples Congress (OPC), on Sunday, told traditional rulers, especially those in South-West Nigeria, to stand by the Yoruba rights activist Sunday Adeyemo in his current travails.
The OPC said that Adeyemo, also known as Sunday Ighoho, was believed to be at the forefront of fighting for the rights of the Yoruba people.
The Yoruba group, in a statement issued by its Publicity Secretary Barrister Yinka Oguntimehin, noted that Igboho had been peaceful in his approach towards his demands for secession, and his attempted repatriation should be discarded.
The group warned the Federal Government against clamping down on agitators for self-determination, stressing that such could result in a more serious national crisis.
This is coming after an attempted arrest of Adeyemo in his Oyo residence by the State Security Service(SSS), including his arrest and ongoing prosecution at the neighbouring Benin Republic.
It could be recalled that during the raid, two persons were killed by the SSS. Arrests were also made while some personal belongings such as cash were also taken by the secret police. These were later declared by the security outfit.
Since the incident, the Yoruba nation agitators have continued to make their demands public with support from notable Yoruba leaders such as Ayo Adebanjo.
The Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi, also recently conveyed a meeting to deliberate on Igboho’s arrest. The meeting had in attendance, prominent Nigerians from the South-West extraction.
On July 23, Adebanjo blamed Igboho’s agitation on President Muhammadu Buhari’s failure to protect the people killed by armed herders. Adebanjo is the leader of the Yoruba socio-political group, Afenifere.
“It is because of the failure of Buhari to protect lives and property in his area,” Adebanjo stated. “The Fulani people there are raping, kidnapping, and depriving the farmers of their farmland. They killed his uncle who came all the way from America to establish a farm. They destroyed the farm and killed him.”
“They kidnapped the monarch in the area, the children and raped the women. He rose in retaliation because neither the federal nor the state government came to their aid to arrest or stop the culprit. That is the action that caused the reaction of Igboho,” Adebanjo added.
Loud silence from South-West governors
No official response had come from each of the South-West governors until yesterday, July 24, when the Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu spoke.
He announced that people had been working behind the scene on Igboho’s arrest.”These are very difficult times for all of us.
“I can assure you that people are working behind the scenes. On occasions like this, it is not by how many press people you call. I am aware that a lot of people have responses that they are doing quietly and privately. It does not have to be a public conversation,” the governor said.
Meanwhile, the OPC decried actions of the current administration stating that “…the use and application of force on self-determination agitators has only justified Federal Government’s lack of respect for human rights and intolerance to the views of others.”
The group criticised the maltreatment of Igboho in Nigeria and also in Cotonou, describing it as very unpleasant, insisting that Federal Government must know that the citizens had rights and such rights should be protected under the law.
“Unfolding events have shown that there are lapses in the way the FG handles cases of self-determination agitators like Sunday Igboho, and I will like to state it clearly that the FG must desist from clamping down on self-determination agitators because such move can only fuel national crisis,” Oguntimehin warned.
Igboho’s case has been adjourned to Monday, July 26, at the Cour De’appal Dec Cotonou, Benin Republic.