Igboho, Yoruba groups dare Buhari’s government

•We will hold Lagos mega rally today Igboho •Police must rein in hoodlums —Professor Akintoye’s group •We won’t allow any rally - Police

Igboho, Yoruba groups dare Buhari’s government
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TWENTY-FOUR hours after he was declared wanted by federal authorities, leading Yoruba Nation agitator, Sunday Adeyemo, popularly known as Sunday Igboho, has said the Yoruba Nation rally planned for today in Lagos would go on.

The sensitisation rally, put together by Ilana Omo Oodua (IOO), led by Second Republic senator and emeritus professor, Banji Akintoye, had held in five other states of the South West. IOO, the umbrella body for Yoruba self-determination groups, in a statement on Friday, said the rally would go on as planned despite the avowed official opposition to the gathering which is expected to be held at Gani Fawehinmi Freedom Park, Ojota.

After Thursday’s bloody raid on Adeyemo’s Ibadan, Oyo State residence by officials of the State Security Service (SSS), he was deemed to be on the run and consequently declared wanted. Adeyemo, who has acquired the reputation of a freedom fighter, briefly cancelled his appearance on Thursday in an interview with the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) but returned to the social media same day to confirm his participation in today’s rally.

In a Facebook live broadcast, Adeyemo, through his media aide, Olayomi Koiki, said all was set for the imminent faceoff with the nation’s security.

He said: “I can still confirm officially that the Lagos rally, regardless of whatever news or rumours you have been listening to from different outlets, will go as planned.

“The 3rd of July mega rally will go as planned. All arrangements for the rally have been concluded and nothing has changed.

“I have spoken to the organisers, nothing has changed so far, 3rd of July, from exactly 9.00 a.m.”

There are fears that a forcible pick-up of Igboho by security agents today in the course of the rally could further ignite the already tense atmosphere around the self-determination agenda. The organisers, however, are confident that the rally would hold successfully, charging the Lagos State government and the state police command to do the needful for the success of the exercise, instead of standing against it.

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In a statement by its Communications Manager, Mr Maxwell Adeleye, the IOO said: “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 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 that such does not happen like it didn’t happen in Ekiti, Ondo, Osun, Oyo and Ogun states respectively where we have 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.”

The group also disclosed that it had written the Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Mr Hakeem Odumosu, and copied same to the state governor, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu.

The letter, signed by IOO’s General Secretary and Legal Adviser, George Akinola and Olasupo Ojo respectively, urged the state police command to ensure that the rally is peaceful, orderly and not hijacked by hoodlums as earlier insinuated by the police.

On Thursday, Odumosu, flanked by the state Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr Gbenga Omotoso, vowed dire consequences for anyone who ventures out today for the rally. To prove he wasn’t bluffing, Odumosu rolled out security arsenal on Friday in what the command’s spokesperson, Muyiwa Adejobi, said was a collaborative show of force. In a statement signed by Adejobi, the Yoruba Nation agitators were again warned to steer clear of the state.

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The statement reads: “The Lagos State police command and other security agencies, today, 2nd of July, 2021, embarked on show of force around Lagos State to confirm their preparedness and commitment to continuous protection of lives and property of the good people of Lagos State and send a warning signal to the organisers of the said mega rally or any group of persons planning to stage any rally or procession in the state despite the warnings issued during the joint press briefing by the Commissioner of Police, Lagos State, CP Hakeem Odumosu and the Honourable Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Lagos State, Mr Gbenga Omotoso on Thursday, 1st of July, 2021, at the Press Centre, State Secretariat, Alausa, Ikeja.

“The command and the government of Lagos State had warned the organisers of the planned Oodua Republic Mega Rally, scheduled for Saturday, 3rd July, 2021, at Gani Fawehinmi Freedom Park, Ojota, Lagos, to steer clear of Lagos State, considering the available intelligence reports on the planned rally and to forestall any breakdown of law and order.

“The command and other security agencies, including the Nigerian Army, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, Federal Road Safety Corps and Department of State Services have, however, put measures in place to prevent any act of lawlessness, oppression and intimidation, of any kind in the state on the said date, 3rd July, 2021 and beyond as Lagos State cannot afford to record and experience the violence orchestrated by some individuals during the 2020 EndSARS protest that led to massive destruction of lives and property in the state.

“The command reiterates its stance that anyone caught participating or facilitating the so-called mega rally in Lagos State will be dealt with within the ambits of the law.”

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