Despite threats and heavy presence of men of the Nigeria Police, Army, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) and other security agencies in Lagos yesterday, agitators for the Yoruba Nation fulfilled their promise to hold a rally to press home their demands.
Security operatives had very early in the day enclosed parts of Lagos including Ikorodu, Ojota, Ajah, Abule Egba, Lekki, Agege, Ikeja, Maryland, Berger, Obalende, Yaba, Oshodi, Ogba and Lagos Island, among several other locations, which led to heavy traffic on major roads, but the agitators were not discouraged.
Self-proclaimed Sunday Adeyemo, popularly known as ‘Sunday Igboho’ activist and one of the vanguards of the Yoruba Nation agitation, was not present to lead the protesters, but as time ticked by, the number of agitators who had been hanging around the Gani Fawehinmi Park in Ojota increased. They sang unity songs as they huddled together.
“No going back,” “We want Oodua Nation,” were among the songs chanted continuously, as the protesters asked the Federal Government to stop “persecuting” Sunday ‘Igboho.’ Some fliers displayed were captioned, ‘Leave Igboho alone,’ ‘Igboho is not the problem, arrest terrorists and bandits.’
The supporters who also had banners, t-shirts, face caps and other promotional items bearing inscriptions requesting for Southwest’s exit, said they were tired of Nigeria and urged authorities to approve the exit of the Yoruba.
Apart from traders, youths, and women, traditionalists, dressed in white wrappers and costumes, also joined the protesters in the demand for a sovereign Yoruba State.
The Police, however, sprayed water cannons and fired teargas on the protesters to disperse them. This was as some of the protesters were arrested and kept waiting for Black Maria till they were moved to the command headquarters.
Meanwhile, a 14-year-old girl named Jumoke, who was recently employed as a salesgirl in a makeshift shop close to the rally venue, was allegedly killed by a stray bullet while preparing for the day.
A man in his 50s, who wants to remain anonymous, said: “Jumoke was loading yoghurt inside the freezer before she was hit by the bullet on the rib. She started working here two weeks ago. Her body was moved away by the police when this place became crowded.
“We learnt that the police claimed she died two days ago, but see the blood on the floor still fresh. Jumoke was killed by the police.”
Some other occupants claimed a stray bullet from some police officers chasing some protesters killed the girl.
The Lagos State Police Command has, however, debunked involvement in the death of the girl.
A statement by the Police Public Relations Officer, Mr Olumuyiwa Adejobi stated that the Command did not fire live bullets at the Ojota rally and that the corpse of the deceased was found wrapped and abandoned at a distance, far from the Ojota venue of the rally, behind MRS Filling Station, inward Maryland with dried blood stains implying that the corpse is not fresh.
“After a close look at the corpse, a wound suspected sustained from a sharp object was seen on it. The Command hereby wishes to debunk the rumour and state categorically that it is a calculated attempt to create confusion and fears in the minds of good people of Lagos State and the country at large.”
He also added that the news was untrue and mischievous, urging the public to ignore the news and return to their daily activities while investigation to unravel the incident commence immediately.
He stated that the Commissioner of Police, Lagos State, CP Hakeem Odumosu, therefore sympathizes with the family of the deceased and promised that a thorough investigation will be carried out.
Reacting to the police show of force, Ilana Omo Oodua (IOO), a group headed by well-known Historian and senator in the Second Republic, Emeritus Professor Banji Akintoye said it salutes Yoruba women who led the rally from the front, noting that, “the struggle continues.”
Maxwell Adeleye, the group’s Media Communications Secretary, said that the rally took place with thousands of supporters despite police harassment symbolises that the Yoruba People are not cowards.
“IOO salutes to the women who led the rally from the front and appreciates the gentlemen of the media who trooped out to cover the rally despite all inconveniences. We have held our rally, notwithstanding the attempts to ensure we do not come to Lagos. That the people came out in thousands is an indication that the Yoruba People are not cowards.
“This is the beginning. It is no retreat, no surrender. The struggle continues. We are marching forward in the struggle to liberate our land from the shackles of oppression and intimidation.”
Residents and indigenes of the Igangan and Ibarapa area of Oyo State also yesterday publicly announced that they were behind the Yoruba Nation activist, Sunday Adeyemo.
In a communique by the President of Igangan Development Advocates (IDA), Wale Oladokun, the group convicted the attacks on Adeyemo’s house.
The group stated that the attack was “nothing short of a clear indication of the intentions of the Fulani long-harboured, Nigeria-wide conquest cum establishment of a Nigeria-wide caliphate, which has now obviously reached their maturation stages, one of which is the absolute hegemonic power-play of the delusional tribe warped with superiority complex which can no longer be covertly kept.”
It added: “An injury to one, is an injury to all and by similitude, an injury to our hero, is an injury to us all. Ibarapa Youths unite with Igboho to declare that we are now, more than ever before, resolutely committed to the worthy resolution of enthroning an era of self-redefinition, ethnic equality, justice and Fairplay by resisting all the enslavement agenda and ruthless acts of bigotry being openly enforced by the government of the day on those it figures as second and third-class citizens of this country.”
I am Akinleu Toyin Comfort, a freelancer from Nigeria, I love to write and i love reading novels.