Group accuses YWC of mobilising ESN, militants, others for violent protests

A coalition under the aegis of the Yoruba Appraisal Forum (YAF) has raised the alarm over alleged plan by a group, Yoruba World Congress (YWC), to instigate violence and cause chaos in Nigeria with a view to bringing down the country and the incumbent administration of President Muhammadu Buhari.

YAF alleged that the YWC, in concert with the Eastern Security Network (ESN), the armed unit of the outlawed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB); some aggrieved Niger Delta militants and members of some militia groups in Benue and Plateau states had concluded plans to instigate violence across the country with the objective of effecting a violent change of government in Nigeria, immediately after the 76th United Nations General Assembly [UNGA] meeting, which begins tomorrow in New York, United States of America.

The Forum in a statement released Monday in Abuja, by its National Coordinator, Adeshina Animashaun, said the alleged plan by the YWC to storm the opening session of the UNGA by the Yoruba nation agitators, who had plans to bombard the UN with “fabricated documents and documentaries,” was being coordinated by the leader of the Ilana Omo Oodua, Prof Banji Akintoye.

YAF had in July petitioned the United Nations, its five permanent members, the European Union (EU), the African Union (AU) and other powerful countries across the world over a plan by the Akintoye-led Ilana Omo Oodua, to present a petition against the Nigerian government at the 76th General Assembly of the UN.

The Forum, which in the petition urged the UN and the five Super Power countries to bar Ilana Omo Oodua and its allies from attending the UNGA to present its petition against the Federal Government of Nigeria, had stated that “the ultimate objective of this plan by the group is to achieve nothing salutary or beneficial to the people of Nigeria but to further their evil design to undermine and bring down the country and the incumbent administration of President Muhammadu Buhari, out of sheer malice over the forthcoming 2023 general elections.”

Ilana Omo Oodua had earlier announced plans to attend the 76th UNGA scheduled for September to present a petition to the global body over its demand for a separate and independent Yoruba Nation.

But YAF, which is equally a coalition of Yoruba self-determination groups, had also alleged in its own petition to the UN, which was copied to the five Super Power countries, EU and AU that contrary to Ilana Omo Oodua’s claim that the UN General Assembly would be an opportunity to explain the rationale behind the Yoruba nation agitation to world leaders, the group’s plan “is to use the platform of this global body to get undeserved sympathy and secure support from unsuspecting countries across the world, which are largely uninformed about the true situation of things in Nigeria.”

YAF alleged that the YWC planned to submit some fabricated documents and other fake materials to the 74th UNGA holding in the US to discredit the President Buhari-led government and then return to the country to instigate violence and chaos.

The Forum claimed that ahead of their alleged plans, the YWC had already mobilised a number of self-determination and civil society groups contracted to initiate the planned violence and confrontation with the security agencies.

It stated that at their return from the UNGA meeting, the YWC, along with the armed groups collaborating with it, intended to engage in the kind of violence fashioned after the Arab Spring.

YAF accused the YWC and its allies of stockpiling arms and ammunition to execute its alleged plan to eventually confront the Federal Government in its bid to achieve its “evil objective” of breaking up the Nigerian state under the guise of fighting for an independent Yoruba Nation.

The Forum alleged that YWC and its allies “have snatched over 300 AK-47 rifles from military, police and para-military personnel they have attacked and killed across the country,” adding, “Those dangerous weapons are still in possession of these the non-state actors bent on destroying Nigeria. As at the last count, these dangerous groups, including Ilana Omo Oodua, have killed no fewer than 180 military men, 600 other para-military personnel, including policemen.”

The Forum said, “We are aware that these groups (YWC, Ilana Omo Oodua and allies) and individuals behind the recent violence in different parts of the South-West of Nigeria have a more sinister objective of destabilising the Nigerian nation for the selfish political end of those bankrolling them. They are only merely covering up their agenda with the cloak of fighting for Yoruba freedom and self-determination. Their plan now is to take their self-imposed agitation for independence and self-determination to the next level, which would involve outright widespread violence fashioned after what the IPOB/ESN are now doing in the South-East and South-South regions of Nigeria.

“It is very clear that the masterminds of this violence are bent on throwing Nigeria into total chaos to hasten the collapse of governments at both the state and Federal levels to enable them to execute their evil plans for Nigeria, ahead of the 2023 general elections.

“They are planning to take advantage of the current security challenges in the country to wreak further havoc, starting with the South-West and expecting to instigate reprisals against Southerners in the North of Nigeria with the ultimate objective of destabilising the country, just as their partner-in-crime, IPOB is currently doing in the South-East and South-South regions of this country.”

YAF further accused the YWC, Ilana Omo Oodua and their other allies of mobilising “their members in the South-West for the execution of the next phase of their so-called agitation for Yoruba independence and self-determination by engaging in more violent protests and bloody confrontation with government and security agents, all in an attempt to raise tension and create a violent atmosphere in the South-West to enable them to declare non-Yoruba living in the South-West of Nigeria persona non grata.”

Also chronicling the series of violence it alleged that the YWC, Ilana Omo Oodua and their allies had been involved in, YAF said, “The latest in this orgy of unnecessary violence being unleashed on innocent Nigerians by the Ilana Omo Oodua and its collaborators was on July 3, 2021, which erupted from a banned mega rally organised by the so-called Yoruba Nation agitators in Lagos, under the aegis of Ilana Omo Oodua. This violence claimed the life of a teenage girl. The group had defied police warnings and banning of the rally, which eventually turned violent. Members of the group had stormed the state to foment trouble, the police later confirmed.”

It, therefore, restated that the various countries also petitioned, the EU, AU and Amnesty International should “prevail on the UN Security Council to take careful appropriate and urgent steps to deal decisively with these elements who are bent on fomenting trouble in the South-West of Nigeria and the country at large. The UN should disregard and discountenance the disguised antics and plans of these shameless and unpatriotic self-styled freedom fighters under the aegis of the YWC, Ilana Omo Oodua and its cohorts.”

The Forum added that it’s imperative that the international community joins hands with the UN to support the “Nigeria Police and other security agencies to take appropriate actions against these unpatriotic elements to nip the YWC and Ilana Omo Oodua’s evil plans for Nigeria in the bud,” adding that they “must act now and waste no time in putting these hoodlums pretending as freedom fighters and Yoruba Nation agitators in the South-West of Nigeria in their proper places.”

YAF also taxed the international community “to assist Nigeria’s security agencies to unmask both the local and foreign sponsors of these agents of violence in our midst and punish them accordingly.”

YAF further warned that if prompt action is not taken against the YWC, Ilana Omo Oodua and their allies, “these unscrupulous and unpatriotic elements will throw the South-West region and Nigeria into an unprecedented wave of violence under the guise of fighting and agitating for Yoruba freedom, self-determination and independence.

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