Yoruba nation agitators and failed attempt 

A fortnight ago, some agitators who disguised as freedom fighters for the Yoruba nation made a fruitless attempt to take over Oyo state government secretariat in Ibadan. BAYO AGBOOLA reports on incidents thereafter with the wider condemnations.

The security situation at Oyo state government secretariat was recently brought under serious threat with the invasion of the secretariat and state House of Assembly by some persons who called themselves ‘soldiers’ of Yoruba Nation Agitators with the aim of pronouncing a Yoruba Sovereign State. 

Some of the civillian security men at the secretariat claimed the agitators sneaked in through one of the entrances and headed straight to the assembly complex to hoist their flag, a move vehemently resisted by the operatives attached to the secretariat.

Security agencies reports

Oyo state Police Command in a statement said the agitators in military camouflages came heavily armed in an unregistered silver coloured Nissan Urban Caravan Bus containing cutlasses, Pump Action Rifles, Cartridges, assorted charms and an O’dua Nation Agitation Flag, but said they were overpowered and completely suppressed by officers and men of the  command in collaboration with sister agencies in accordance with Standard Operating Procedure (SOP).

The command in a statement by its Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), SP Adewale Osifeso declared the act as criminal, unpatriotic and a clear case of treasonable felony which would be melted with adequate sanctions under the laws of the land.

The Nigeria Army in a statement by the director Army Public Relations, Major Gen Onyema Nwachukwu stated, “This is to notify the general public that sequel to the report of an attack on the state secretariat Agodi, Ibadan, Oyo State, troops promptly responded to the incident and had contact with adherents of the Yoruba nation dressed in foreign military camouflage with berets and armed with dangerous weapons in buses and motorbikes. Upon encountering our troops, the adherents engaged the troops in a shootout. Troops, utilising superior firepower, successfully subdued the attackers, who subsequently retreated in disarray.

“As a result, nine members of the irredentist group were apprehended, with Automatic Pump Action rifles and ammunitions recovered. Currently, troops are on the track of the fleeing adherents and the situation is under control. 

At a press briefing later, the state Police Commissioner, Adebola Hamzat shed more lights.

“On Saturday, 13/04/2024 at about 0855hrs, information was received that some men dressed in military-like camouflage, armed with pump action semi-automatic rifles, riding on motorcycles, were sighted moving into the main city from Olomi axis of Ibadan. At about 0915hrs, the hoodlums later known as Yoruba Nation Agitation Group were trailed to the state secretariat, spreading from the flyover to within the premises of the Governor’s Office, and hoisted their flag at the House of Assembly.

“With Police reinforcement, the miscreants were warned to dispatch. The agitators turned violent and opened fire on the Police and a detachment of Amotekun corps present. The Police responded and were joined by Operation Burst Patrol teams and personnel of other security agencies who suppressed the treason and dealt with the agitators in line with Standard Operating Procedure (SOP). A total of 21 Suspects were arrested, seven rifles made up of  five English Pump Action semi-automatic rifles, two wooden double-barreled guns and other items of exhibits as displayed, were recovered.

 “While declaring this act as criminal, unpatriotic and a clear case of treasonable felony and terrorism to be meted with adequate sanctions through purposeful prosecutions, the command re-assures the good people of Oyo state that it remains unwavering in the protection of lives and property as constitutionally required by the laws of the land.The continued existence of Nigeria as a sovereign indivisible entity is a task that must be accomplished. The labour of our heroes past shall never be in vain. Oyo State Police Command will be unrelenting in ensuring the continued united corporate existence of Nigeria as a country.

Condemnation galore

Since then, it has been condemnation galore as prominent groups and stakeholders in and across Yoruba land and beyond have rubbished the action of the agitators. 

The pan Yoruba socio-cultural and social political organisation Afenifere condemning the invasion in its entirety said those involved did not act in the interest of the Yorubas whom they alleged to be representing. It stressed that there is a need for a thorough investigations of the incident with a view to ensuring that perpetrators and those behind the scheme face the wrath of the law maximally so as to serve as deterrence to others.

In a statement by its national publicity secretary Comrade Jare Ajayi, it said, “There is no such thing as Democratic Republic of YorubaNation. Yoruba is an important component of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and as it’s well-known, there cannot be a sovereign republic within an extant sovereign republic. At the moment, Yoruba are indigenous in Ekiti, Lagos, Ogun, Ondo, Osun and Oyo States and in parts of Kwara, Kogi, Delta and Edo States of Nigeria, just as they are found in some other parts of the world.  There is a lot of disfunctionalities in the way Nigeria was being ran.This has not just began though as it is a cumulative thing inherited from previous administrations. But solutions to the shortcomings do not lie in violent divisions; rather, what we should strive for is how the perceived wrongs in the country can be corrected.

“Afenifere is of the strong view that President Bola Tinubu’s administration has taken steps to rejig Nigeria in a manner that would make the country one that every citizen would be proud of.

Afenifere strongly believes that when restructuring is effected with constituent entities allowed to be in control of their own affairs, Nigeria will become beneficial to everyone. This is why we are relentless in our agitation for restructuring.”

The apex body of Yoruba self-determination group, Ilana Omo Oodua Worldwide in a statement titled, ‘Important disclaimer’ signed by Yemi Akindele, general secretary said the agitators were hoodlums trying to hide under the foliage of the association and that the attack by the impostors was needless and uncalled for.

“The attention of Ilana Omo Oodua Worldwide has been drawn to the unfortunate incident of a needless attack on the Oyo State House of Assembly by hoodlums disguised as Yoruba Nation Agitators on the 13th of April, 2024. The entire membership of Ilana Omo Oodua Worldwide, the umbrella body representing all agitating groups under the leadership of the founder and chairman, Prof Banji Akintoye hereby denies any knowledge of such individuals and wishes to inform the public that the attackers are not members of Ilana Omo Oodua Worldwide.

“These criminal elements are not known to us and as such, are not part of any genuine agitating groups demanding freedom for the Yoruba people. Our movement is devoid of any form of violence or confrontation with any arm of the government. Self-determination is backed by international law and we are committed to achieving it without resorting to war. It is on record that all rallies organised by genuine agitating groups in Yoruba land have been conducted with proper notifications, peacefully and without any form of violence.

“We, therefore, condemn the needless attack on the assembly facility and urge the government to thoroughly investigate the incident, expose the sponsors/ collaborators and charge them with treasonable felony and terrorism. This action would serve as deterrent to others who might contemplate such a deplorable act in the future.”

On his part, the Yoruba nation activist,  Chief Sunday Adeyemo, Igboho also distanced himself from the invasion by armed men, stressing that he has no link or any involvement with the invasion  and that Gov Seyi Makinde and the state government should carry out thorough investigation to uncover the individuals responsible for the attack and their sponsors. 

The state government in its reaction described it as terrorism and that there are better ways of agitation other than craving for bloodshed, citing the conduct of Prof Akintoye, a well known Yoruba nation agitator as representing the quintessential wisdom and civilisation of the Yoruba race.

Agitators have murdered sleep – State government 

Reacting through the state commissioner for information, the government said, “Attempting to barge into the hallowed chambers of legislature and take it over with an arsenal of seven pump action submachine guns, over 700 live cartridges is clearly an act of terrorism. Sponsors of the invasion of the Governor’s Office and the state assembly have succeeded in leading the Yoruba nation agitators into serious trouble and have murdered sleep.

With the unfolding events, particularly the outbursts of the agitators, there is no doubt the invasion should be throughly investigated as getting into the roots would go a long way in sustaining the peace and stability of the South-west and Nigeria at large. All eyes are already on the government as to what would be the outcome of the condemnable and shameless attacks.”