*Say bandits blocking vehicles bringing foodstuff from North to South out for war
*Nothing should happen to Igboho – Oodua youths
By Dayo Johnson and Dapo Akinrefon
The Southern and Middle Belt Leaders Forum, SMBLF, yesterday, condemned the alleged attempted arrest of Yoruba rights activist, Mr Sunday Adeyemo, alias Sunday Igboho, in Ibadan, Oyo State by a combined team of security forces.
It explained that people like Boko Haram leader, Shekau, and Islamic cleric, Sheikh Ahmad Abubakar Gumi, among others, should be under security scrutiny and not Igboho.
Gumi has, of late, been mediating between government and bandits terrorising some northern states. Igboho was said to be on his way to Lagos for a meeting with Chief Ayo Adebanjo, Afenifere leader, when the attempted arrest happened. .
The forum also expressed worry over alleged moves by bandits, to turn vehicles bringing foodstuff from the North to the South back in some unhidden blockage, saying it was suggestive of war measures.
In a statement by Mr. Yinka Odumakin (South West), Chief Guy Ikokwu (South East), Senator Bassey Henshaw (South South) and Dr. Isuwa Dogo (Middle Belt), the forum urged President Muhammadu Buhari to show that he is still the leader of a united Nigeria.
The statement reads: “The Southern and Middle Belt Leaders Forum (SMBLF) condemns the attempted arrest of Yoruba rights activist, Mr Sunday Igboho, in Ibadan (on Friday) by a combined team of security forces.
“Igboho was on his way to Lagos for a scheduled meeting with one of our leaders, Chief Ayo Adebanjo, when the skirmish happened.
“We have noticed the media denial by the DSS of its involvement in the dastardly operation in the atmosphere of deregulated terror going on in a supposed democratic environment.
“It came as an embarrassing thing that as the show of shame was going on, the president was defending not cracking down on bandits because he is trying to avoid casualties.
“That is an admission of the soft care for bandits by the government and pro-bandit supporters who have been poking their fingers in the faces of non-bandit Nigerians.
“The president wasn’t aware of such caution in using maximum force against ENDSARS which they celebrated in Kaduna.
“It is also a demonstration of two sets of rules in the country, one for Fulani bandits and another for non-Fulani communities who are being treated like conquered people.
“If there is still serious authority in Nigeria, it is people like Shekau, Gumi and troublers of Nigeria who should be under security scrutiny now and not those who have committed no offence known to law outside raising their voices against Fulani genocide going on across Nigeria.
“We somehow feel it’s not too late to persuade Buhari to show that he is still the President of a united Nigeria by changing gear to run an inclusive country with same rules of engagement for all nationalities to restore confidence in the system.
“It has also come to our notice how bandits in the north are turning vehicles bringing foodstuff to the South back in some unhidden blockage suggestive of war measures.
“We just hope they know the implication if Southern communities for I starting to block fuel products for instance from going to the north and it’s attendant implications. They should be careful of what they are throwing as they don’t know what their opponents are holding.
“We appreciate the noble intervention of the Middle Belt Forum and their sense of responsibility in condemning this despicable measure.”
‘Nothing must happen to Igboho’
Meanwhile, Yoruba youths under the aegis of Oodua Youth Coalition, OYC, have warned that nothing must happen to Igboho.
They declared: “Yoruba leaders will be held responsible if anything happens to Igboho. A statement by its President, Tayo Oluyi Akintade, said that “any attempt to harass, abduct, arrest or kill Igboho would be fully resisted”.
They berated the security agencies making attempt to arrest the Yoruba freedom fighter while ignoring bandits and their supporters who have continued to dare the Nigerian state.
Their statement read, “We saw videos of the attacks on Chief Sunday Igboho by the Nigerian security agents and we at Oodua Youth Coalition (OYC), a body of young Yoruba people both home and abroad, are miffed that the Nigerian state abandoned abducted pupils, missing persons, terrorized people and bereaved communities to their fates while chasing shadows. “Just days ago, we read that over 300 girls from a boarding college in Zamfara were whisked away by terrorists in broad daylight to an unknown place. “Earlier, hundreds of girls were also abducted in Niger State and were easily moved out of town to their hideouts.
“There was also the attack on a Katsina school where boys were kidnapped and later released after non-state actors ‘intervened’. The list is endless.
“It is, therefore, unacceptable that the government, which should spend fortune on intelligence gathering and nailing these criminals, are only out for individuals and citizens who have decided to protect their people”.