Following what has been described as “insensitive and untimely,” the statement of the Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Hakeem Odumosu, on IPOB as a threat, concerned groups have lamented the possibility of the statement being misinterpreted as an Igbo plot against Lagos and Yoruba people.
They described Odumosu’s statement as “dangerous, given the fragile nature of Nigeria.”
On Monday, the Lagos police boss, in a statement, was quoted to have said the police is investigating threats from IPOB and Oodua Republic agitators.
Reacting, a statement signed by nine Yoruba movement groups, and made available to Vanguard, backed the police to carry out their duties, but berated the decision to publicly declare IPOB as a threat.
The concerned groups highlighted their 12 points below:
1) The attention of Pan Yoruba groups has been drawn to reports by the Nigerian Police Force, NPF that Indigenous Peoples of Biafra, (IPOB-IGBO) are planning to attack Lagos. The Lagos State Commissioner Odumosu made the allegation in Lagos today. He speaks for the police high command in Abuja.
2) While we cherish the responsibility of the police to do their work, we are concerned about the public declaration of the alleged IPOB plans to attack Lagos by the Nigerian Police
3) We are worried that since the police already claimed to be in possession of what appears to be a confidential information, the proper thing would have been to discreetly go after the IPOB members to arrest them unless the police is not sure of its information.
4) The police statement carries the possibility of being misinterpreted as an Igbo plot against Lagos and Yoruba people. This is dangerous given the fragile nature of Nigeria.
5) We are deeply concerned that the Police publicly declared allegations tempts the prospect of setting Yoruba in the South West against Igbos. This is very unfortunate at a time that state institutions are increasingly being turned to instruments for pursuing primordial ethnic interests. The Yoruba will work never to allow this to happen
6) We are concerned that terrorists and armed herdsmen of Fulani extraction have openly been attacking, kidnapping, raping and killing Yoruba people in the South West but at no time did the police call a press conference to announce such plan after before or after each horrendous killings. There was also never a time the police linked such attacks to any ethnic group.
7) Only recently, Yoruba in Mile 2 were attacked by these people, the police did not make any attempt to speak about the ethnic identity of the perpetrators yet we know they are largely from a section in the North.
8) We are concerned that the police allegation risks setting a greater danger of ethnic conflict between Igbo and Yoruba people, conscious that this will benefit a certain group who think setting Igbo against Yoruba will meet the objective of scuttling the search for peaceful self determination by the two great civilisations
9) We urge the police not to allow themselves to be used by the desperate Caliphate whose agelong dream is to divide the South and set the people against each other for its own narrow gains
10) We urge Yoruba people to ignore the conscious attempts to cause ethnic conflict between Igbo and Yoruba at this time that both ethnic groups need each other.
11) The police should avoid ethnic profiling. It is dangerous. The Pan Yoruba groups assure of our collective desire to sustain peaceful coexistence between Igbo and Yoruba and avoid any slide into ethnic conflict, an ill wind that blows no one any good. To this end, we shall set up a Committee to work out a platform to sustain ethnic harmony in Lagos.
12) On police plan to attack agitators for Yoruba self determination, We urge the police have respect for internation laws and should signify the basic democratic principle which is the right of a people to debate their political and economic future.
1) Femi Ajibola Oodua Nationalist Coalition, ONAC
2) Dr Kunle Oshodi, Agbekoya
3) Alhaji Taofik Adeyemi, Oodua Peoples Congress, OPC (Reformed)
4) Chief Diran Obalola Oodua Liberation Movement, OLM
5) Mr Femi Agbana Yoruba World Congress, (YWC-Lagos State Chapter)
6) Mr Rasaq Arogundade, Oodua Peoples Congress, (OPC-Reformed)
7) Mrs Eunice Okunola, Oodua Women Coalition, (OWC)
8) Pastor Goke Otunla, Network for Yoruba Alliance, (NENA)
9) Ahmed Korede Apapo Oodua Koya, (AOKOYA)
Meanwhile, Nnamdi Kanu, through the Media and Publicity Secretary of IPOB, Emma Powerful, has urged the public to disregard Odumosu’s pronouncement, saying that is an intention to fuel division between Yorubas and the Igbos, “It won’t work. This is not 1967,” he said.