By Adesina Wahab
The Yoruba Appraisal Forum (YAF) has 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 umbrella body of Yoruba self-determination groups, Ilana Omo Oodua, to present a petition against the Nigerian government at the 76th General Assembly of the UN.
YAF, 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.
According to the Forum, Ilana Omo Oodua’s endorsement of the recent petition by the Nigerian Indigenous Nationalities Alliance for Self-Determination (NINAS) urging the Nigerian Government to conduct a referendum, is only part of the strategy by the group to legitimise its plan for the violent dissolution of the Nigerian Federation.
Prof Banji-Akintoye-led Ilana Omo Oodua had recently announced its plan to attend the 76th UNGA scheduled for September to present a petition to the global organisation over its demand for a separate and independent Yoruba Nation.
But YAF, which is equally a coalition of Yoruba self-determination groups, alleged in its own petition to the UN, the five Super Power countries, EU and AU that contrary to the 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.”
The YAF petition signed by its National Coordinator, Adeshina Animashaun, and made available to newsmen in Lagos and Abuja, accused Ilana Omo Oodua of funding “the violent activities of the self-styled Yoruba Nation agitator, Sunday Igboho, currently undergoing trial in the Benin Republic for gun-running following his recent arrest at that country’s airport while attempting to flee.”
The Forum alleged that Ilana Omo Oodua “is merely using Igboho to destabilise Nigeria through his nefarious, unpatriotic and violent agitation for an independent Yoruba nation.”
It further accused the Ilana Omo Oodua of getting “foreign funding from some ignorant Nigerians in the Diaspora to fund its plots to “destabilise the current government and the Nigerian nation and eventually truncate the country’s democracy.”
YAF also expressed its displeasure with Ilana Omo Oodua and its allies for constituting “themselves to unrepentant critics of the current government through their frequent acerbic and destructive outbursts and attacks against the government, coupled with the violence they unleash on innocent Nigerian citizens, which have become their pastime.”
YAF’s petition to the UN further partly read, “As we stated recently, we are aware that this group (Ilana Omo Oodua) 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 is 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.”
The Forum also raised the alarm that Ilana Omo Oodua and its allies “have begun to mobilise 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 the violent atmosphere in the South-West to enable them to declare non-Yoruba living in the South-West of Nigeria, especially those of the Igbo and Hausa/ Fulani extractions, persona non-grata.”
YAF chronicled in the petition a series of violence it alleged that Ilana Omo Oodua and its allies had been involved in, saying, “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, urged the various countries also petitioned, the EU, AU and Amnesty International “to 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 Ilana Omo Oodua and its cohorts.”