News

April 13, 2024

Photos: 20 arrested over invasion of Oyo Assembly

20 arrested over invasion of Oyo Assembly

By Laolu Elijah & Philip Osunsami Ibadan

No fewer than 20 men, who claimed to be Yoruba nation agitators, were arrested on Saturday when they attempted to seize the Oyo House of Assembly complex.

The masked men were dressed in Army camouflage and armed with rifles. They took strategic positions at the Secretariat.

While some of them manned the entrance of the governor’s office, the rest were seen at the entrance to the State House of Assembly gate and the main entrance, among others.

The situation sent shocks across the entire area. Also, the security operatives on duty at the secretariat had fired tear gas canisters to disperse them.

Officers of the state Police Command and other anti-crime agencies stormed the entrance to the Secretariat in numerous patrol vans.

Sporadic gunshots rent the air sending panic among residents around the axis.

Motorists plying the route were said to have made a detour as many other road users scampered to safety. Road users en route to secretariat were diverted along Customs Junction as the Secretariat-Queen Elizabeth Road had been cut off traffic.

Soldiers swoop in

It was gathered that the efforts of the Executive Assistant to the Governor on Security, CP Sunday Odukoya (retired) to calm the situation upon the sighting the masked men were futile. They insisted on hoisting their flag in the Secretariat.

However, the arrival of troops from the 2 Division of the Nigerian Army about an hour later was said to have changed the narrative. They stormed the area and some of the agitators at the entrance gate took to their heels.

The hostile and stern-looking officers swooped in and went after the masked agitators. The main entrance of the state Secretariat was shut.

Shop owners, businesses and residents around Bodija, Ikolaba, en route to Awolowo were said to have quickly locked up their shops and doors. Others that were about to open for the day business turned back.

Modupe Onitiri Abiola

Meanwhile, a middle-aged woman, Modupe Onitiri Abiola, in a video said she was speaking on behalf of someone.

She introduced herself as the widow of late Moshood Kashimawo Olawale Abiola, the presumed winner of the 1993 presidential election cancelled by the then Military President, Ibrahim Babangida.

The woman, who spoke in Yoruba, was clad in a white blouse with a white headgear.

Her words: “He is a youth. How many people will want to dare what he’s trying to do? And he has made the sacrifice that he would do it. He said he would never contest any election and lead as an acting head.

“We are organised people, we are sovereign people and we will do things accordingly. We have decided to leave Nigeria and we have left since November 2022.

“We are declaring this day that we are no longer part of this country. With the awesome power that God used to create the sky and seven clouds, moon and stars. I, Modupe Onitiri Abiola, proclaim the Democratic Republic of Yoruba.

“Yoruba has become a Nation without any opposition. It is so, it is a declaration that God has caused us to stay.

“Yoruba today, 12 April 2024 begins as a sovereign nation; and will operate as a country.

It’s lunatic fringe — Akintoye

Meanwhile, some notable Yoruba nation proponents have dissociated themselves from the woman.

Professor Banji Akintoye and Sunday Adeyemo aka Igboho, have distanced themselves from the group that invaded the Oyo State Government Secretariat, Agodi, Ibadan on Saturday.

The duo were contacted to know their involvement in the invasion. But they said they were not aware of the action.

However, Professor Akintoye picked out one Modupe Onitiri Abiola to have been the mastermind behind the invasion.

He denied that the invaders were fighting for the interest of the Yoruba, but rather against the Yoruba people in their actions and conduct.

He said information available to him suggests that the group had earlier appointed an interim government for the Yoruba Nation.

They had chosen to install the same by hosting their flag and taking over the government of the region from the Oyo State secretariat. Hence, the deployment of their men in military camouflage.

Prof Akintoye said: “I am not connected, I have no contact and I do not know anything about Dupe Onitiri and her group. I don’t know what they are doing.

“I learned they are engaged in some sort of insanity in Ibadan. But that is entirely they. And it has nothing to do with me or people like Chief Sunday Igboho, who are working with me.

“We are the authentic Yoruba Nation Movement. We are not connected or working with any Fulani to suppress the Yorubas in Nigeria.

“That is what Onitiri and the people who are behind them, who we now know have been working with the Fulanis since the days of Babangida and Abacha, time are doing.

“We are the people fighting for Yoruba Nation freedom and we will win the war peacefully and in an orderly manner.

“They are not struggling for the Yoruba Nation, they are struggling against the Yoruba Nation. I was not aware of the situation that happened in Ibadan until I was informed by Chief Sunday Igboho this morning.

“I am not part of it. They are not from us. They are followers of Onitiri. It is a lunatic fringe. We in this struggle won’t act in such a manner.”

Igboho reacts

In his reaction, Sunday Igboho said he will never be involved in such madness.

He stressed that anytime he wants to engage in any struggle, he will always ensure that important stakeholders are carried along and also inform the public of the information of any of his engagements.

He said: “I know nothing about it. I am not even aware of those behind it. If I am going to do anything, either for early or any struggle for Yoruba Nation, you know we will inform people ahead.

“We will announce our plans and all our leaders and other stakeholders will also be involved and we will collaborate to do so.

“So, anything they now do on their own, either they attack the government or military barracks or Police station, I know nothing about it and I am not part of it.”

Dr Victor Taiwo, from the Yoruba Council of Elders, said: “The person saying this should be taken to a psychiatric hospital for examination.

“We don’t know her. She just came from the blues and started disorganising us.”

Police arrest 20 suspects

The State Police Public Relations Officer, SP Adewale Osifeso, disclosed no fewer than 18 suspects have been arrested in connection with the incident.

Osifeso stated that the suspects who dressed in military camouflage on 13/04/2024 at about 09:15hrs stormed the state government Secretariat to forcefully take over.

They disclosed that items recovered from the suspects include an unregistered Silver-coloured Nissan Urban Caravan Bus containing cutlasses, pump action rifles, cartridges, assorted charms and an O’dua Nation agitation flag.

Motorcycles and other items were recovered, including three Pump Action Guns, 291 life Cartridges, two expended cartridges, 67 cutlasses, five bulletproof vests, six pairs of boots, 10 megaphones, three Oodua style beret caps, seven belts, 11 Oodua Nation Army Camouflage Uniforms, one unregistered Nissan Urban Caravan Bus and three TVS motorcycles.

“Today Saturday 13/04/2024 at about 0915hrs the valiant and eagle-eyed operatives of the Oyo State Police Command in concert with some members of its sister-agencies, successfully thwarted an attempt by hoodlums suspected to be members of the ‘‘Yoruba Nation Agitation Group’’ driven by a separatist agenda, in an attempt to forcefully takeover the Oyo State Government Secretariat, Agodi-Ibadan.

“The suspects, who were 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.

“Thankfully, they were overpowered and completely suppressed by Officers and Men of the Command in concert with sister security agencies who acted in swift response to intelligence gathered by Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) to the situation.

Arms, ammunition recovered

“In all, 20 suspects have been arrested in possession of; (3) Three Pump Action Guns, (291)Two Hundred and Ninety-One life Cartridges, (2) Two Expended Cartridges, (67) Sixty-Seven Cutlasses, (5) Five Bullet Proof Vest, (6) Six Pair of Boots, (10) Ten Megaphone (Public Address System),(3) Three Oodua Styles Beret Caps, (7) Seven Belts, (11) Eleven Oodua Nation Army Camouflage Uniforms, (1) One Unregistered Nissan Urban Caravan Bus and (3) Three TVS Motor Motorcycles.

“While declaring this act as criminal, unpatriotic and a clear case of treasonable felony & terrorism which would be melted with adequate sanctions under the laws of the land, the Command assures the good citizens of Oyo State that it remains unwavering to the protection of their lives and property.

“Sequel to the above, the Commissioner of Police has detailed a highly powered investigation team led by the Deputy Commissioner of Police in charge of the State Criminal Investigation Department to demystify circumstances surrounding the incident and as well expand the network of arrests through painstaking intelligence-driven investigation.

“The Oyo State Police Command enjoins residents to be generous with information and cooperate with the Command in a bid to rid the State of Criminal elements whose intent is to propagate their separatist agenda.”

SP Osifeso however added that more updates would be provided accordingly in due time while urging the Oyo public to speak up promptly anything suspicious activities were detected around them to help the Police act swiftly and accordingly.

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