April 14, 2024

Commotion in Ibadan as ‘Yoruba Nation’ gunmen try to seize Oyo Gov’s Office, state Assembly

Yoruba Nation

*We are organised people – Woman in video

…identifies mastermind

*Akintoye, Sunday Igboho disown her

*Police arrest 18

By Laolu Elijah & Philip Osunsami

No fewer than 18 suspected agitators of the Yoruba Nation who attempted to seize Oyo House of Assembly located a few metres away from Oyo State Government Secretariat, yesterday, were arrested by the police.

The masked men, as gathered, dressed in Army camouflage and armed with rifles, occupied strategic points in the Secretariat.

While some of them manned the entrance of the Governor’s Office, the rest were reportedly seen at the entrance to the state House of Assembly’s gate and the main entrance.

The situation sent shock waves across the entire area as security operatives on duty at the Secretariat fired tear gas canisters to disperse them while some of them were arrested.

Officers of the state Police Command and other anti-crime agencies stormed the Secretariat in numerous patrol vans. Sporadic gunshots rent the air sending panic to residents around the axis.

Motorists plying the route made a detour as other road users scampered to safety. On the other hand, road users en route to the Secretariat were diverted along Customs Junction as the Secretariat-Queen Elizabeth Road was cut off to traffic.
It was gathered that efforts of the Executive Assistant to the Governor on Security, CP Sunday Odukoya (retd), to calm the situation upon sighting the masked men were futile as they insisted on hoisting their flag in the Secretariat.

However, the arrival of soldiers from 2 Division of the Nigerian Army about an hour later changed the narrative as they stormed the vicinity with some of the agitators at the entrance gate taking to their heels. The stern-looking officers were said to have gone after the masked agitators.

Meanwhile, the main entrance of the state Secretariat had been shut. Shop owners, businesses and residents around Bodija, Ikolaba, en route to Awolowo, were said to have quickly locked up their shops as some who were about to open for the day’s business turned back.

Organised people-Mastermind’s spokesperson speaks in video

In a related development, a middle-aged woman, Modupe Onitiri-Abiola, who introduced herself as widow of late Moshood Kashimawo Abiola, presumed winner of the 1993 presidential election in a video, who purportedly spoke on the incident, said she was speaking on behalf of someone.

Speaking in Yoruba in a white blouse and a white headgear, she said: “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 to stay. Yoruba, today, April 12, 2024, begins as a sovereign nation and will operate as a country.”

Akintoye, Sunday Igboho disown attack

Some notable Yoruba Nation proponents, including Professor Banji Akintoye and Sunday Adeyemo, better known as Igboho, last night, dissociated themselves from the woman and the group that invaded the Secretariat.

When contacted to know their involvement in the invasion, the duo said they were not aware of such incident and didn’t give anyone the approval to carry out such an act.

Akintoye, however, identified one Modupe Onitiri Abiola, one of the wives of the late MKO Abiola, to have been the mastermind behind the invasion, denying that the invaders were fighting for the interest of the Yoruba.

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 learnt they are engaged in some sort of insanity in Ibadan, 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 Yoruba in Nigeria. That is what Onitiri and the people who are behind them, who we now know have been working with the Fulani 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 am 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.”

Reacting to the development, Igboho, on his part, said he would never be involved in such an act, stressing that anytime he intends to engage in any struggle, he ensures that important stakeholders are carried along.

Igboho 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 barrack or Police station, I know nothing about it and I am not part of it.”

‘Criminal, unpatriotic act’

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

He said: “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 on concert with sister security agencies who acted in swift response to intelligence gathered by Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) to the situation.

“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 encourages 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.”

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