…Groups to present petition at 76th UN assembly
By Our Correspondents
Yoruba nation agitators in Cotonou, Benin Republic and Ibadan, Oyo state have held a peaceful demonstration calling for the release of Yoruba activist, Sunday Adeyemo (Igboho).
Similar protests were held in the United Kingdom.
The agitators protested outside the Supreme Court in Cotonou where it is believed that the extradition hearing was ongoing, while in Ibadan.
They also protested against the raid of Igboho’s residence by operatives of the Department of State Services and demanded release of the 12 aides arrested in Igboho’s house.
Igboho was arrested on Monday evening by security operatives in the Benin Republic after fleeing Nigeria to evade arrest by Department of State Security.
Igboho’s spokesperson, Olayomi Koiki, confirmed Wednesday’s protest, saying all supporters of the activist were enjoined to participate.
According to him, “Emergency, emergency, emergency; please, we beg all agitators to converge at the Chief Sunday Igboho’s House for a peaceful demonstration to show the world the kind of person he is as one of the conditions given for his release.
“Please, let’s all be at his house in Soka, Ibadan, before 12pm today. Thanks and God bless. Yoruba Nation now now now.”
Koiki had earlier said the Federal Government could not intimidate those agitating for the self-determination of the Yoruba Nation.
He also stated that he believed Igboho would get a proper representation in the court.
He made these known in a Facebook Live video on Wednesday morning as his principal spends the second night in a police cell in Cotonou, Benin Republic.
He said, “We are not going to allow the government to intimidate us. We are not going to allow the Federal Government and politicians to deceive us.
“We must remain strong and remain calm as we get freedom for Chief Sunday Igboho and the Yoruba race.”
Igboho was arrested while he tried to catch a flight to Germany with his wife.
The protesters demanded an independent nation of the Yoruba people as they expressed confidence in the Benin Republic justice system that Igboho would be freed.
The protesters debunked claims that Igboho had been freed, stressing that he is still in custody.
Some aggrieved youths and people sympathetic to the plights of Sunday Igboho, on Wednesday staged protest in major areas of Ibadan, were calling for his release.
The protesters took off from his house at Soka area of Ibadan, carrying placards of various inscriptions, calling for unconditional release of Igboho.
The protesters marched through some streets such as Felele, Sanyo and Challenge area, singing freedom songs for the activist’s release.
Our correspondent, who monitored the protest, reports that personnel of the Nigeria Police and DSS were seen in their patrol vehicles few distance, monitoring the protesters.
Some of the protesters that spoke with journalists, Yusuf Ajikobi; Oyedokun Abiodun; David Ajulo and Azeez Suleiman, pleaded with the Government of Republic of Benin and the Federal Government to release Igboho.
One of them, Ajikobi, said that Sunday Adeyemo is an activist, whose slogans are fairness, equity and justice.
“Igboho do not deserve to be treated like a criminal; so, government should let him have his freedom,” he said.
In his comments, Abiodun appealed to the traditional rulers and Yoruba leaders to rise up to the plights of Igboho, saying, “he (Igboho) is fighting for the course of the masses.”
Also, Ajulo and Suleiman urged the security operatives to do more in combating the security challenges facing the nation.
According to them, the problems created as a result of insecurity prompted Igboho and the likes to rise up in defence of their respective communities.
Meanwhile, a group clamouring for the independence of the Yoruba nation have vowed not to relent in their campaigns.
They recently revealed plans to present their case at the 76th United Nations General Assembly scheduled to hold in September.
Ilana Omo Oodua, the umbrella body of Yoruba self-determination groups, endorsed the petition by the Nigerian Indigenous Nationalities Alliance for Self-Determination (NINAS), urging the Nigerian Government to conduct a referendum.