Controversies are still trailing the forceful open of the Idiroko border in Ogun State, South West of Nigeria by some angry youths, who claimed to be part of the groups agitating for the self determination of the Yoruba to have Oduduwa Republic.
The youths in their hundreds while protesting to show the seriousness of their agitations, stormed the Idiroko border, which is one of the most active popular borders in the Southwest to the Benin Republic.
The youths who felt the closure of the border has been affecting the business activities of the people in Yoruba land, argued that the present Government of President MuhammaduBuhari closed the border, as part of the agenda of the North, to cripple the the economy òf the people in the the South west Nigeria, while business activities are still booming at the Nigerian borders in the North.
The federal govenment had since 2019 announced the closures of all the borders in Nigerìa, on the grounds of security, curbing illegal smuggling of goods to bring more revenue to the coffers of govenment and to streamline exportation and importations of goods through the land borders.
It was ordered that any goods that will be coming to Nigerìa should come through the seaports’ but the arguement of the Yoruba self determination youths was that the issue of the sea port was applicable to the South alone where there are ports and not the North where there are no ports and which they believed has made the closure one sided. They also believed that normal business activities are still going on at the Northern borders.
This they claimed, informed their resolve to forcefully opened the border, claiming that Yoruba Nation has come to stay and they can not watch their people suffer because the closure has grounded commercial activites at the South West borders.
It was observed that within the two days that the youths chased the customs and imigrationn officers away from their border posts, there were jubilation among the traders who claimed that they have suffered a lot, since the border was closed to commercial activites in 2019.
The traders in the area expressed joy as they appealed to the federal government to restore normalcy and restoration of business activities to the border towns.
However, their jubilation was short lived as the security operatives launched a severe attack to repel the protesting youths, who forcefully opened the border.
Although they were repelled at Idiroko, they informed journalists that the exercise would be a continuous one and they would from time to time, move from one border to the other in the South West. “Because Yoruba nation is no more part of Nigeria and we are ready for anything they want to do”.
One of those who believed that the federal govenment was not fair to the people of the South west, MrDeboAkingbade, said they were disappointed for the continued closure of the border because the IdirokoSeme border used to serve people from Togo Benin añd Ghana. He argued that because of the movements of goods commercial activities were booming but since the closure of the border’ ” we now have everything grounded. Our school are closed, petrol Stations closed, only few traders now come to the market, taxi drivers have nothing to do as before and nothing is moving”
Some of the traders who spoke appealed to the federal government to permanently reopen the borders.
The customs Public Reĺation Officer for Ogun1 Area Command, Hammed Oloyede said that the customs and other security operatives were able to bring the situation back to normal after repelling the angry youths who seized the border.
He said “there was no attacks on our patrol points ad the youths were just doing.g their own thing”
He pointed out that the customs are now at alert and would not allow anyone to cause break down of law and order.
But Sunday Adeyemo alias Sunday Igboho who spoke on the incident said that the Federal government of Nigeria just closed the border to punish the people of the South West because all the borders in the North are operational.
He argued that the closure “is part of the war the government of the North is fighting with us in the West añd.the entire South.”
He went on, “when they started fighting and killing our farmers we never knew their game plan, it was later that we discovered that they were doing that to destroy our crops so that we won’t be able to farm and depend on their own products. But we were able to repel them and that was why we drove the Fulanis out of our land.”
“What the boys did was just to show the Fulani led government that enough is enough and it would be a continuous action.
We can’t just imagine the borders here in Yoruba ĺand being closed to shot down our economy, whereas business is going g on as usual in all the borders in the North. That is why we are saying let them be on their own and we shall be on our own and develop on our own.”
Although Sunday Igboho who is a strong agitator for the actualisation of Oduduwa nation, was in support of the youths action for the forceful opening of the border, the group under the umbrella which Sunday is using to promote the self determination agenda of the Yoruba nation, the IlanaEgbeOmoOdua led by Professor BanjiAkintoye has condemned their actions.
The communications officer of the group Mr Maxwell Adeleye has said that the IlanaEgbeOmoOdua did not know those who carry out the act.
According to him, the group led by Professor Akintoye “is known for its peaceful approach towards achieving our aim of seĺf determination for the Yoruba race.”
He argued, “We would never approve of violence in pursuing our goals and the security operatives know us for this.We do what is lawful without violence”
It will be recalled that the comptroller of customs Çol Hammed Ibrahim Alli (rtd) while closing the borders said that it was meant to improve the revenues of Nigeria and to curb the activities of smugglers and as well curtail criminal activities at the borders.
But in his own point of view the Señatòr.Reprepsenting Ogun West Senatorìal District, SenatòrTolulopeOdebiyi whose father Jonathan Odebiyi was the minority leader in the second Republic Senate, under the Unity Party of Nigeria (UPN), said the Federal government should reconsider its stand and open the border.
He argued that the closure has affected the people of the state and those living at the border towns.
He pointed out that the government should consider the proximity of the border in his senatorial district to the manufacturers in Ogun State, who would want to import their products to other west African countries like Togo, Ghaña’ Serìalone and even the Republic of Benin.
According to him, these industries in Agbara, Sango Otta and Badagy in Lagos State are really complaining since the borders have been closed in 2019
“We are appealing to the government to open the borders for businesses to strive .
We do not support the forceful opening of the Idiroko border and we hope the Federal government would consider the plights of people who do legitimate business to open the borders”