By AYOOLA OLAOLUWA
Yoruba nationalists, agitators and leaders have warned the Federal Government against allowing any evil to befall Yoruba Nation activist, Sunday Adeyemo, popularly known as Sunday Igboho.
This is as Governor Babajide Sanwo-olu of Lagos State assured that the activist has not been abandoned.
Igboho, it would be recalled, was arrested with his wife, Ropo, on Monday, July 19 at the Cardinal Bernardin International Airport, Cotonou, Benin Republic while trying to board a plane to Germany.
His arrest came few days after the raid on his Sooka, Ibadan residence by the Department of State Services (DSS) on allegations of stockpiling arms to destabilise the country and subsequently declared wanted and placed on a “stop list.”
Igboho, who is being detained in the cell of International Criminal Police (Interpol), has appeared twice before a judge at the Cour De’appal De Cotonou.
Meanwhile, some Yoruba people, both home and abroad, including political leaders, traditional rulers, rights activists, supporters and agitators are currently seeking ways to help the activist.
According to Business Hallmark findings, his supporters are poised for war should any evil befall Igboho.
On Sunday, July 25, Yoruba kings in Benin Republic met to discuss Igboho’s travails and how to assist him beat the plan by the Federal Government to repatriate him to Nigeria.
The meeting, which was held in Adjohoun, a town over 60 kilometres away from Cotonou, and hosted by the Alajohoun of Adjohoun in his palace, was attended by kings and chiefs of Yoruba origin who said they are brothers with Sunday Adeyemo.
BH gathered that two of the kings present at the meeting are the Alajashe of Ajase from Port Novo and his counterpart from Seme.
While traditional rulers of Yoruba Nations in Benin Republic are busy strategizing to save one of their own, those in Nigeria are also mobilizing support for the embattled activist.
One of the Yoruba rights groups, Isokan Omo Odudua, in a statement on Sunday offered free transportation and accommodation to those wishing to travel to Benin Republic for Igboho’s court hearing.
The group said 30 people had already travelled to Cotonou on its bill and called for more volunteers.
“Please don’t be deceived we still need more people in Benin Republic to prove that Igboho is not a criminal.
“We have just only 30 people right now in Benin Republic. Call these numbers if you want address and free accommodations”, the group stated.
Another group, Yoruba for Igboho, while calling on the Beninese government not to grant Nigeria’s request for Igboho’s extradition, warned that the Federal Government will pay dearly if any harm befalls their kinsman.
Leader of the group, Yusuf Ajikobi, said it was unjust for the Yoruba nation agitator to be detained outside the Nigerian jurisdiction, vowing that the agitation would not stop until their demands are met.
“He is fighting for a genuine course and we are in support of his agitation. We appeal to the Beninise Government not to extradite Igboho to the Nigerian Government.
“They should allow him to seek asylum in Germany. Yoruba cannot continue to suffer. We are tired of how herdsmen are killing our farmers in the southwest and raping our girls. We demand our freedom. Let Sunday Igboho be. Let him move freely, let him enjoy his freedom.
“Help us ask Buhari and his people; what is the offence of Igboho? He asked Fulani herders killing and raping our people to leave; is that an offence?
“The federal government under Buhari knows where bandits and Boko Haram leaders are but they ignore them, preferring to use Nigerian resources to kidnap peace loving people and put them in jail.
“This government watched a northern cleric romancing bandits, visiting them in the forest but this government still claims not to know bandits whereabouts.
“We call on our southwest governors and Yoruba monarchs to rise up and fight for the people that put them in position. It is not a crime if someone is asking for an end to oppression.
“The Federal Government is pushing too far with the way it is handling the issues of Igboho and Nnamdi Kanu,” the group warned.
On its own part, the Yoruba Youth Socio-Cultural Association (YYSCA), warned that there will be crisis if Igboho is harmed.
The National President of the association, Olalekan Hammed, said Igboho offered to do what security agencies had not been able to do for the people, saying many Yoruba had been maimed and killed for so long by herdsmen.
“Yoruba youths may react violently if Sunday Igboho is harmed. They will also lose hope in both the federal government.
“Communities across Yoruba land seriously need to be guaranteed safety. But the President’s body language which is boosting criminal herders’ moral has already pushed the entire country in a state of anarchy,” Hammed lamented.
Also, youths from Ibarapa North Local Government Area in Oyo State where Igboho helped to dislodge marauding Fulani herdsmen who have been terrorising them warned the Federal Governments that nothing should happen to the activist.
The youths under the aegis of Ibarapa Youths Consultative Forum led by Comrade Sola Omitogun argued that there is no way any true Yoruba son in general and the good people of Ibarapa area of the state would fold their arms and keep silent in the face of oppression and wanton criminality perpetrated against them.
“Whenever Fulani unleash a reign of terror on us are apprehended, they use Federal might to release them.
“We are not unmindful of their crocodile tears which they have been shedding when we are attacked. We are making it categorically clear that nothing harmful must happen to Sunday Igboho because he has done nothing wrong,” the group warned.
Another Yoruba nation agitation group, Ilana Omo Oodua, led by Prof. Banji Akintoye, said “it is currently working to provide assistance for Ighoho to prevent his extradition to Nigeria.
“We all know he has committed no crime. We have secured the services of a leading and highly respected lawyers whom we can confidently rely on.
“We know, furthermore, that for the protection of his people who are being brutalised, he has joined hands with many of his brethren to take the legally-appropriate step, namely to seek the intervention of the International Criminal Court,” Akintoye noted.
On its own part, the pan Yoruba socio-cultural group, Afenifere, said President Muhammadu Buhari had declared war on Yoruba people with the arrest of Igboho.
Chairman of the group, Chief Ayo Adebanjo, warned that Igboho should not be allowed to suffer alone for fighting for the liberation of the Yoruba.
“Yoruba worldwide should take to the streets to make sure that Sunday Igboho is not brought back to Nigeria and if they bring him back, the Yoruba should ensure that he is not badly tortured. They have declared war on our people.
“Freedom is never given, it is always won. People are too afraid of this regime and we have said it over and over that they should be bold to confront them and take back their country,” Adebanjo admonished.
Also spoiling for war is the Oodua Peoples Congress (OPC) which warned the Federal Government that clamping down on agitators for self-determination could lead to a national crisis.
The OPC which gave the warning in a statement made available to BH by its Publicity Secretary, Barrister Yinka Oguntimehin, castigated the Federal Government’s approach in Igboho’s ordeals, maintaining that the use and application of force on self-determination agitators has only justified government’s lack of respect for human rights and intolerance to the views of others.
“Unfolding events have shown that there are lapses in the way the FG handles cases of self-determination agitators like Sunday Igboho, and I will like to state it clearly that the FG must desist from clamping down on self-determination agitators because such move can only fuel national crisis.”
The OPC also warned against having Igboho brought back to Nigeria the way the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, Nnamdi Kanu, was brought back from Kenya.
“The FG has been silent on the extradition order because it might trigger more crisis. You cannot treat Igboho the Nnamdi Kanu way, it would not work, so I am appealing to the FG to learn from history and ensure that the fundamental human rights of the citizens are protected in such a way that we can begin to appreciate the fact that we truly follow the tenets of democracy,” the OPC warned.
Meanwhile, Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, has assured that leaders of the Southwest are working hard to save Igboho from the hangman’s knot.
The governor disclosed that prominent persons in the Southwest are working behind the scenes to ensure Igboho’s release but governors of the region would not disclose such moves to the public.
“People are working behind the scenes but the matter doesn’t have to be a public conversation.
‘’These are very difficult times for all of us, but I can assure you that people are working behind the scenes. In times like this, it’s not by how many press people you call,” Sanwo-olu explained.