By Eric Elezuo
The raid on the Soka, Ibadan residence of Yoruba self determination activist, Sunday Adeyemo, popularly known as Sunday Igboho, by the Department of State Service (DSS) on Thursday night, did not in any way deter thousands of Yoruba, who were bent on raising awareness for a Yoruba nation, from turning up in their numbers to protest on the streets of Lagos as originally proposed.
Recall that the combined team of security agencies, led by the DSS stormed the residence of the activist in Ibadan, and killed two persons after a ‘gun duel’, ransacking and destroying property worth millions. However, Sunday Igboho escaped the onslaught, and authorised his followers to carry on with the protest, with or without his presence.
Consequently, on Saturday, July 3, a mammoth crowd of Yoruba indigenes in collaboration of their supporters, well wishers and comrades in the struggle, stormed the Gani Fawehinmi Park, take off venue of the protest amidst tight police, military and other security agencies’ presence.
On the day, at about 11:20am, and in spite of heavy presence of armed policemen and soldiers around the venue, agitators of Yoruba nation started making their way into the arena in their numbers, defying the Police Commissioner’s order that no form of protest would hold in Lagos as well as the intimidating arms exhibited by the security officials on duty.
On arrival in batches, the agitators were seen chanting different kinds of freedom songs, including, “No going back,” “We want Oodua Nation,” among others while many others who voiced their opinions albeit unsolicited stated that it is time to have a separate nation for the Yoruba ethnic group because they don’t have anything in common with the other ethnic groups in Nigeria. They went ahead to share flyers, which read, “Ilosiwaju Ominira Yoruba Nation.”
Earlier, the Commissioner of Police, Lagos State Police Command, CP Hakeem Odumosu,had handed down a warning to self-acclaimed Yoruba freedom fighter, Chief Sunday Igboho, not to stage any rally in Lagos, threatening to deal decisively with anyone who violates the directive.
The planned rally slated for tomorrow at the Gani Fawehimi Freedom Park, Ojota area and other parts of the state, was aimed at driving home Igboho’s agitation for the Yoruba nation.
Igboho, who escaped unhurt the DSS invasion of his Ibadan home reappeared via a voice recording stating that he was not arrested by the DSS and that the proposed would go on while assuring that the rally would be peaceful. But the CP insisted that the command would not allow any rally to hold, in order to avoid a repeat of what happened during the EndSARS protest, in October 2020.
“Lagos State cannot afford to experience any security lapses, breakdown of law and order and threat to public peace at the moment, considering the negative effects and reoccurring agonies of the October 2020 violent #Endsars crisis that led to massive destruction of public and private facilities, while some Police personnel paid the supreme price. This is in addition to many Police stations, barracks and officers’ personal properties that were set ablaze during this period.
He disclosed that Intelligence revealed that one Elewe-omo, a transport Union leader in Ibadan, Oyo State, had perfected a plan “to attack organizers of the rally as reprisal attack on the death of one of his followers allegedly killed by a member of Sunday Igboho’s group during a similar rally organized in Ibadan, Oyo State sometimes ago”.
The Lagos CP also revealed that intelligence at the command’s disposal, further revealed that some disgruntled elements had perfected plans to infiltrate the ranks of the protesters to hijack the opportunity to attack and loot property of Lagosians.
“The Command still reaffirms that on no account will any actual or rumoured activities including the said planned mega rally be allowed to lock down the state or hinder normal daily activities of the good people of Lagos State. The effect of this, if allowed to come to fruition, is better known than imagined on the security, traffic and economic activities of a cosmopolitan state, like Lagos.
“It has also come to the knowledge of the command that the rally arranged to take place at the Gani Fawehimi Freedom Park, Ojota, Lagos, has been planned by some other yet-to-be-identified groups to simultaneously take place in Lekki Toll Gate, Ikoyi, Iyana-Ipaja, Ikeja, Surulere, Ikorodu and other areas.
“This, if allowed, could be a fertile ground to anarchy. The cumulative effect of all these poses a threat to law and order in the State. The Command will not fold its hands and allow disgruntled elements to truncate the peace being enjoyed in the state”.
While making a case why the Police will not allow the rally to hold, he appealed to parents and guardians to discourage their children and wards from participating in it.
But the Yoruba Nation agitators instead shunned the threats of the CP and turned up in their numbers for the rally at a time the Police were beginning to think the rally would not hold. Among those who made their presence felt at the protest were traditional worshippers clad in their complete white regalia.
The protest, which many eyewitness said was peacefully undertaken, witnessed the many rough moments when the Police attempted dispersing the crowd with water canons, and the killing a young girl who was hawking beverages, and whose age was given as 14 and later 25.
Initial story about the death the girl, whose name was given as Jumoke Oyeleke, says she was a victim of stray bullet fired by the police while dispersing the agitators. But the Police, in a statement signed by the Command’s Public Relations Officer, CSP Olumuyiwa Adejobi, denied ever firing a shot at the rally, alleging that the wound found on the girl was that of a stab. He said that the victim must have been killed with a sharp object much earlier than when the corpse was discovered as it was no looked fresh. He said the report was false and a calculated attempt to cause confusion and fear in the state.
Jumoke, the first of four children by her parents, was reported to be displaying drinks at her boss’ shop in a compound close to the rally ground when security men chased some agitators into the premises amid shootings.
She was said to have been hit by a stray bullet, which ripped through her stomach and left a deep hole. Her corpse was later taken away in a police van.
The Police statement reads
”The attention of the Lagos State Police Command has been drawn to a news making rounds that a 14 year-old girl was hit and killed by police bullet today 3rd July, 2021 at the venue of the Oodua Republic Mega Rally in Ojota, Lagos.
The Command hereby wishes to debunk the rumour and state categorically that it’s a calculated attempt to create confusion and fears in the minds of the good people of Lagos State and the country at large.
The Command did not fire a single live bullet at Ojota rally today. The said corpse was found wrapped and abandoned at a distance, far from Ojota venue of the rally, behind MRS Filling Station, inward Maryland, on the other side of the venue, with dried blood stains suggesting that the corpse is not fresh. After a close look at the corpse, a wound suspectedly sustained from a sharp object was seen on it.
The news is false and mischievous. The Command therefore urges the general public to disregard the news and go about their lawful normal daily activities while investigation to unravel the incident will commence immediately. The Commissioner of Police,Lagos State, CP Hakeem Odumosu, therefore commiserates with the family of the found deceased and assures that thorough investigation will be carried out.
The Command equally wishes to warn against the spread or peddling of fake and unconfirmed stories as such could be dangerous and counterproductive.”
At the end of the day, the Police paraded 49 suspects arrested at the protest. According to CP Odumosu, the suspects were arrested for violating the ban that no rally or gathering should hold in the state.
“Yesterday, some people came to foment trouble in the state during the rally and the command arrested 49 suspects during the rally. The suspects would be handed to the State Criminal Investigation and Intelligence Department, Panti, Yaba, for discreet investigation and prosecution,” he said.
However, undaunted, deviant, determined and swimming in the euphoria of the near success of Saturday’s protest, the group has agreed to relaunch the protest anytime soon, according to sources who confided in The Boss.
Besides the octogenarian, Chief Akintoye Banji, a renowned Yoruba figure, who has taken it upon himself to feather the nest of the agitation for Yoruba Nation, Sunday Igboho has remained in the public eye as a military arm of the struggle.
Igboho, according to Wikipedia, was born as Sunday Adeniyi Adeyemo, on October 10, 1972 in Igboho, Oke ogun, Oyo State but his father relocated to Modakeke in Osun state where he grew up. He started off as a motorcycle repairer and then ventured into automobiles selling cars and was able to start Adeson business Concept.
Today, he is the chairman of Adeson International Business Concept Ltd and the Akoni Oodua of Yoruba. In addition to his various wars in favour of the Yoruba race, Igboho gained social media tractions in January 2021 when he gave a week ultimatum to Fulani herdsmen in Ibarapa to vacate the land after the killing of Dr. Aborode.
He became famous after the part he played in the Modakeke/Ife war between 1997 and 1998, where he was a defendant of Modakeke people. And thereafter relocated to Ibadan where he met former Oyo state Governor, Lam Adesina through a courageous step while trying to defend the rights of the people at a fuel station. He also went on to work with former Governor Rasheed Ladoja and became one of his most trusted aide.
As the Akoni Oodua of Yoruba land, he is known for fighting for the right of the Yorubas supposedly possessing metaphysical powers. He is also a staunch advocate of the Oduduwa Republic.
Igboho is a Christian, married to two wives and has children including three professional footballers playing in Germany.
On how he got the nickname ‘Igboho’, the activist said that people in Yoruba Land tend to give other inhabitants the “names” due to the place they live in. His father was called “Baba Igboho” because he comes from Igboho.
As a result, Sunday got the name “Sunday Omo Baba Igboho”. After Sunday’s father moved from Modakeke because of the war, people started calling him Sunday “Igboho”. This name stayed with him even after moving to Ibadan. The name of Sunday Igboho is widely known in the city of Ibadan.
All eyes are him to lead the Yoruba into a nation of their own, especially now that they symbol of Igbo agitation and leader of the proscribed Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu, has been arrested.