Oluseye Ojo, Ibadan
The solidarity rally in support of Western Nigeria Security Network (WNSN), code name Operation Amotekun, is ongoing at the Remembrance Arcade in front of Oyo State Government House, Oke Oyinbo, Agodi, Ibadan.
Many socio-cultural and political organisations in Yorubaland have arrived to participate in the rally. The groups that have arrived for the rally include Yoruba Reconciliation Group, Atayese, Agbekoya Solidarity Movement of Nigeria, Oodua People’s Congress (OPC), Yoruba Youth Socio-cultural Association, Soludero Hunters, and Oodua Liberation Movement.
The lists of the groups also comprised United Self Determination People, Oodua Revolutionary Movement, Yoruba Sovereignty Defence Agenda, Iparapo Omo Oodua and Majiyage.
The rally is being led by the Oyo State Coordinator of Yoruba World Congress. The participants in the rally, it was observed, have been conducting themselves orderly.
Also, there is a heavy presence of security agencies around the venue of the rally. But the security personnel have not been disturbing anybody. The security agencies on the ground include the Nigeria Police, Department of State Security (DSS), Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC).
The organisers of the rally also brought a mobile live band to the rally ground. They are singing different songs in support of Operation Amotekun and in support of the six governors in the South West. Many of them repeatedly shouted Amotekun many times.
The participants also carry banners with inscriptions that include: ‘On Amotekun we stand,’ ‘No Amotekun, No Hisbah,’ ‘Who owns the land: Amotekun,’ ‘Who wants to know who owns the land! Amotekun,’ ‘Yoruba Omo Oodua!! Protect yourselves: Amotekun.’
The Chief Security Officer of Yoruba World Congress (YWC) Evangelist Kunle Adesokan, who is the coordinator of YWC in Oyo State, told journalists during an interview that the action taken was not a protest, but a solidarity rally in support of the six governors of the South West on the launch of Operation Amotekun.
His words: “We are here to tell the six governors of the South West that we are behind them on this project, Operation Amotekun. We want Governor Makinde to continue his good work. The message of the leader of YWC, Prof Banji Akintoye, is that the six governors should not reverse what they are doing on Operation Amotekun.
“We also use the medium to warn perpetrators of crimes and criminalities in Yorubaland to have a rethink. Operation Amotekun is not against any tribe, but criminals in our midst. We are against kidnapping, banditry, destruction of farmlands, raping of our girls and women, and we are against armed robbery.
“If you don’t love Amotekun, you don’t love Yoruba. If you don’t love Yoruba, you don’t love Nigeria. So, Amotekun has come to the state. Provision of security can be said to be environmental and the governors have the constitutional powers to protect the lives and property of people in their environment. Whether you are indigene or not, we are not against you. If you are doing your legitimate business, you don’t have any reason to be afraid of Amotekun.”
But the organisers said the solidarity walk would be restricted to the Remembrance Arcade on the grounds that if the walk was staged in other parts of Ibadan, it could be hijacked by hoodlums.