From Oluseye Ojo, Ibadan, Stanley Uzoaru, Owerri, Geoffrey Anyanwu, Enugu and Lukman Olabiyi
At least, two persons were confirmed dead as gunmen in said to be in military garbs invaded the residence of the popular Yoruba nation agitator, Sunday Adeyemo, fondly called Sunday Igboho, at Soka community in Ibadan, Oyo State in the early hours of yesterday.
The gunmen reportedly stormed the residence in at least eight fully loaded vans at about 1am and operated unchallenged till about 3:30am.
The attack came barely two days to the grand finale of the Yoruba nation rally scheduled to hold at Ojota, Lagos, tomorrow.
In an interview with a foreign radio station from undisclosed location, Igboho claimed he was in the house when the gunmen invaded. He claimed that the attack was carried out by operatives of the Department of State Services (DSS) and the army. He said he was taken aback as he had not committed any crime to warrant being targeted.
“Yes, I was in the house when they came. There are two guys that they killed around 2am when the shooting was too much… they destroyed all my property. They destroyed my vehicles, and all my house. I have like N2 milion inside my wardrobe. They went away with it.
“Around 1:30am, I heard gunshots in front of my house. It was a sporadic shooting. They shouted: ‘Sunday Igboho, come out. We’re DSS. We’re soldiers.’ So, I peeped through the window, saw them in DSS uniforms and Nigerian Army uniforms. So, I was surprised. What is the trouble all about? I have not killed anybody. I have not fought with anybody.
“What I am doing is support for my people. Then, all the rallies that I am doing have been peaceful. So, I fight for my family because the Fulani bandits have been killing my family, raping them, kidnapping them and taking ransom from them.
“I know the government refused to do the right thing for my family. And that is why I came out to support my family, to fight for our rights. So, I was surprised.”
One of the persons that reportedly lost his life was his Islamic spiritualist. He was said to have been met in the waiting room, where he was praying.
As gathered, he was shot and his dead body dragged from the point to where vehicles were parked. His blood stains were seen in the waiting room as he was dragged on the floor. A tasbih (prayer beads) was sighted at the spot where he was reportedly shot.
A source explained that when they could not find Igboho, the woman that led the operation said all the cats in the house should be packed, think Igboho might have used his charms to transform to a cat. The woman, according to the source, spoke Yoruba fluently.
Igboho’s bedroom was ransacked and all the money and other personal effects were reportedly carted away. The ceiling in the personal living room of Igboho upstairs was also destroyed.
“They thought Igboho was hiding under the roof of the house, they ransacked the roof. They also thought Igboho had transformed into a cat. This was why they went away with the cats.
“But Igboho bought the cat because of rats that have been cutting some wires in the vehicles within the premises. The cats were meant to either kill the rats or scare them away.”
It was further gathered that the gunmen went away with bodies of five persons. The gunmen, as gathered, also abducted some female and male aides of Igboho as well as their children.
When Daily Sun visited the attacked residence, blood stains were killed were seen in some places. Also, a dead kitten and expended ammunitions littered the premises. Impacts of the bullets were also seen on the giant pillars and wall of the building.
Expensive vehicles including his G-Wagon, Prado SUV, some valuable property, including furniture, and windows were also destroyed. The shattered windcreen and glasses of the vehicles were seen on the floor at the car park. Bullet holes were also seen on the vehicles. But all the vehicles had been moved out on Igboho’s instructions to unknown destinations.
One of the abducted persons identified as Lady K was picked up while on a live video during the attack.
Following the attack, Igboho has reportedly called off the rally billed for Lagos tomorrow, which had earlier held in Ibadan in Oyo State, Abeokuta in Ogun State, Osogbo in Osun State, Akure in Ondo State and Ado-Ekiti in Ekiti State.
Meanwhile, some abducted Igboho’s aides were said to have regained freedom in Ekiti, Ekiti State. Those that were released, the sources said, included a woman thought to be Igboho’s wife, his aides, children of his boys. They were reportedly given N20,000 to board vehicles back to Ibadan.
However, the gunmen have reportedly held on to Lady K and other six boys.
The Police Public Relations Officer for the state, Adewale Osifeso, could not be reached on his phone. He did not pick calls made to his mobile phone and he did not also respond to a text message sent to him at the time of filing this report.
•Nigeria back to Abacha era –Afenifere
Afenifere said the fatal attack was a sad indication that Nigeria is returning to the era of the late Sani Abacha when anyone who expressed opinions contrary to government’s position were hounded.
A statement by the National Publicity Secretary of the body, Mr. Jare Ajayi, on behalf of the acting leader of Afenifere, Chief Ayo Adebanjo said the manner of attack indicated culpability on the part of those in authority.
“We are forced into this deduction for a number of reasons. First, eyewitness accounts indicated that vehicles and uniforms of the attackers were that of the security agencies. Second, the failure of security agencies to confront the attackers further implicated the government.
“It was reported that the attack lasted for more than three hours. Igboho’s residence is in a highly populated area within minutes’ reach to surrounding police stations. That no rescue team came from any of the police units, including the DSS office in Ibadan for the several hours that the attack lasted makes it difficult not to believe that the government is complicit in the attack.”
The pan-Yoruba socio-political organisation regretted that the incident was a sad reminder of what Nigerians went through under the inglorious regime of late General Sani Abacha.
“We recall with sadness how voices that were opposed to the dictatorial tendencies of Abacha regime were under serious attacks. We recalled how patriots like General Alani Akinrinade, Pa Abraham Adesanya, Pa Alfred Rewane and so on, were attacked resulting in the untimely and gruesome murder of Pa Rewane.”
It asserted that government security agencies were now becoming emboldened in violating the rights of citizens because the previous violations were not checked.
The body maintained that a total stop must be put to the unprovoked attack on innocent citizens in the country.
“Not only that, we insist that government must immediately apprehend the attackers and make them to face the full wrath of the law. Government should also stop any plan to harm Igboho or any other person not known to contravene the law of the land.”
•It’s a ploy to silence him – Gani Adams, MASSOB
Aare Onakakanfo of Yorubaland, Iba Gani Adams said the attack was a ploy to silence him from expressing his views on the state of the nation.
Adams, however, charged the Federal Government to investigate the circumstances surrounding the ugly incident and also bring perpetrators to book.
Adams, in a statement Kehinde Aderemi described the attack said the attack has exposed the Federal Government, especially, on the spate of insecurity in Nigeria, insisting that the incident was a predetermined ploy to silent Igboho from the struggle for the Yoruba nation, which, according to him, is what many Yoruba, both home and abroad, wanted at the moment.
“The recent attack was the second in six months.The first was in January when his Soka resident was razed by unknown arsonists. And up till date,nobody had been apprehended in respect of the ugly incident,
“Those agitating for Yoruba nation have been the targets of this administration and the two attempts at Igboho’s houses within six months cannot be said to be ordinary.They were ploys to cow him and frustrate him,
“We cannot continue to live in fear and trepidations.We cannot continue to live in perpetual crisis where our lives and properties are not secured.
“Igboho is being haunted because of his beliefs in the struggle for the liberation of Yoruba race and those behind these two attacks should be warned that any attack on Igboho is an attack on all of us that are in the struggle for the liberation of Yoruba race. It is sad that this government is intolerant of other people’s views.”
The Movement for the Actualisation of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB) reassured of its support and resolve to continue to identify with Oduduwa Republic agitation.
•Attack confirms identity of unknown gunmen –COSEYL
In its reaction, the Coalition of South East Youth Leaders (COSEYL) said it confirmed and justified the true identity of the unknown gunmen terrorising the country.
“This incident has confirmed to doubting Thomases the true identity of the unknown gunmen that has been terrorising the entire country.
“It has never been reported that Sunday Igboho as an activist and freedom fighter has ever been seen carrying gun to kill anyone, anywhere. The true and only killers in the country are the murderous Fulani herdsmen/terrorists who kill people all over the country without the federal government doing anything about it,” Ibem said.