By Vincent Kalu and Oluseye Ojo, Ibadan
Against the admonition by Katsina State governor, Bello Masari to his citizens to acquire arms to defend themselves, the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), the Yoruba Council of Elders (YCE), the Southern Kaduna People’s Union (SOKAPU) and the Indigenous Igbo Youth Congress (IIYC), have said the Yoruba Nation activist, Sunday Adeyemo, otherwise known as Igboho, and IPOB leader, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu have been vindicated for their efforts in defending their regions from bandits, kidnappers, killer herders and other criminals.
Secretary-General of Yoruba Council of Elders (YCE), Dr. Kunle Olajide, said the statements by Minister of Defence, Gen Bashir Magashi (Retd), and Governor Aminu Masari on self-defence have justified the actions of agitators for self-determination. Chief Sunday Adeyemo, also known as Igboho, is a prominent member of the Ilana Omo Oodua, championing self-determination for Yoruba nation.
Said he: “The comments by Gen Magashi and Governor Masari are by far more harmful to this nation than what Igboho would do. Igboho has not even defended himself. He has not raised arms against this country and he has not incited anybody to take up arms.
“If you have the Number One citizen of a state, calling on people to breach and violate the law of the country, which forbids anybody to possess guns without licence or police permit, then there is no more hope. So, for a governor from the president’s state calling on the people to defend themselves, is an admittance of government failure completely,” the YCE said.
Leader of Yoruba self-determination group, Ilana Omo Oodua (IOO), Prof Banji Akintoye, who spoke through the Communications Manager of IOO, Mr. Maxwell Adeleye, said statements have vindicated Yoruba nation activist, Chief Sunday Adeyemo, fondly called Sunday Igboho, and the self-determination groups that have been agitating for Yoruba nation.
Said he: “With the statements made by Masari and the earlier one made by the Defence Minister, people can now see that the Nigerian government has been speaking with both sides of their mouth. They said we should defend ourselves. And it is not a crime for you to defend yourself, when your life is in danger.
“But when you defend yourself, the Nigerian government will arrest you and charge you for conspiracy, murder, illegal possession of firearms and so on. But those people that came to attack you, rape your women and girls, kill you and so on, you will not hear anything about them.
“Igboho never killed anyone. He never shot a gun. He never destroyed any property. He uses native intelligence to drive out the people tormenting, terrorising and oppressing his people. They want to criminalise Igboho, but they will fail. We are happy that Igboho is in a protective custody. By God’s grace, he will be a free man.
“It is a matter of time, the collective will of the people will triumph. The people of Yorubaland will triumph and we shall have our own nation peacefully.”
IPOB, in a statement by its Media and Publicity Secretary, Emma Powerful, noted that the call by the governor has vindicated Kanu, who has been consistently advising Nigerian and particularly Igbo to defend themselves against the Fulani terrorists, “our leader is a man who saw tomorrow, everything he said has fully happened.
“The politically correct South East governors and political elite should stop living in the past. They had better woken from their slumber and decode the obvious signals of the call by Masari.”
President of the Indigenous Igbo Youth Congress (IIYC), Chief John Mayor Echefu, said the IPOB leader saw ahead of tomorrow and warned his people of the danger that would befall them in the hands of the Fulani herdsmen, but the governors and other leaders betrayed him. He regretted that if a Southern leader had called for citizens to start bearing arms, there would have been uproar from the security agencies.
“The Minister of Defence has called for self defence; he told Nigerians openly that they should defend themselves because government could no longer do that. The Emir of Zauzau called his subjects to defend themselves, and IPOB set up Eastern Security Network to defend their area, but they want to kill their leader,” he noted.
Also speaking, President of Southern Kaduna People’s Union (SOKAPU), Jonathan Asake, said, the statement has already vindicated Kanu and Igboho, who want to defend their areas against Fulani militia attacks.
He said: “This comment coming from Governor Masari is a welcome development and indicate two things.
“Firstly, that the government of the day cannot defend Nigerians and they should admit that and allow Nigerians to defend themselves and even support and empower Nigerians across the country to defend themselves if they are not part of this problem. “Secondly, it shows that Igboho in the South-West and Nnamdi Kanu in the South-East have been vindicated over their agitations. Their long-standing agitation to defend their people has made a statement that they foresaw this thing long time ago. I’m not surprised that many other communities in many states have come to the same conclusion,” he said.