From Oluseye Ojo, Ibadan
Ilana Omo Oodua (IOO) on Wednesday raised the alarm that terrorists have invaded and encircled Yorubaland in Nigeria’s southwest region.
The Yoruba nationalist group spoke through its leader, Prof Banji Akintoye, a renowned historian and Second Republic member of the Senate of Nigeria. This was contained in a statement made available to journalists on Wednesday by his Communications Manager, Maxwell Adeleye.
Akintoye has also written personal letters to Ondo State Governor Rotimi Akeredolu, who is the Chairman of the South West Governors’ Forum, as well as Ekiti State Governor Dr Kayode Fayemi, who is the Chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF). The letter was also sent to Governors Seyi Makinde (Oyo), Adegboyega Oyetola (Osun), Dapo Abiodun (Ogun), and Babajide Sanwo-Olu (Lagos), wherein he urged the leaders to be vigilant and ensure that their states are not captured by foreign invaders.
Akintoye alleged that the new midnight curfew announced by the Federal Government to curtail the spread of COVID-19 in Nigeria appears suspicious with clandestine motives. He, however, urged Yoruba people, especially the younger generations, to be extra-vigilant.
He alleged further that the previous COVID-19 lockdown from March to May 2020 was used to import terrorists from the north to the southern Nigeria, especially to the South West, stressing that ‘people must therefore be very careful and observant now.’
Akintoye, who is also the Chairman of Nigerian Indigenous Nationalities Alliance for Self-Determination (NINAS), advised top religion congregations in the South West, such as The Redeemed Christians Church of God (RCCG) Redemption Camp, Winners Chapel’s Faith Terbanacle, Deeper Life Bible Church’s Camp, Mountain of Fire’s Camp, Synagogue Church of All Nations’s Headquarters and the prestigious Central Mosque buildings in Lagos and Ibadan, to beef-up security around their premises.
NINAS is a self-determination movement birthed as an alliance of the self-determination initiatives across the three alliance territory blocs of the Lower Niger, the Middle-Belt and Yorubaland with the mandate to dismantle the purported ‘fraudulent 1999 Constitution’ and end the ‘unworkable’ unitary union that the constitution foists and to champion the processes for self-determination by which sovereignty would be restored to the constituent regions of the alliance.
The lengthy statement, as written by Akintoye, read in parts:
‘This is an alert from Ilana Omo Oodua to the Yoruba people at home and in the Diaspora. The situation that has developed in Nigeria in recent days calls for the uttermost vigilance of the Yoruba nation, and every Yoruba man, woman, and child. There is danger that if we don’t mount that high level of vigilance today, very serious pains can be inflicted upon us as a nation and on countless numbers of citizens of our nation. A few days ago, precisely, Saturday, the 8th of May, I sent a very desperate letter to the six Governors of the Yoruba Southwest. The letter reads as follows:
“Your Excellencies, the Governors of the Yoruba Southwest. This is a very desperate message from me to the state governors of our Yorubaland in the face of the impending escalation of the ongoing invasion of our homeland. A combination of Fulani terrorists, Boko Haram and ISIS have occupied Niger State, which is immediately north of Yorubaland, thereby providing for themselves very easy access into Yorubaland through the Yoruba parts of Kwara and Kogi States.
“Then, recently, the US has issued a statement that ISIS has infiltrated Southern Nigeria from the sea– meaning that the coast of Lagos, Ogun and Ondo States have been infiltrated. Our situation has thus become desperate and requires desperate actions from our State Governors. I feel obliged to devote much attention to the study of our Yoruba nation’s vicissitudes in these terrible times, and from such studies, I am hereby raising an informed alarm to the Governors of our States. I humbly and passionately urge our Governors to come together to give the needed response to the danger that threatens to engulf our Yorubaland in, most probably, the next few days.
“It is very well known that the signature action of these foreign terrorist organisations is to first destroy prominent assets of the society that they attack. That could mean that major public and private buildings in Lagos and Ibadan, particularly the hugely symbolic Cocoa House in Ibadan, would be their immediate targets. By the grace of God, we will ultimately expel them from our homeland, but by then, very many valuable assets of our nation might have been wrecked. This is something that we can and must prevent by preempting them with our own massive defensive measures.
“I wish our Governors God’s wisdom and strength as they rise together to do the desperately needful now. I trust you all to make the best decision, but I respectfully urge that you also borrow a leaf from what Governor Ortom has done in his Benue State. With my greatest regards. Prof Banji Akintoye.”‘
Akintoye stated on Wednesday: ‘That was last Saturday. Now, in the past 24 hours, that is, since late Monday, May 10, 2021, more troubling developments have occurred. First, the Secretary to the Nigerian Federal Government, Boss Mustapha, went on air and announced a number of Federal Government measures, which were said to be made necessary by COVID-19. The measures included Nigerian-wide curfews, a limit of the congregation of persons to 50, closing down of bars and night clubs, among others.
‘However, while members of the Nigerian public were still pondering the Federal Government’s announcement, another highly placed official of the same Government, Dr Sani Aliyu, Coordinator of the National Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, came out with a statement that the announcement a night before on lockdown, curfew, and public gathering were fake. He concluded that the public should ignore them.
‘We urge the Yoruba people to be aware of what may be happening now. We ask Yoruba people to remember that when the Federal Government announced a lockdown in March 2020, the lockdown was converted to a sinister opportunity to truck countless loads of Fulani terrorists and others to the South, especially to the Yoruba South West. We Yoruba people must defend our homeland, our towns, cities, villages, farmlands and our people no matter what anybody else may be doing.
‘Happily, most Yoruba people are no longer in doubt about the danger that confronts their nation in Nigeria. But what we need now is to mobilize ourselves in defence of our homeland. The Yoruba people are grateful to the Yoruba youths for the way they have woken up to resist the invasion of Yorubaland by terrorist bandits. The Yoruba youths must take particular cognizance of the following facts:
‘That terrorists have taken over Niger State: That Niger State is the immediate Northern neighbour of Yorubaland; that terrorists now command easy access into Yorubaland through the Yoruba parts of Kwara and Kogi States; a powerful nation, the United States of America, has issued an alert informing Nigeria and the world that ISIS, probably in alliance with other terrorist groups, has infiltrated the Southern parts of Nigeria from the sea; That the Nigerian Federal Government has not responded in any way to all these dangerous developments, which means that we must not wait for any Federal Government to defend us.
‘We, Yoruba people, must also remember in particular that all past efforts by terrorists in Nigeria have always had special plans for Yorubaland because, as everybody knows, Yorubaland is the home of the richest non-petroleum resources in Nigeria. All these call for a new and higher level of response and vigilance by the Yoruba people. Our youths have been holding mega rallies across cities and that is a very welcome development, but our youths must now respond at a much higher level than mega rallies. They must organise themselves urgently to protect our roads, especially the roads that lead into our homeland. They must ensure that the influx of terrorists and arms into our land definitively stops.
‘Owners and custodians of significant edifices in Yorubaland are strongly advised now to establish formidable security for their edifices. These include bridges, important public and private buildings, churches and such eminent Church estates as the Redeemed, Winners, Deeper Life, Mountain of Fire Church camps and the unique Synagogue building of the Synagogue Church of All Nations, and even our most prestigious Central Mosque buildings in Lagos, Ibadan and our other cities.
‘We must remember that when these terrorists broke into Mali Republic some years ago they destroyed the revered mosque of the ancient Sankore University in Timbuktu, the greatest Islamic monument in West Africa. To them, whatever does not qualify as fundamentalist or jihadist deserves to be destroyed.”
‘The Yoruba people trust their youths because the youths have done a lot of great things in recent times. We know they can do it, and we expect them to do their duty to their nation in these desperate times. Do this for your nation now to secure our nation and carve for yourself an honourable place in history. Yoruba youths must also make it clear to the world that now is the last and final battle of the Yoruba people against the destructive elements of Nigeria on the Yoruba nation.’