From Oluseye Ojo, Ibadan
Leaderof the apex Yoruba self-determination group, Ilana Omo Oodua (IOO), Banji Akintoye, yesterday, dismissed insinuation that he has fled Nigeria towards escaping alleged plots of the Federal Government to arrest him, based on the leading role he has been playing in the agitation for Yoruba nation.
He said he is not on the run, but currently in Republic of Benin in solidarity with a Yoruba nation activist, Sunday Adeyemo, also known as Sunday Igboho, who was arrested in Cotonou, Benin Republic, last month when he attempted to travel to Germany.
He was taken to court, and remanded in prison custody pending the conclusion of investigation on charged preferred against him that included illegal entry of Benin Republic from Nigeria, and plan to cause pandemonium in Benin.
Akintoye, in a statement by his Communications Manager, Maxwell Adeleye, said he is in the Francophone country to coordinate and supervise how to legally rescue Ighoho from government remand as soon as possible.
The Second Republic senator and an Emeritus Professor of History, said just like Ighoho, he has committed no offence against the Nigerian laws to warrant being arrested, intimidated or harassed.
Like a valiant soldier, Akintoye vowed to return to Nigeria as soon as Ighoho is released by the government of Benin Republic to continue the struggle for the actualisation of Yoruba nation, saying, “it is no retreat, no surrender.
“Myself, the president general and Wale Adeniran (chairman) of Ilana Omo Oodua, are currently in the Republic of Benin as reported, but not on the run.
“We are here to supervise and coordinate, by all legal and and other means, the struggle for the release of our son and patriot, Sunday Igboho, detained by the government from custody.
“By demanding peaceful self-determination for the Yoruba nation, I am not breaking any law, since self-determination is recognised by the International and Nigerian laws to be an inalienable right of every nationality, large or small, in the world.
“I have earned a solid reputation as a highly respectable advocate of a peaceful self-determination struggle. I have even written a book on the subject, which is already being used as a manual by Yoruba self-determination advocates and organisations.
“Irrespective of what the Nigerian government may be planning against me, I want to say without any fear or intimidation that I will be returning to Nigeria immediately Ighoho is released from the custody. I can’t be intimidated because I’ve not committed any offence, just like Igboho.
“Let me tell all Yoruba people across the world that there’s no cause for alarm. I didn’t flee to anywhere. I am in Benin Republic, running your errands. The struggle is no retreat, no surrender.”