A coalition under the aegis of the Yoruba Appraisal Forum (YAF), Tuesday, in Akure, Ondo state, warned South-west youths against aiding terrorism by certain groups and individuals acting under the guise of agitating for an independent of Yoruba nation.
YAF stated that Yoruba youths should be cautious and vigilant to avoid unknowingly aiding or participating in terrorist activities under unpatriotic groups and individuals claiming to be fighting for an independent Yoruba nation, warning that partaking in such nefarious activities, willingly or unwillingly, could have serious consequences for them.
The Forum’s National Coordinator, Adeshina Animashaun, gave this warning while addressing members and residents of Akure, the Ondo State capital, during a motorcade organised to sensitise the people of the state to the unpatriotic activities of groups and individuals parading themselves in the South-west as champions of Yoruba self-determination and independence.
A huge crowd of okada riders and people carrying placards with various inscriptions advising Yoruba against violence and dancing to music provided by a live band, went round Akure and other parts of the state distributing handbills and leaflets urging the people of the South-West not to be deceived by the antics of those claiming to be fighting Yoruba cause. Some of the inscriptions on the YAF placards also enjoined the youths to eschew violence, live in peace with other residents of their states and report suspected troublemakers to the nearest security agency.
Animashaun, who led hundreds of other members and residents during the motorcade, also appealed to President Muhammadu Buhari, the service chiefs, the inspector general of police, governors of the six South-west states and other major stakeholders in Yorubaland to rise to the challenge and stop the plans by secession agitators to instigate violence in the region.
The YAF national coordinator stated that the warning became imperative following the alarm raised in certain quarters that the entire South-West geo-political zone might have been surrounded by terrorists.
Last Wednesday, second republic senator and renowned Historian, Prof. Banji Akintoye, alleged that some terrorists planned to attack the entire Yorubaland with the objective of wrecking the economy of the area.
But the YAF national coordinator said that the government and security agencies should examine Akintoye’s claim thoroughly to ascertain that he was not merely giving a hint of what his group had in the offing, considering his past utterances and antecedents in support of the secession of Yorubaland from the rest of Nigeria.
Animashaun said, “Akintoye knows much more than we all think he knows. He should be questioned regarding this particular alarm he’s raising because his antecedents and utterances as well as those of the members of his group advocating and agitating for secession of the South-west and disintegration of the Nigerian nation are issues that must be properyly examined vis-à-vis the alarm he’s now raising of some people planning to attack South-West. We just hope he’s not giving an inkling of what they have in the offing in the next few days.
“We’ll only just advise our innocent youths to be careful of joining such unpatriotic groups in order not find themselves fighting the wrong cause when it’s already too late to back out and falling on the wrong side of the law. Our youths should avoid being recruited to support and fight the cause of terrorist groups under the guise of agitating for an Oodua Republic or independent Yoruba nation.”
The YAF coordinator, therefore, advised the federal government and the governors of the six South-west states to ensure the deployment of adequate number of security agents throughout the region to forestall plans by any groups of persons or individuals to instigate violence and cause chaos and destruction in the area.
Animashaun enjoined all well-meaning Yoruba youths to join hands and rise against terrorism and agitation for secession by groups or individuals covering up to cause chaos and endanger the lives and property of people of the South West and indeed Nigeria.
He added, “We cannot fold our arms and watch a few criminals in the name of secession to unleash terror in the South-west.
“It is a fight by all against these enemies of state and should not be left to government alone.
“We must all be vigilant and report suspicious movements to the nearest security agency within our areas.”
The Forum’s coordinator also enjoined traditional rulers throughout Yorubaland to rise in defence of the region and their communities by warning youths in their domains to eschew violence and not to allow themselves to be cajoled into joining terrorist groups by those pretending to be agitating for an independent Yoruba nation.
Animashaun also advised parents to warn their children of the consequences of crime and treason.
The YAF coordinator restated the Forum’s call on the Department of State Services (DSS), the police and other security agencies to clampdown on secession agitators in the South West and across the country to avert anarchy and address the security challenges confronting the nation.
“We maintain our stand rejecting calls by a group led by self-styled Yoruba activist, Sunday Adeyemo, alias Sunday Igboho and others, that Yorubaland should secede from Nigeria.
“Any plot to destabilise Yorubaland will not work and we will resist it. Enough wasting of innocent lives in Nigeria.
“The agitators cannot and do not speak for Yoruba youths. Our governors, religious leaders and politicians must rise to call these reckless few to order.”