Ahead of Saturday’s planned Yoruba Nation mega-rally, the police in Lagos on Friday carried out a show of force in some parts of the state to warn agitators and Yoruba Nation separatists to shelve their planned action.
Yoruba rights activist, Sunday Adeyemo, aka Sunday Igboho, had, after a bloody raid on his Ibadan, Oyo State, residence early Thursday by the Department of State Services for allegedly stockpiling arms, suspended the Lagos rally.
The DSS has also declared Igboho wanted.
But the Prof Banji Akintoye-led umbrella body of Yoruba self-determination groups, Ilana Omo Oodua, insisted that there won’t be any going back on the planned mega-rally.
The IOO had insisted on going ahead with its planned action in a letter to the Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Hakeem Odumosu, stating, “It is the duty of Police to ensure the rally is not hijacked by hoodlums.
“Our rally scheduled to hold on Saturday will still hold without any fear or intimidation and we promise to be peaceful like we have always been.”
The group’s letter was also copied to Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu.
Akintoye and Igboho and their supporters have been campaigning across the South-West geopolitical for a secession of the region from, citing injustice meted out to Yoruba people as well as worsening insecurity.
But the Federal Government has insisted on the unity and indissolubility of Nigeria.
In a statement on Friday, the Lagos State Police Command, again, reiterated its earlier warning that no rally would be tolerated in the state.
State Police Public Relations Officer, CSP Muyiwa Adejobi, signed the statement titled, ‘Oodua Republic Mega Rally: Lagos Police, Security Agencies Embark On Show Of Force, Warn Agitators’.
According to the statement, “The Lagos State Police Command and other security agencies, today 2nd July, 2021 embarked on Show of Force around Lagos State to confirm their preparedness and commitment to continuous protection of lives and properties of the good people of Lagos State and send a warning signal to the organisers of the said mega rally or any group of persons planning to stage any rally or procession in the state despite the warnings issued during the joint press briefing by the Commissioner of Police, Lagos State, CP Hakeem Odumosu and the Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Lagos State, Mr Gbenga Omotoso on Thursday, 1st July, 2021, at the Press Centre, State Secretariat, Alausa, Ikeja.
“The Command and the Government of Lagos State had warned the organisers of the planned Oodua Republic Mega Rally, scheduled for Saturday, 3rd July, 2021, at Gani Fawehinmi Freedom Park, Ojota, Lagos, to steer clear of Lagos State, considering the available intelligence reports on the planned rally and to forestall any breakdown of law and order.
“The Command and other security agencies, including the Nigerian Army, Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps, Federal Road Safety Corps and Department of State Services have however put measures in place to prevent any act of lawlessness, oppression and intimidation, of any kind, in the state on the said date, 3rd July, 2021 and beyond as Lagos State can not afford to record and experience the violence orchestrated by some individuals during the 2020 Endsars protest that led to massive destruction of lives and properties in the state.
“The command still reiterated its stance that anyone caught participating or facilitating the so-called mega rally in Lagos State will be dealt with within the ambits of the law.”