THE leader of the umbrella body of Yoruba self-determination groups, Ilana Omo Oodua, Professor Banji Akintoye, on Sunday described as untrue, media reports that he has left Nigeria to escape the plots of the Nigerian government to arrest him.
Confirming that he is truly in the Republic of Benin in solidarity with the Yoruba nation activist, Chief Sunday Adeyemo, popularly known as Sunday Igboho, Akintoye said he would return to Nigeria after Igboho is released from custody.
In a statement forwarded by his communication manager, Mr Maxwell Adeleye to journalists, the academic said he was in the Francophone country to coordinate and supervise how to legally rescue detained Ighoho from government remand as soon as possible. Declaring that he has not committed any offence against Nigerian laws to warrant being arrested, intimidated or harassed, Akintoye vowed to return to Nigeria as soon as Ighoho was 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 Professor 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 Adeyemo Igboho, detained by the government from custody.
“By demanding peaceful self-determination for the Yoruba nation, I am not breaking any law, since selfdetermination 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 Sunday Igboho.”
Akintoye also debunked the media reports stating that Igboho has been abandoned, and that the activist is personally funding the court cases against the governments of Nigeria and Benin Republic to secure his (Ighoho) and his aides’ release.
He explained that “sociocultural and self-determination groups within and beyond the shores of Nigeria under my supervision paid for every dime spent in Cotonou, Lagos and Abuja respectively till date on the court cases.”
He said “the only court case not under my co-ordination and supervision, and which the Yoruba socio-cultural and self-determination groups are not paying for is the one in Ibadan High Court, Oyo State.
“The lawyer handling the Ibadan case, Chief Yomi Aliyu, said we should leave it to him, and that we should not bother on the funding, but the Yoruba groups and patriots under my supervision are completely responsible for the funding of the court cases in Abuja, Lagos and Cotonou,” Akintoye remarked.
Meanwhile, the Oke Ogun Development Consultative Forum (ODCF) has called on both the Federal Government of Nigeria and the Government of Benin Republic to respect the fundamental human rights of Sunday Igboho in the course of his being tried in the court of law. The call was contained in a press release issued by Oke Ogun Development Consultative Forum (ODCF), the umbrella body for the people of Oke Ogun in Oyo State.
The embattled activist is from Igboho in Oorelope Local Government area of Oke Ogun, Oyo State. In a release jointly signed by ODCF president, Dr Olusegun Ajuwon and Comrade Jare Ajayi, Public Relations Officer, the body stated that Adeyemo’s mission was meant to put a stop to the iniquities being meted out to Yoruba people – of which he is a proud son. (Nigerian Tribune)