A coalition of several pan-Yoruba groups on Tuesday faulted the Nigeria Police declaration of an alleged plan by the Indigenous People of Biafra to attack Lagos, saying such public declaration is capable of pitching the Yoruba in the South-West against the Igbo.
The groups said since the police already claim to be in possession of what appears to be confidential information, the proper thing would have been to discreetly go after the IPOB members to arrest them, if they are sure of their information.
“The police statement carries the possibility of being misinterpreted as an Igbo plot against Lagos and Yoruba people. This is dangerous, given the fragile nature of Nigeria.
“We are deeply concerned that the police publicly declared allegations have the prospect of setting Yoruba in the South-West against Igbo. This is very unfortunate at a time that state institutions are increasingly being turned to instruments for pursuing primordial ethnic interests.”
The group also expressed concern that while terrorists and armed herdsmen of Fulani extraction have openly been attacking, kidnapping, raping and killing Yoruba people in the South-West, at no time did the police call a press conference to announce such plan before or after each horrendous killings, neither did they link such attacks to any ethnic group.
Only recently, Yoruba in Mile 2 were attacked by these people. The police did not make any attempt to speak about the ethnic identity of the perpetrators, yet we know they are largely from a section in the North.
“We are concerned that the police allegation risks setting a greater danger of ethnic conflict between Igbo and Yoruba people, conscious that this will benefit a certain group who think setting Igbo against Yoruba will meet the objective of scuttling the search for peaceful self-determination by the two great civilisation.
The groups urged the police not to allow themselves to be used by the “desperate Caliphate whose age-long dream is to divide the South and set the people against each other for its own narrow gains.”
They also called on Yoruba people to ignore what they described as conscious attempts to cause ethnic conflict between Igbo and Yoruba at this time that both ethnic groups need each other.
The statement was jointly signed by Femi Ajibola, Oodua Nationalist Coalition; Dr Kunle Oshodi, Agbekoya; Alhaji Taofik Adeyemi; Oodua Peoples Congress (OPC Reformed); Chief Diran Obalola, Oodua Liberation Movement; Femi Agbana, Yoruba World Congress (YWC-Lagos State chapter); and Rasaq Arogundade, Oodua Peoples Congres (OPC-Reformed).
Others were Eunice Okunola, Oodua Women Coalition (OWC); Pastor Goke Otunla, Network for Yoruba Alliance (NENA); and Ahmed Korede Apapo Oodua Koya (AOKOYA).