The Police, on Saturday, clashed with members of Ilana Omo Oodua in Abeokuta, Ogun State during a rally organised to drum-up support for the actualisation of Yoruba Nation.
The group, under the leadership of a renowned Professor of History, Banji Akintoye, is the leading organisation agitating for the emergence of Yoruba Nation.
The Ogun Police Command, in a statement by its spokesman, Abimbola Oyeyemi, had banned the rally, alleging that it was being planned to destabilise the State, Vanguard reports.
But in a swift response, the Media and Communications Secretary of Ilana Omo Oodua, Mr. Maxwell Adeleye, said the rally would go ahead, saying any attempt to stop the rally would be considered as a declaration of war against the rights to self-determination and peaceful Assembly of the Yoruba People.
The group has said: “We read with total disbelief, a statement credited to the Ogun State Police Command that our Pro-Yoruba nation Nation’s rally scheduled to hold in Abeokuta, Ogun State capital tomorrow will not be allowed to hold. We want to believe the statement of the police is a joke. However, if the Police was serious about the threat, we want to let the the authorities in Ogun State know that our rally will go ahead as scheduled because the police have no power under the law to deny us of our rights to self-determination and peaceful assembly.”
But at yesterday’s rally, the Police, numbering about 100, besieged the front of Alake of Egba’s palace, venue of the rally with five Armoured Personnel Carriers (APCs) and attempted to stop the rally which was resisted by the agitators.
Adeleye alleged that 11 members of the Ilana Omo Oodua were arrested and taken to the Police Headquarters at Eleweran.
They were, however, released, when members of the organisation mobilised themselves and moved towards the Police Force Headquarters to secure the release of their fellow Patriots.
Adeleye said: “I am pleased to announce that Policemen in Ogun State have obeyed the will of the people of Yoruba Nation. The people have triumphed.
“As the policemen saw the surging crowd of Yoruba men and women moving towards Eleweran Police Headquarters in drove, they quickly released our comrades protesting for Yoruba Self-Determination. I can confirm that we have rescued all the arrested comrades.”
One of the arrested protesters, Comrade Iyanda, who spoke to newsmen said they were picked-up as they were about starting the rally. He corroborated the position of Adeleye, stating that “the policemen quickly released us immediately they saw the surging crowd, angry and embittered, as they moved towards Eleweran.”
The rally, led by the Secretary-General of Ilana Omo Oodua, Mr. Opeoluwa Akinola, and the Ogun State Coordinator of the organisation, Mr. Taofeek Olawale, shut down the Abeokuta metropolis for several hours as the protesters danced around the city, singing Pro-Yoruba songs, lamenting the ordeals of the Yoruba people within the Nigerian Federation.
Addressing the crowd at Pansheke Junction, Akinola said: “Yoruba Land has been encircled and subjugated. It started immediately after the independence of 1960 and got worse when the Fulani elements introduced the federal character principle in 1967.
“The oligarchies ruling Nigeria to the jugular killed Abiola. They ran the tenure of Obasanjo for him. They have taken over our economy. They control our Ports and Borders. The entire security architectures are in their hands.
“They have completed taken over the entire farm lands in Oke Ogun area of Oyo and the Yewa axis of Ogun State. Ekiti and Ogun forests have been hijacked by these marauders.
“They have decimated every institution. Hunger, poverty and starvation are now the orders of the day. No one could sleep with his two eyes closed. The level of youth unemployment in the country is gargantuan. We demanded for restructuring almost 22 years now but it is obvious that there’s nothing to restructure again in Nigeria. The almagamation of 1914 should be dissolved. We want our own nation outside Nigeria and this, we shall achieve peacefully and logically”, Akinola, said.