Abiodun OBA, Tayo AFOLABI
More reactions have trailed the July 1, 2021 pre-dawn raid of the Yoruba rights activist, Chief Sunday Adeyemo, a.k.a Sunday Igboho’s Ibadan residence by security agents.
His assailants, fully armed with sophisticated weapons stormed his residence in Soka area of Ibadan at 1.35 am with a mission to kill and to
Dressed in security personnel’s uniform, the attackers announced their presence with heavy shooting after identifying themselves. ‘When
Sunday Igboho found out that his assailants came to kill him, he entered a room and disappeared’, one of his aides said last night.
The security operatives left Igboho’s residence with trails of blood but with their mission unaccomplished as they were unable to either kill him or arrest him.
One of Igboho’s close aides who narrated how the attack took place described it as a Commando operation.
Speaking further with reporters, Igboho’s aide who did not want his name reported, said the operation was like a movie scene in the early hours of Thursday, as operatives of the Department of State Service, DSS and the army descended on Igboho’s house with a mission not known to the occupants.
According to him, the unexpected visitors, who were dressed in army camoflage and military uniform, entered the compound to meet their host unprepared. He said the assailants came in five army branded Hilux vehicles and forcefully gained entry by killing one of the body guards of Igboho, named Adogan.
His said: “When they arrived at about 1:35 am on Thursday, they scaled the fence and opened fire. We just heard sporadic gunshots all around the main house during which they killed one of the body guards of Sunday Igboho named Adogan.
“Before the gunmen made their way into the inner rooms there was a lady wearing a mask who led them in. She was calling occupants of the house by their names. That is to show that an insider gave them the information they relied on.
“The lady started shouting the names of close aides of Igboho and asked the assailants to kill every living thing sighted on the premises. They killed his Alfa who was praying.
“They took away about N3m from his (Igboho’s) room as well as his jewellery. The assailants killed five persons and took away their corpses.
“Some ladies, who are wives of Igboho’s aides, were also taken away. They took away the CCTV box so that we would not be able to play back.
“When they realised that Igboho had escaped, out of anger, they whisked away one of his wives and 13 other aides including one of his bloggers named Lady K. When Sunday Igboho found out they were there to kill him, he had to enter another room and disappeared. We can’t tell his whereabouts as I am speaking with you. The gun duel lasted an hour.”
One of the residents in the area, simply identified as Oyewole said the manner of the attack on Sunday Igboho’s house obviously suggested that the DSS did not obtain a competent court order to arrest or declare him wanted.
“DSS operatives were just all out to kill him. They were here to kill him because of his agitation for Yoruba nation.”
Another resident, Mr. Akinpelu said there was no justification for his arrest, saying that it was an attempt to silence him like the IPOB leader Nnamdi Kanu.
In its own reaction, IGBO professional and intellectual think-tank group, Nzuko Umunna, condemned the attack saying “it stands in solidarity with the Yoruba Nation”.
In a statement by its Executive Secretary, Mr Ngozi Odumuko, and a member of its Executive Council, Mr. Paschal Mbanefo, the group said it was deeply concerned about the attack by a joint team of security operatives on the Ibadan residence of Igboho.
The statement read in part: “It is even more worrisome that the State Security Service/Department of State Services (DSS) has admitted that its operatives “raided” Igboho’s residence and “gunned down” two persons “while the rest were subdued and arrested.”
“We observe with deep concern that ‘sting operations’ by Nigeria’s security agencies has become synonymous with predictable bloodletting, contrary to similar operations in other climes.
“We recall the raid on the Afara-Ukwu home of Leader of the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB), Mazi Nnamdi Kanu and the more recent attack on the residence of his lawyer, Mr. Ifeanyi Ejiofor.
“The seeming impunity and lack of accountability for these killings by security operatives may have emboldened this unacceptable breach of globally accepted rules of engagement.
“This must stop! The Department of State Services must operate within the ambit of Nigeria’s Constitution and laws, more so as the Service admits that no-one or entity can be above the law.
“We expect the Department of State Services to conduct a thorough investigation on cases before briefing Nigerians and other stakeholders on its operations. Its position must be based on hard facts rather than mere suspicions as to the source of the fire arms allegedly found in Chief Igboho’s house. More importantly, the Department of State Services must shun media trial.
“The events of the last few days are grave and troubling, and can only worsen the heightened socio-political barometer of the polity. We totally deplore the seeming onslaught on rights activists and regional agitators.”
In its reaction, the Oodua Worldwide, a global organization with headquarters in Canada, said the attack was “callous, oppressive, barbaric and smirks of obvious favouritism deliberately skewed to favour a section of the country against others.”
The group’s president Ojoin a statement said, “Reports have indicated that the gun totting men of the DSS, donned in military uniform, had killed two occupants in the building and whisked away others, including Igboho’s wife, to yet to be ascertained destination.
“This is an urgent response to avert a looming danger hovering around Nigeria, if swift, urgent steps are not taken to the right course.
“We wonder why known national tormentors like Sheik Gumi, Miyetti Allah and others are walking the streets of Nigeria unmolested while those on a popular struggle suddenly became objects of intimidation by our government.
“Our attention was drawn today to the gory incident that took place in the residence of Sunday Igboho around 1am, on Thursday 1st July, 2021, in Ibadan, Oyo State. We view the nocturnal attack by the DSS, which brought to memory the dark days of the fascist military rule in Nigeria, as a mis-normal on the part of the attackers.
“We are miffed by the fact that Nigeria is fast drifting from the path of advancement into the shameful abyss of doom, while the leaders of our beleaguered nation seems to be looking away, or pretending to be.
“We are appalled that the nation is fast degenerating and no one seems to care about what would become of a once fledgling country which seems to have lost its soul to petty politicking by those ordained to guide it to fruition.
“Agitation for self-determination came as a last option after series of pressure for a national dialogue met brick walls, deliberately erected by the thieving leaders who have from independence eaten up the national egg, killed the fowls and are now bent on setting the entire poultry ablaze.
“At this point, we may not be too wrong to assume that this recent attack was a furtherance to the conceived ethnic cleansing by a section of the country who are bent to dominate and force the rest of us to an
underdog in a country that constitutionally bequeath egalitarianism, equal rights and justice for all.
“Two souls were reported to have been lost to these marauding attackers, with their corpses taken away. Scores of people, including the wife of Chief Ighoho, were also taken away. This is not only barbaric but sad.
“We, therefore, state without any fear of intimidation that the Muhammadu Buhari led administration should, without hesitation release all the arrested persons from Igboho’s house, stop the manhunt on him and pay adequate compensation for the damages visited on his properties. We are Nigerians and we deserve fair treatment for as long as we still remain a nation.
“We here state categorically that the only way peace and tranquility can reign in Nigeria is for government to restore hope that a new Nigeria is still a possibility. Anything to the contrary will pose a serious danger to the unity of our country, Nigeria.
“Yoruba and indeed her people, have been peaceful in the agitation for a Yoruba nation all along. We have adhered with both the Nigerian and International Laws guiding the agitation for self-determination. All our agitations have been peacefully, orderly and lawfully executed. Any action that will show a mistake of our orderliness for cowardice shall be strictly resisted.
“We, therefore, declare that this attack on Chief Ighoho’s house by the DSS was rather unfortunate, cruel, irresponsible, illegal and atrocious.
“We make bold to say that we shall hold the Buhari led administration responsible for this barbaric attack if nothing is done in record time to condemn the act and redresses made to assuage frayed nerves on this very dastardly act.
“And should there be no response to our request within 72 hours, this recent action will be taken as a declaration of war against our peace-loving people. A stitch in time can save more than nine..”
Another Yoruba diaspora socio-cultural organization,Yoruba Global Council, YGC, described the attack as provocative, barbaric and deliberate act to suppress the growing agitation for a Yoruba nation.
Prof Lere Amusan, spokesperson of the group said with the DSS revealing it organised the attack under the guise of seeking out stockpiled arms, it may not be out of order to conclude that, considering the desperation with which the attack was staged, Sunday Igboho could as well been killed if found during the operation.
Saying that the reason given for the attack by the DSS was not convincing enough, YGC said ‘’it is baffling that herders, who are known to be custodians of illegal arms even with Miyetti Allah, its leadership known to government, are not accused of stockpiling arms, rather it is the peaceful Igboho government considers too dangerous and deserve such unwarranted,violent sting operation where lives were lost.
“It is obvious, by the Thursday morning attack that the primary mission of government, in tandem with the greedy politicians in the South West is to suppress the growing agitation for the sovereignty of the Yoruba states from the exiting country.
The attack on Igboho where lives were lost and many arrested, has exposed the fact that Nigeria is miles away from acceptable democratic norms.’’
The group, while reaffirming its support for the agitation for a Yoruba nation, stressed that Igboho should not be seen as a threat by any system that is “fair, sincere, progressive and democratic.”
It also warned that should the provocative attacks continue unchecked, the south West may become another field for violence like it is being witnessed in some other parts of the country, adding that, “the world has become so civilised, that it is needless to spill blood before agitating nations are granted sovereignty.”
The group charged all Yoruba ‘’sons and daughters to come together at this crucial time, to demonstrate transparent unity that will send the ultimate signal, that securing Yoruba nation sovereignty is not negotiable.”