By Chukwudi Nweje and Oluseye Ojo, Ibadan
SCORES of supporters and journalists who laid siege to the Cour De’appal De Cotonou, Benin Republic, yesterday, to witness the trial of
Sunday Adeyemo popularly known Sunday Igboho, were disappointed.
His supporters were in court as early as 7:30am anticipating the arrival of the Yoruba youth leader, who has been in detention since Thursday. Though the court session was scheduled for 10am, there was no sign of Igboho.
However, the pan-Yoruba socio-political organisation, Afenifere, has alleged that the ongoing trial is a proof that the Federal Government may be pursuing a Fulanisation agenda by going after freedom agitators while ignoring activities of herders who terrorise the country.
It applauded the Olubadan of Ibadan, Oba Saliu Adetunji, Ogungunniso 1, for sending a delegation to Cotonou and the Ooni of Ife, Oba Enitan Ogunwusi Ojaja II, for setting up the Ooni Caucus towards working on various issues pertaining to Yoruba interests, including the travail presently being faced by Igboho.
Olubadan of Ibadan had through his spokesman, Mr Adeola Oloko announced that a delegation would be sent to Cotonou when he hosted the executive council members of Central Council of Ibadan Indigenes (CCII) led by its President, Prince Yemisi on Sunday.
The Ooni of Ife had also last week set up the Ooni Caucus meant to work on various issues pertaining to Yoruba interests including the travail presently being faced by Igboho.
Acting leader of Afenifere, Chief Ayo Adebanjo, in a statement issued on his behalf by the National Publicity Secretary of the organisation, Mr. Jare Ajayi in Ibadan, Oyo State, noted that Igboho is the arrowhead of activists, agitating for a Yoruba nation and putting an end to harm being inflicted on farmers and women in Yorubaland by Fulani herders.
Some kings and Yoruba communities in Benin Republic that mobilised heavily in support of Igboho also got applause from Afenifere for ensuring that an Oduduwa son, Igboho, does not suffer unjustly.
“What is now regarded as Sunday Igboho travail ought not occur at all if there had been good governance in Nigeria and people are not harassed without any just cause. It is so sad that President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration is concentrating on haunting and harassing those who are seeking relief from the oppressive situation in Nigeria while shying away from tackling the menaces of kidnapping, terrorism and antics bordering on ethnic cleansing.”
On the propriety of Igboho trying to escape abroad, Afenifere maintained that there was nothing strange or wrong, adding that history is replete with conveyors of a new order having to seek refuge outside their immediate country, at least for a time.
“We recall that Moses had to be taken away from the prying eyes of Pharaoh and his agents in Egypt. Prophet Muhammed (s.a.w) too had to leave his hometown, Mecca for Medina in order to escape persecution. Thus, there is nothing wrong in Igboho seeking a respite, first to preserve his life and perhaps to re-strategise.”
Afenifere, however, accused the Federal Government of going after freedom agitators, while neglecting those who are known to be behind terrorism in the country.
“By its conduct, government is giving people reasons to believe the allegation that it is pursuing a Fulanisation agenda. Harassment of freedom agitators and innocent citizens must stop forthwith.”
Afenifere also enjoined other monarchs in Yorubaland and other prominent people to emulate the good examples of Olubadan and Ooni.
•Gani Adams rallies 10 Benin Republic monarchs Meanwhile, Gani Adams, Aare Ona Kakanfo of Yorubaland, said he has rallied 10 Benin Republic monarchs to facilitate the release the agitator.
In a statement by Kehinde Aderemi, his personal assistant, Adams said the move was taken to ensure justice and fairness in Igboho’s trial.
He said an emergency meeting of the 10 kings would be presided over by Oba Signon Adekilumo, the Alajowun of Ajowun land.
“I think we must stand by him because we are all in the struggle for the liberation of our race and whatever happens to Igboho happens to us. And the journey, though, didn’t begin with him, it will definitely not end with him, because the agitation for self-determination is our legitimate rights for which we are ready to follow with all our strengths.”
He said the 10 monarchs are in the best position to work with the authorities in the Benin Republic to ensure Igboho gets a fair trial.
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Source: Nigerian Newspapers Online