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Yoruba Nation: Police Launch Manhunt For Abiola’s Widow

Yoruba Nation


Yoruba Nation: Police Launch Manhunt For Abiola’s Widow

One of the agitators, Alabi Ogundeji, a 55-year-old lecturer at Federal College of Education (Special) (SPED)

Ibadan, Oyo State– The police have launched a manhunt for Mrs. Dupe Onitiri-Abiola, a suspected sponsor of the invasion of the Oyo State Government Secretariat in Ibadan by some Yoruba Nation agitators.

The manhunt for Mrs Onitiri-Abiola, a widow of the business mogul and prominent politician, the late Chief Moshood Abiola, began after the emergence of a viral video in which she claimed responsibility for the violence on Saturday, April 13.

It would be recalled that the agitators on Saturday morning, wielding guns and other weapons, many of them wearing military camouflage, invaded the Oyo State House of Assembly complex located inside the secretariat and hoisted their flag.

No fewer than 21 of the agitators were rounded up and also attempted to breach the security of the governor’s office, before security operatives repelled them.

Oyo State Police Commissioner, Adebola Hamzat, who paraded the 21 suspects, described the invasion as a criminal, unpatriotic and a clear case of treasonable felony and terrorism, which would be meted with adequate sanctions.

Although he did not mention the name of Mrs Onitiri-Abiola, Special Adviser to the Oyo State Governor on Security Matters Mr. Fatai Owoseni said he was aware that she is leading a group of Yoruba Nation agitators.

Prof. Banji Akintoye, who is the leader of another Yoruba group along with Sunday Adeyemo (Igboho), in a statement on Saturday in which he dissociated his group from the action, alluded to the group as the one led by Mrs. Onitiri-Abiola.

Thereafter, a viral video by Mrs. Onitiri-Abiola claiming leadership of the group surfaced on social media.

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Explaining how it happened on Saturday, the police chief said: “At about 8:55 a.m., information was received that some men, dressed in military-like camouflage and armed with pump action semi-automatic rifles, were sighted on motorcycles around Olomi and moving into Ibadan.

“At about 9:15 a.m., the hoodlums, later known as Yoruba Nation Agitation Group, were trailed to the State Secretariat and the premises of the Governor’s Office.

“They hoisted their flag at the House of Assembly, proclaiming the creation of a ‘Democratic Republic of the Yoruba’.

“With police reinforcement, the miscreants were warned to disperse. The agitators turned violent and opened fire on the police and a detachment of Amotekun Corps present.”

The commissioner said the police responded and were joined by operatives of other security agencies who suppressed the treason.

He also said that five pump action semi-automatic rifles, two wooden double barrel guns and other exhibits were recovered from the agitators.

Also recovered were two jackets, 30 pieces of torch lights, 49 bells, five horse whips, seven pieces of walkie-talkies and accessories, four generators, 72 pairs of camouflage uniforms and 405 live cartridges.

He said the continued existence of Nigeria as a sovereign, indivisible entity is a task that must be accomplished, adding that “the labour of our heroes past shall never be in vain”.

He said Oyo State Police Command would be unrelenting in ensuring the unity of the country.

“As a parent, I enjoin other parents, guardians and leaders in every sphere of political, religious and socio-economic influence to prevail on their children, ward, protégés and followers against being used by unpatriotic individuals to promote anarchy in the state and by extension, the nation.

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“Oyo State is home to many responsible, hospitable and extremely intelligent individuals who pride themselves with creativity, hard work and resourcefulness.

“Under my watch, it would not be reduced to a playground for the criminally minded and obviously misguided individuals or groups who intend to make their livelihood from distorting the relative tranquillity enjoyed by the good people of the state.”

The commissioner said the arrested suspects have been listing the names of their sponsors, adding that the police had visited some locations within Oyo State where some incriminating items were recovered.

Hamzat recalled that a member of the Amotekun Corps was injured during the invasion and one of the agitators who resisted arrest got injured in a gun duel with the police.

He clarified that police were not aware of any death during the incident.

We have no regret, say agitators

Some of the suspected agitators remained defiant yesterday. They told reporters that they had no regret for invading the secretariat.

They said their action was not treasonable, adding that they followed the due process.

One of the agitators, Alabi Ogundeji, a 55-year-old lecturer at Federal College of Education (Special) (SPED), Oyo, said what he did was lawful under the law.

He said: “I’m part of the agitation and I can’t deny it. Yoruba as an indigenous nation is a nation on its own. We have so many nations in Nigeria, and Yoruba is one of them.

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“Oodua Nation leaders have taken every step and action that needed to be taken. We have embarked on a referendum, which was the 500 petitions signed by all Yorubas and these served as a referendum.

“Our leadership went to all Yoruba-speaking states to serve officials letters written by our leaders and we were given our own copy. After that was the proclamation. After that, declaration, occupation, and notification to the world that Yoruba is an indigenous nation.

“We were at the secretariat to celebrate and rejoice because of the new nation that was born. It is not a new thing that Yoruba is a nation and we want to stand on our own. We have been together with Nigeria for over 100 years.”

He said: “We all know that nothing is working in Nigeria and things are hard for everyone, except those in government. We were at the secretariat waiting for our leader to come and address us.

“We believe our leader knows much about the law. So, we are not afraid to join when we were called upon. Our leaders told us that all challenges Yorubas are facing shall be addressed if we achieve our aim.”

The Special Adviser to Oyo State Governor on Security, Fatai Owoseni, said Onitiri-Abiola is the leader of another separatist group.

Owoseni, who spoke on national television, said the woman has been there for more than three decades.

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