By Henry Odeh
A group known as Yoruba Appraisal Forum (YAF) has warned those fanning embers of war in Yorubaland and championing the cause Nigeria’s disintegration to desist forthwith.
The group noted that it has keenly observed and followed recent violent events in some states in the south western part of Nigeria adding that the group was unfazed by the unpleasant reality as it has in the past warned about such impending violence in year 2020.
YAF expressed its regrets over the development blaming it on what was described as insensitivity of both state and federal government as well as Nigeria’s security agencies.
According to a press statement by the Forum signed by its National Coordinator, Adeshina Animashaun, and made available to newsmen in Ibadan on Thursday 8th of April, the group stated that the spate of violence in Nigeria especially the south western part, was masterminded by those the group described as mischief makers noting that such actions were uncalled for and unnecessary stressing that incidents at Igangan in Ibarapa and Shasha market in Ibadan, the Oyo state capital are still fresh in mind.
“As we stated above, we foresaw and forewarned both state governors, federal government, and security agencies about these recent violence championed by some persons masquerading under the agitation and struggle for for Yoruba freedom and self-determination.
“But we want to warn again that the recent violence arising from activities of these self-styled Yoruba freedom fighters, especially the rash of threats to some other Nigerians residing in Yorubaland by certain individuals were just the onset of the large scale and widespread violence already scheduled by those planning the eventual disintegration and dismemberment of the Nigerian nation with south west as their launch pad.
“We want to state that we are aware that those behind the recent violence in different parts of the south west have a more sinister objective of destabilizing the Nigerian nation for the selfish political end of their sponsors and paymasters. They are only merely covering up their agenda with the cloak of fighting for Yoruba freedom and self-determination,” the statement reads in part.
The statement maintained that intelligence report at the disposal of the Forum indicated that the recent violence are bent on throwing Nigeria into a total chaos to hasten the collapse of governments at both the State and Federal levels to enable them execute what was described as ‘evil plans for Nigeria’.
“They are planning to take advantage of the current security challenges in the country to wreak further havoc, starting with the south west and expecting to instigate a reprisal against Southerners in the North with the ultimate objective objective of destabilizing the country.
“We have it on good authority that they have begun to mobilize youths in the region for more violent protests and bloody confrontation with government and security agents, all in their bid to raise tension and create the violent atmosphere for them to take over the properties of non-Yoruba living in the south west, especially those of campaigns of calumny against Nigerians of Igbo and Hausa-Fulani extractions.
“Their current ethnic profiling of Northerners and campaign of calumny against Nigerians of the Fulani ethnic stock are aimed at achieving their evil plans.
“This is most irresponsible, reprehensible and unpatriotic. The Police authorities and other security agencies must act now and waste no time in going after these hoodlums masquerading as freedom fighters in the south west.
“YAF wants to challenge the security agencies to unmask both the local and foreign sponsors of these agents of violence in our midst and punish them accordingly.
“Yorubaland is still grappling with the unimaginable Aftermath of the violent and bloody October 2020 #EndSARS protests. The large scale destruction in many parts of the south west is still shocking to many Nigerians as it remains unprecedented.
“Remember that the huge losses recorded by the south west in terms of burnt properties were worth trillions of Naira not to talk of invaluable human lives destroyed due to the violence that followed the #EndSARS protests. All these still remain fresh in the people’s minds and Yorubaland can no longer afford to lose more to the unpatriotic and evil activities of hoodlums masquerading as freedom fighters and self-determination agitators.
“We therefore, urge the police authority to take appropriate and urgent steps to deal decisively with these elements who are bent on fomenting trouble in the south west. The Police and other security agencies should should not mind the disguised antics and plans of these shameless and unpatriotic self-styled freedom fighters.
“On our own part as YAF members, we want to once again warn sternly that we won’t allow any group or individual to turn south west into a theatre of war. Any Yoruba who has collected money from both local and foreign forces to destabilize the south west region should retrace their steps to avoid the doom awaiting them.
“Those self-styled Yoruba freedom fighters creating tension by engaging in ethnic profiling and evil propaganda against Nigerians of other ethnic stock living in the south west should desist. We are already aware of their sinister plans and we have already communicated same to relevant security agencies for appropriate actions in order to save Yorubaland from unnecessary and avoidable violence and chaos.
“The 2023 general elections are just two years away and Nigerians will once again have the opportunity to exercise their franchise to vote for those they want in government and vote out those they are no longer comfortable with. All citizens should be patient and wait peacefully till that time to exercise their voting rights.
“But should they refuse to take this modest advice to desist from their devilish plans and unpatriotic activities in Yorubaland, they should be prepared to face sanctions and consequences as we will not longer fold our hands and allow them and their collaborators to further destroy the peaceful economic and social well-being of our people while pretending to be protecting our common interest.
“In essence, YAF won’t hesitate to to mobilize all our members across Yorubaland to confront those planning another wave of violence in any part of the south west under the guise of agitating for Yoruba self-determination and freedom because it is an ill-wind that will blow no one any good,” the statement concluded.