There is palpable tension in the Lagos air as a planned rally to agitate for the independence of the Yoruba Nation looks likely to go ahead today, Saturday, July 3, 2021, despite the stance of the Lagos State Police Command against it.
The Moment Nigeria reports that Yoruba activist, Sunday Adeyemo, popularly referred to as Sunday Igboho, had been behind the rally.
However, Igboho, whose residence was attacked by operatives of the Department of State Service (DSS) earlier in the week; had suspended the rally after being accused of treason and declared wanted by Nigeria’s Secret Police. Despite his absence, an umbrella body of Yoruba Self-Determination Groups, Ilana Omo Oodua; led by Second Republic Senator, Banji Akintoye, had declared that the rally would go ahead as planned.
Equally important, the group had declared that it was the responsibility of the Police to protect the protesters; while also ensuring that the rally is not hijacked by hoodlums.
“Our rally scheduled to hold on Saturday will still hold without any fear or intimidation..We promise to be peaceful like we have always been,” the Akintoye-led body wrote in a letter to the Commissioner of Police in the state, Hakeem Odumosu and Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu.
However, the Lagos State Police Command has insisted on its opposition to the rally.
Officers and men of the Command on Friday began a show of force in the state to warn the Yoruba Nation against the rally.
In a statement on Friday, the Lagos State Police Command; once again, warned that no rally would be tolerated in the state. The statement was signed by the command’s spokesman, Muyiwa Adejobi.
“The Lagos State Police Command and other security agencies; today 2nd July, 2021 embarked on Show of Force around Lagos State; to confirm their preparedness and commitment to continuous protection of lives and properties of the good people of Lagos State and send a warning signal to the organizers of the said mega rally; or any group of persons planning to stage any rally or procession in the state; despite the warnings issued during the joint press briefing by the Commissioner of Police, Lagos State; CP Hakeem Odumosu and the Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Lagos State; Mr Gbenga Omotoso on Thursday, 1st July, 2021, at the Press Centre, State Secretariat, Alausa, Ikeja.
“The Command and the Government of Lagos State had warned the organisers of the planned Oodua Republic Mega Rally; scheduled for Saturday, 3rd July, 2021, at Gani Fawehinmi Freedom Park, Ojota, Lagos, to steer clear of Lagos State; considering the available intelligence reports on the planned rally and to forestall any breakdown of law and order.
“The Command and other security agencies, including the Nigerian Army, Nigerian Security and Civil Defense Corps; Federal Road Safety Corps and Department of State Services have however put measures in place to prevent any act of lawlessness, oppression and intimidation; of any kind, in the state on the said date, 3rd July, 2021 and beyond; as Lagos State cannot afford to record and experience the violence orchestrated by some individuals during the 2020 Endsars protest that led to massive destruction of lives and properties in the state.
“The command still reiterated its stance that anyone caught participating or facilitating the so-called mega rally in Lagos State will be dealt with within the ambits of the law.”