The Lagos State Police Command initiated a show of force in the state on Friday to warn agitators and Yoruba nation separatists against any type of gathering planned for Saturday in the country’s economic metropolis.
The Lagos rally was called off after the Department of State Services raided Yoruba rights campaigner Sunday Adeyemo, also known as Sunday Igboho, on Thursday. Adeyemo, who has been declared wanted by the secret police for allegedly stockpiling weaponry, has been proclaimed wanted by the secret police.
However, the umbrella group of Yoruba Self-Determination Groups, Ilana Omo Oodua, led by Second Republic Senator Banji Akintoye, had stated that there would be no turning back, adding that “it is the role of the police to ensure the protest is not hijacked by hoodlums.”
In a letter to the state’s Commissioner of Police, Hakeem Odumosu, and Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, the Akintoye-led group stated, “Our rally scheduled for Saturday will still take place without fear or intimidation, and we pledge to be peaceful as we have always been.”
Akintoye, Igboho, and their acolytes have been crusading their secessionist campaign across the South-West geopolitical zone, citing injustice meted out to the region’s people as well as worsening insecurity as reasons for their agitation, but the Federal Government has insisted on Nigeria’s unity and indissolubility.
The Lagos State Police Command issued a statement on Friday warning that no rally will be tolerated in the state. ‘Oodua Republic Mega Rally: Lagos Police, Security Agencies Embark on Show of Force, Warn Agitators,’ said the statement signed by the command’s spokesman, Muyiwa Adejobi.
“Today, 2nd July, 2021, the Lagos State Police Command and other security agencies embarked on a Show of Force around Lagos State to confirm their preparedness and commitment to the 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 pro-government demonstration,” the statement read.
“Considering the available intelligence reports on the planned rally and to avoid any breakdown of law and order, the Command and the Government of Lagos State had warned the organizers of the planned Oodua Republic Mega Rally, scheduled for Saturday, 3rd July, 2021, at Gani Fawehinmi Freedom Park, Ojota, Lagos, to stay away from Lagos State.
“However, 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 put in place measures to prevent any act of lawlessness, oppression, or 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 likes of this,” the statement reads.
“The command has maintained that anyone caught engaging in or assisting the so-called mega rally in Lagos State will be prosecuted according to the law.”
By Olutayo Olusanya