PAN-cultural group Yoruba Koya Movement has declared tomorrow as a national day of protest against the ongoing killings and kidnapping across Yoruba-speaking states including Kogi and Kwara in the Middle Belt.
Of late, there has been an upsurge in killings and kidnappings across Yorubaland as well-armed Fulani herdsmen have taken over highways in several states. Their modus operandi has involved opening camps in the forest and abducting innocent passengers in highways and then marching them to these bases where they are held until ransoms are paid.
Tomorrow June 12 is Nigeria’s Democracy Day to commemorate the day in 1993 when Chief Moshood Abiola won presidential elections but the polls were annulled by the military. It is now a public holiday and will marked across Nigeria with seminars, marches, rallies and symposia, especially in Yorubaland where Chief Abiola hailed from.
Planning to use the day to highlight the ongoing kidnapping menace, the Yoruba Koya Movement has organised an Otoge rally. It is backed by the Yoruba intelligentsia group known as Voice of Reason and 26 other socio-cultural and self-determination associations across the southwest geo-political zone.
This rally will hold in all state capitals of Ondo, Oyo, Ekiti, Lagos, Osun, Ogun, Kogi and Kwara states simultaneously. Yoruba Koya Movement spokesman Maxwell Adeleke, said the rally is aimed at presenting the Yoruba charter of demands to the government and to also present a public petition to the United Nations, European Union, African Union and the Economic Community of West African States over the ongoing killings in southern and Middle Belt nations of Nigeria.
He added that the rally is being organised to reawaken the people of Yoruba-speaking states to be conscious of the agenda of some ethnic warlords and reactionaries outside their domain to capture their land and enslave them while masquerading as visitors. It was also to enjoin all governors in Yoruba-speaking states to integrate towards economic, social and political development and to encourage them to make the security of lives and properties of their people utmost priority.
Billed to begin at 9am, the rally will hold simultaneously at Gani Fawehinmi Park in Lagos, Ibadan Military Cenotaph in Ibadan and Pansheke Roundabout in Abeokuta. Other locations include Fajuyi Roundabout in Ado-Ekiti, Nelson Mandela Freedom Park in Osogbo, Alagbaka Roundabout in Akure, Kabba Township Stadium in Kabba and Ibrahim Taiwo Road in Ilorin.
Earlier this week, Ondo State’s Governor Rotimi Akeredolu lamented the fact that only very important personalities attached with security men are safe on the roads. Himself a victim of a kidnapping attempt, Governor Akeredolu said the Akure-Ibadan road is notorious for kidnapping, adding that the assailants ran into the bush when his security men opened fire.
Governor Akeredolu said: “It is a serious problem on Akure-Ibadan road. We as governors will do something about the issue with the federal government.”
He added that the situation was affecting only the masses as the big men enjoy themselves when they drive in convoys. Earlier this week, Yoruba traditional hunters have announced that they will start policing these highways to confront the Fulani herdsmen.