…there was no such incident, says DSS
There was pandemonium along the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway on Friday when a joint team of policemen and the Department of State Services (DSS) attempted to arrest Yoruba activist, Sunday Adeyemo, better known as Sunday Igboho.
Igboho, who is topless, is seen in a video with his men daring the security operatives to “do their worst” before they drove off.
According to a statement signed by a former Minister of Aviation, Chief Femi Fani-Kayode, Igboho was on his way to meet with 93-year-old Afenifere Chieftain, Ayo Adebanjo, when the incident occurred.
The statement read in part, “I just spoke to my brother Sunday Igboho. He told me there was a violent attempt to arrest him this afternoon by a joint team of soldiers, DSS operatives and policemen numbering about 40 on the Ibadan/Lagos Expressway whilst he was on his way to see Baba Ayo Adebanjo in Lagos.
“I condemn this attempt to ambush and abduct him. It is not only reckless but also very dangerous. If the security agencies want to see him all they need to do is to invite him to their office. I am not aware of any crime that he has committed and I urge restraint on all sides.
“Let me also send a warning to the Federal Government that Sunday Igboho is a hero to millions of Yoruba and either killing him or detaining him unlawfully would be the biggest mistake they could make. Building bridges, dialogue and the pursuit of peace is better than intimidation, threats, violence and war. A word is enough for the wise.”
Igboho, has said he will not be intimidated by the fresh attempt by the police, the army and the Department of State Services to arrest him, saying any effort to arrest him on Yorubaland will fail.
Igboho said this during an interview with Saturday PUNCH on Friday, while reacting to the face-off between him and security agents around the Guru Maharaji bus stop along the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway.
The Yoruba activist, who has been in the news for serving a quit notice on Fulani herdsmen in some parts of the South-West, said he was never invited before they attempted to arrest him.
Igboho, therefore, stated that he did not know why he was being targeted. He advised the Federal Government to focus on capturing Boko Haram leader, Abubakar Shekau, and invite Islamic cleric, Sheikh Ahmad Gumi, who has been meeting with bandits in recent times.
He said, “I was never invited. They just lay in ambush for me at Guru Maharaji and started shooting. They started shouting, ‘Where is Sunday Igboho?’ I identified myself and asked them what the problem was. They said I was under arrest and I said, ‘For what? On my father’s land? That was how it degenerated.
“When they noticed how tense everywhere was, they fled. They came in four Hilux vans and a Toyota Land Cruiser. There are bandits operating all over the place but people like me who are defending our fatherland are the ones you want to arrest. Why?”
When asked if the police had invited him, he said, “I have not been invited. What have I done to warrant an arrest? Why do they want to arrest me? What have I done?”
On whether he would honour a police invitation if invited, Igboho said, “Go and ask them to invite Gumi and Shekau first before disturbing me. Let them face the bandits instead.”
When asked if he would go into hiding, he said, “What for? I am in the neighbourhood. I cannot run.”
He added that he had returned to his base in Ibadan.
Igboho told Saturday PUNCH that his bank account was initially frozen but that the restriction was lifted recently.
He said he had done nothing wrong by fighting for the rights of his people.
Attempted arrest: I won’t stop defending rights of my people, says Igboho
Igboho has said the attempt by the security agents to apprehend him on Friday will not stop him from fighting to make his people safe.
Spokesman for the Yoruba activist, Oladapo Salami, in an interview, said his principal saw the attempted arrest as one of those things to cow him but that he would not stop defending the rights of his people.
Salami said, “Igboho went to attend a meeting with some Yoruba elders and, on his way coming back, some security agents wanted to apprehend him. The security agents blocked the road with patrol vans of Operation Burst, DSS van and made an attempt to arrest him.
“One of the vehicles used to block him is marked AK 1449. It was Operation Burst vehicle. But they were not able to arrest him. The incident happened before Guru Maharaji Camp.”
Asked why Igboho took off his shirt as seen in a viral video, Salami stated that that was not the issue.
He said, “They made an attempt to arrest him but he has not been arrested; he is at home. Is it a crime to defend one’s people? He is a bit discouraged that some Yoruba persons are also part of the ploy, despite the fact that he is fighting a Yoruba cause.
“But this will not stop him from fighting for the Yoruba people. This is one of the challenges; he will forge ahead. There is no going back on the struggle to make his people safe, especially on their land.”
According to Salami, though the meeting Igboho was to attend had to do with issues confronting Yoruba people, he remains undaunted in his pursuit to fight for his people to be free from criminals.
Meanwhile, DSS, in a statement said it never attempted to arrest Igboho at any time, saying the report was fake.
A statement issued by Peter Afunanya, Public Relations Officer, Department of State Services refuted the claim and called on the public to disregard the report and take it as misinformation.
“The Department of State Services wishes to refute the news that it attempted to arrest one Sunday Igboho, today, at Ibadan, Oyo State.
“The said news is misinforming and should be taken as fake and therefore be disregarded,” DSS said. – Punch.