The leader of Yoruba self-determination groups, Ilana Omo Oodua, Prof Banji Akintoye, has reacted to reports that he has left Nigeria to escape arrest by the Federal Government of Nigeria.
Akintoye in a statement released on Sunday disclosed that he is in the Republic of Benin, but not on the run.
The Professor of History in a statement released through his spokesman, Maxwell Adeleye, said he is in the Benin Republic to coordinate and supervise how to legally rescue Yoruba Nation agitator, Sunday Ighoho, from detention.
He further stated that he has committed no offence against the Nigerian Laws to warrant being arrested, intimidated or harassed.
Akintoye vowed to return to Nigeria as soon as Ighoho is released by the government of Benin Republic to continue the struggle for the actualisation of Yoruba Nation, saying “it is No Retreat, No Surrender”
“Myself, the President-General and Professor Wale Adeniran (Chairman) of Ilana Omo Oodua are currently in the Republic of Benin as reported, but not on the run.”
“We are here to supervise and coordinate, by all legal and other means, the struggle for the release of our son and patriot, Sunday Adeyemo Igboho, detained by the Government from custody.”
“By demanding peaceful self-determination for the Yoruba Nation, am not breaking any law, since self-determination is recognized by the International and Nigerian laws to be an inalienable right of every Nationality, large or small, in the world.”
“I have earned a solid reputation as a highly respected advocate of a peaceful self-determination struggle. I have even written a book on the subject which is already being used as a manual by Yoruba self-determination advocates and organisations.”
“Irrespective of what the Nigerian Government may be planning against me, I want to say without any fear or intimidation that I will be returning to Nigeria immediately Ighoho is released from custody. I can’t be intimidated because I’ve not committed any offence, just like Sunday Igboho.
“Let me tell all Yoruba People across the world that there’s no cause for alarm. I didn’t flee anywhere. I am in the Benin Republic running your errands. The struggle is no retreat, no surrender.
The scholar also debunked the claims that Yoruba activists had been abandoned and is personally funding the court cases against the Governments of Nigeria and the Benin Republic to secure his (Ighoho) and his aides’ release, saying “socio-cultural and self-determination groups within and beyond the shores of Nigeria under my supervision paid for every dime spent in Cotonou, Lagos and Abuja respectively till date on the court cases.”
He said “the only court case not under my coordination and supervision, and which the Yoruba socio-cultural and self-determination Groups are not paying for is the one in Ibadan High Court, Oyo State.
“The Lawyer handling the Ibadan case, Chief Yomi Aliyu, SAN, said we should leave it to him, and that we should not bother on the funding, but the Yoruba Groups and Patriots under my supervision are completely responsible for the funding of the court cases in Abuja, Lagos and Cotonou”, the statement, says.