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Group decries Lagos police stoppage of anti-Yoruba nation rally

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Gani Fawehinmi Freedom Park

Yoruba Appraisal Forum (YAF), a coalition of Yoruba groups, was yesterday forced to postpone its peace rally/sensitisation motorcade scheduled to hold at the Gani Fawehinmi Freedom Park, Ojota, Lagos, due to heavy security presence and disapproval by the police.

Personnel from Lagos State Police Command had very early yesterday cordoned off the Gani Fawehinmi Park, over the planned anti-Yoruba nation rally by YAF.

The group, however, expressed regret at the inability of the Police to distinguish between it and other groups claiming to be championing Yoruba self-determination and independence with the disguised objective of destabilising the country.

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In a statement by its National Coordiantor, Adeshina Animashaun, YAF stated that its objectives and consistent campaigns for peace throughout Yorubaland, the Southwest and all over Nigeria had been misunderstood and misconstrued by the police, which had also misrepresented YAF to the public as one of those groups claiming to be agitating for the creation of a Yoruba nation and the disintegration of the Nigerian state.

Lagos Police Command’s Public Relations Officer, CSP Muyiwa Adejobi, had in a statement on Thursday warned that the police would deal with YAF members should they go ahead with the scheduled Peace Rally/Sensitisation Motorcade.

But Animashaun, in response to the police ban, said contrary to police misrepresentation, the group had consistently campaigned for peace in Yorubaland and Nigeria at large, and had never been involved in any violence in the course of its numerous sensitisation activities throughout the South-West states.

“YAF is a law-abiding coalition of other Yoruba groups under the aegis of Yoruba Appraisal Forum, whose main objective remains peace advocacy throughout Yorubaland and all over Nigeria.

We want to make it abundantly clear that YAF is not affiliated to any group or individuals promoting or championing the disintegration or dismemberment of the Nigerian Federation.

“We are not agitators but peace makers, campaigning to dissuade our youths from threading the destructive path to violence being championed by individuals and groups masquerading as fighters for Yoruba freedom, independence and self-determination. We believe in the unity and indivisibility of the Nigerian nation,” Animashaun said.

He added that the group had held the same peace rally in all other states in the Southwest in the past few months without any record of any untoward occurrence, stressing that if it was agitating for the disintegration, it wouldn’t have sought permission of the Nigeria Police and the DSS to carry out the rally as well as invite security agencies to the venue.

Animashaun said the group would not be deterred in its struggle for peace in Yorubaland and the country. It advised youths against breaching peace in the region and aiding certain groups and individuals acting under the guise of agitating for an independent Yoruba nation to destabilise the region.

The group also appealed to the government, various security agencies and major stakeholders in Yorubaland to rise to the challenge and ensure no individual or group instigates violence in the region.

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