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Pan-Yoruba groups seek end to terrorism, support self-determination

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Say South West farmers lost $1b to armed herdsmen

A coalition of Pan-Yoruba groups has urged the Federal Government to put an end to the siege on indigenous communities by armed groups in the South-West states.

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The groups said in the past three years, Yoruba farmers had lost no fewer than $1 billion worth of farm produce to activities of armed bandits who either kill, kidnap, rape or chase away farmers from their farms.

Speaking during a protest held in Lagos, yesterday, Dr. Tunde Akin-Ariyo, representing the Apapo O’odua Koya (AOKOYA), said Yoruba farmers had lost close to $1 billion due to the destruction of their farmlands and killings amid armed invasion of Yoruba forests.

He said the June 12 speech of President Muhammadu Buhari failed to address the growing atmosphere of violence in the country, especially a few days after some 20 people were killed in Igangan, by suspected herdsmen.

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Ariyo said the people of the South-West must never allow themselves to be used to start attacking Igbo or any tribe in Yorubaland.

“We shall work to unite Igbo and Yoruba and all ethnic groups fighting for justice in Nigeria. Gone are those days when Yoruba would be set against our Eastern brothers.

“We did a research that confirms that Yoruba farmers have lost farm produce in the range of $1 billion in the past three years. Economic trees are being destroyed, farmers are killed or kidnapped and harvests are completely destroyed by cows. There is a loss of genetic resources running into billions in cash. The destruction and burning of Yoruba forests by the bandits have brought ruin to many farmers,” he said.

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IN the same vein, President of Agbekoya, Dr. Kunle Oshodi, said the people of the South-West could be pushed to the extreme, warning that if nothing is done to curb terrorism, most people will be left to resort to self-defence to protect themselves and their livelihood.

Some members of the coalition are Agbekoya, O’odua Liberation Movement (OLM), O’odua Nationalist Coalition (ONAC), Apapo O’odua Koya (AOKOYA), O’odua People’s Congress (OPC), Covenant Group, Network of Yoruba Alliance (NENA), South-West Youth Development Council (SWYDC) and National Council of Itsekiri Youths (NCIY), among others.

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