By Chioma Ugboma
The Yoruba Appraisal Forum (YAF) says its `Anti Secession Agitations’ rally billed for Lagos on Friday has been postponed due to the increase in COVID-19 cases in the state, among other reasons.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the group which had held various rallies across South West states to preach against agitation for a Yoruba nation, had scheduled the rally to kick-off from the Gani Fawehinmi Park in Ojota, Lagos.
It had planned that the rally would culminate in a walk through Ojota to Maryland and Ikeja.
The police command in Lagos State had on Thursday invited the leadership of the group following a letter to it by the group, informing the command of the planned rally.
Chief Adesina Animashaun is National Coordinator of YAF.
The Commissioner of Police (CP) in Lagos State, Mr Hakeem Odumosun, in a statement after meeting with Animashaun on Thursday at the command’s headquarters, said that any rally or mass gathering in any part of the state would expose the participants and innocent residents to traffic problems, health hazards and avoidable security infractions.
Addressing newsmen in Lagos on Friday, the YAF national coordinator confirmed that he was invited by Odumosu over the rally.
” I met with the CP on Thursday afternoon and the reasons he gave for us to postpone the rally are ideal.
“The CP also asked me to sign an undertaking to call off the rally, walk to forestall gridlock, new wave of COVID-19, among others, which I did.
” As a law-abiding citizen, I realised that the reasons given by the CP are ideal.
“However, our sensitisation about the need for one Nigeria is not something we push under the carpet. The rally will eventually hold at a later date that we will decide,” Animashaun said.
Animashaun faulted media reports that described YAF members as Yoruba nation agitators.
He said that YAF had not been in support of such an agitation but had been clamouring for an indivisible Nigeria.
He said that YAF would continue to preach against divisions and agitations for an independent Yoruba nation.
Animashaun said that Yoruba youths should exercise caution and be vigilant to avoid being used to destabilise the country by unpatriotic groups and individuals claiming to be fighting for an independent Yoruba nation.
He said unpatriotic acts would have consequences for the perpetrators and the country.
The YAF national coordinator urged the youth to promote peace.
According to him, YAF had planned to use a motorcade to sensitise Lagos residents to the need to maintain peace at all times and avoid being used by unpatriotic groups and individuals to breach the peace.
“We arranged a crowd of `okada’ riders and people that will carry placards with various inscriptions advising Yoruba to maintain peace and eschew violence.
“We have handbills and leaflets that we intended to distribute from Ojota Park to urge people of the South West not to be deceived by those claiming to be fighting a Yoruba cause,” he said.
Animashaun reiterated the need for youths in the South West and the entire Nigeria to eschew violence, live in peace and report suspected troublemakers to the nearest security agency.
He appealed to governments, security agencies and other major stakeholders in Yoruba land to ensure that no individual or group would instigate violence in South West.
The YAF coordinator commended the Federal Government for the way it was handling agitations.
He urged governors of the six South-West states to tighten security and forestall violence.