8th August, 2021
Emeritus Professor of history Banji Akintoye, who leads Ilana Omo Oodua, the apex Yoruba self-determination group, has debunked reports he fled Nigeria to escape arrest.
On the contrary, Akintoye, a former senator confirmed his presence in Benin Republic, along with another Yoruba leader.
He said their mission is to coordinate the legal struggles of detained Yoruba nation agitator, Sunday Igboho.
Akintoye, in a statement released by Maxwell Adeleye, Communications Manager of Ilana Yoruba, dismissed as baseless reports that he fled to Benin to avoid arrest by Buhari’s security agents.
Just like Igboho, Akintoye said he has committed no offence against the Nigerian state to warrant being arrested, intimidated or harassed.
He said he would 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.
“The struggle is no retreat, no surrender”, he declared.
“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 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, I am not breaking any law, since self-determination is recognised 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 respectable 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 organizations.
“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 the 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 to anywhere. I am in Benin Republic running your errands. The struggle is no retreat, no surrender.
Akintoye also debunked the media reports stating that Igboho and his aides have been abandoned.
He said “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.”
“The only court case not under my co-ordination 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”, Akintoye said.