The Department of State Services, on Thursday, paraded 12 of Yoruba separatist leader Sunday Igboho’s followers, saying one other was being profiled.
The DSS said a joint team of security operatives had raided Igboho’s residence early on Thursday based on an intelligence report.
Parading the suspects at the national headquarters of the secret police, its spokesman, Peter Afunaya, said the security team was engaged in a gun duel by nine men suspected to be Igboho’s guards.
Afunaya stated, “A team of joint security operatives raided the residence of Sunday Adeyemo at Soka in Ibadan. This was based on intelligence that he had stockpiled arms in the place.
“On approach to his residence, the team came under heavy gun attack by nine men suspected to be Igboho’s guards. Six were armed with AK-47 guns and three others with pump action rifles.
“In the course of the exchange, two of the armed men were gunned down, while the rest were subdued and arrested. Only one operative, who was shot by the assailants in his right hand, sustained injury. He has, however, received medical attention and is very stable.
“The gun duel, which lasted an hour, offered Igboho the chance to escape. Sunday Adeyemo, aka Sunday Igboho, is now on the run.”
Those arrested are: Abdulateef Ofeyagbe; Amoda Babatunde, aka Lady ‘K’, Tajudeen Erinoyen, Diakola Ademola, Abideen Shittu, Jamiu Noah, Ayobami Donald, Adelabe Usman, Oluwapelumi Kunle, Raji Kazeem, Taiwo Opeyemi and Bamidele Sunday.
Afunaya added that the team searched the house and subsequently recovered seven AK-47 assault rifles, three pump action guns, 30 fully charged AK-47 magazines, 5,000 rounds of 7.62mm ammunition, five cutlasses, one Jack knife, one pen knife, two pistol holsters, a pair of binoculars, a wallet containing $5, local and international driving licences in his name, ATM cards, a German residence permit No. YO2N6K1NY bearing his name; two whistles, 50 cartridges and 18 walkie-talkies.
Others are three charm jackets/traditional body armour, two laptops, one Toshiba and one Compaq laptops and his passport and those of many others.
Afunaya added that five of the AK-47 assault rifles recovered from his residence were snatched from Nigeria Customs and Immigration personnel at Idi Iroko, Ogun State.
Afunaya explained that Igboho and his group, in the guise of campaign for self-determination, had become well-armed and determined to undermine public order.
He added the arrests and seizures were a confirmation of a grand plan by Igboho and his cohorts to wage a violent insurrection against the Nigerian state.
Some of his aides had said the invasion, which they alleged claimed the lives of five occupants of the house, was carried out by soldiers and operatives of the Department of State Service.
The Nigerian Army, however, said it had no hand in the attack.
One of our correspondents, who visited Igboho’s house, observed blood stain on the floor in front of the main building. Windows of some vehicles and buildings on the premises were shattered.
There was thick blood clot in one of the chalets, an indication that someone might have been killed or badly injured, and one of Igboho’s aides said the victim, who he identified simply as Alfa, was praying inside the building when he was shot in the head and died on the spot.
A resident of the building said although government agencies had been monitoring Igboho’s movements before now, the attack might not be unconnected to the Yoruba Nation rally scheduled to hold in Lagos on Saturday.
The Convener of the Igangan Development Advocates, Mr Oladiran Oladokun, who visited the scene of the attack, told one of our correspondents that the invasion of Igboho’s residence was an attack on the entire Yoruba people.
One of Igboho’s aides, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said, “Chief surprised every one of us, because the attackers were everywhere, but he escaped. The assailants came around 1.30am, scaled the fence and opened fire.
“ I think the instruction they were given was to kill every living thing sighted on the premises. A lady was the one directing them. She was calling occupants of the house by their names. That is to show that an insider gave them the information they relied on.
They took away about N3m from his (Igboho’s) room as well as his jewellery.”
Another occupant of the house, who also spoke on condition of anonymity, said, “The assailants killed five persons and took away their corpses. Some ladies, who are wives of chief’s aides, were also taken away. They took away the CCTV box so that we won’t play back.
Meanwhile, the Yoruba Council of Elders and Afenifere leader, Chief Ayo Adebanjo, slammed the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), for the attack on the home of the Yoruba Nation agitator.
The YCE expressed concern about the invasion of Igboho’s home.
The Secretary-General of the YCE, Dr Kunle Olajide, who spoke with one of our correspondents in Ibadan, said the group was concerned about the incident.
He urged the Federal Government to investigate the attack and bring those behind it to justice very quickly.
Olajide stated, “It is unimaginable that Sunday Igboho’s home was so viciously attacked. Sunday Igboho is not violating any law of the land. There is freedom of movement and freedom of association in a democracy.
The Yoruba Council of Elders is very disturbed by this. Much as we are not backing any secessionist and self-determination agenda for now, because we believe this country can still be salvaged, but reactions from authorities continue to show us that the government is insensitive to what the people are saying.”
Adebanjo slams Buhari
On his part, Adebanjo said from all indications, the assault on Igboho’s home was sponsored by the government and described it as an attack on the Yoruba.
The 93-year-old stated, “It is a government sponsored attack from all indications. It is unfortunate, particularly for the Yoruba.
“Mr President has taken us back to the Abacha regime. It was the same they did to Alfred Rewane, Gen Alani Akinrinade, Chief Abraham Adesanya and many others, including members of NADECO. I have said before that this government is a tyrannical government.”
When asked if Igboho did not deserve to be arrested due to his opposition to Fulani herders, Adebanjo said if that was the reason why he was being attacked, then it showed that the government was partial.