Yoruba rights activist, Chief Sunday Adeyemo, a.k.a Sunday Igboho could be likened to a cat with many lives. His assailants, fully armed with sophisticated weapons stormed his residence in Soka area of Ibadan at 1.35 am on Thursday with a mission to kill and to destroy.
His attackers, who were dressed in security personnel’s uniform announced their presence with heavy shooting after identifying themselves. ‘When Sunday Igboho found out that his assailants came to kill him, he entered a room and disappeared’, one of his aides said last night.
The security operatives left Igboho’s residence with trails of blood but with their mission unaccomplished as they were unable to either kill him or arrest him.
One of Igboho’s close aides who narrated how the attack took place described it as a Commando operation.
Speaking further with Saturday Vanguard, Igboho’s aide, who did not want his name in print, said the operation was like a movie scene in the early hours of Thursday, as operatives of the Department of State Service, DSS and the army descended on Igboho’s house with a mission not known to the occupants.
According to him, the unexpected visitors, who were dressed in army camoflage and military uniform, entered the compound to meet their host unprepared. He said the assailants came in five army branded Hilux vehicles and forcefully gained entry by killing one of the body guards of Igboho, named Adogan.
His words: “When they arrived at about 1:35 am on Thursday, they scaled the fence and opened fire. We just heard sporadic gunshots all around the main house during which they killed one of the body guards of Sunday Igboho named Adogan.
“Before the gunmen made their way into the inner rooms there was a lady wearing a mask who led them in. She was calling occupants of the house by their names. That is to show that an insider gave them the information they relied on.
“The lady started shouting the names of close aides of Igboho and asked the assailants to kill every living thing sighted on the premises. They killed his Alfa who was praying.
“They took away about N3m from his (Igboho’s) room as well as his jewellery. The assailants killed five persons and took away their corpses.
“Some ladies, who are wives of Igboho’s aides, were also taken away. They took away the CCTV box so that we would not be able to play back.
“When they realised that Igboho had escaped, out of anger, they whisked away one of his wives and 13 other aides including one of his bloggers named Lady K. When Sunday Igboho found out they were there to kill him, he had to enter another room and disappeared. We can’t tell his whereabouts as I am speaking with you. The gun duel lasted an hour.”
Meanwhile, Sunday Igboho, who has been declared wanted by the security agents has given his own account of the attack.
In his statement issued Friday titled: “My persecution by Buhari regime: setting the records straight”, Igboho chronicled the events that led to his intervention in the struggle for the self-determination of Yoruba ethnic group and described the attack on his home as unwarranted and unjust persecution
My Story—Chief Sunday Adeyemo a.k.a Igboho
“The invasion of my home by Nigerian security operatives and the Department of State Security’s (DSS) announcement that I am wanted has made it essential for me to set the records straight for Nigerians and the international community.
“Nigerian security operatives invaded my residence in the early hours of Thursday, 1st July, 2021. The invasion was done without a search warrant. I was not invited for questioning/investigation at any government facility before the invasion.
“The operatives that stormed my residence destroyed my properties, killed persons and stole valuables and money. Pictures and videos of their atrocities have been widely reported in the media.
“Nigerians and the world at large are aware of my resistance to the incessant killings, raping and kidnapping of my people in Southwest Nigeria by armed Fulani herdsmen.
“The failure of President Muhammadu Buhari and his government to curb the criminal activities of the murderous herdsmen necessitated my intervention.
“I ordinarily would not have intervened if government had lived up to its responsibility of securing the Southwest and Nigeria at large from the criminal activities of the President’s ethnic men.
“Of public knowledge, my intervention has not led to any loss of life or bloodshed. My means of curbing criminality is to chase the criminal Fulani herdsmen out of their hideouts in company of the people of the affected communities.
“It is because of the foreseen government persecution that videos of such interventions were transmitted live on social media. Nigerians, the security operatives, and the presidency are aware that I have never moved against the peaceful Fulanis and other tribes living peacefully in the Southwest.
“My unjust persecution — for defending my people and community — is therefore surprising and unwarranted.
“After several unsuccessful attempts to link me to any crime, the Buhari regime desperately opt to forcefully silence me, so that the criminal herdsmen, who enjoy government’s sympathy, protection and immunity, can easily outrun the Southwest.
“The presidency’s serial antics and desperation to acquire people’s ancestral lands across Nigeria for foreign Fulani herdsmen because they share ethnicity and occupation with the President is well known to Nigerians and the international community.
“I am being seen as a threat to the Fulanization agenda in the Southwest, hence the desperation to soil my name.
“Nigerians and the international community should please be aware that the security operatives that invaded my home either planted the ammunition being paraded in the media in my home or harvested them from their armoury to frame me.
“The arms paraded are not mine, they are government magic. I protect myself with traditional powers, not with guns.
“Federal government framed me up and the sequence of events brings the truth bare. Why would the security agents invade my home at night and destroy my surveillance cameras before carrying out their operation if not that they had an ulterior motive?
“In this modern age of technological advancement, why did the security operatives not put on body cameras to record their activities from the point of entry to their time of exit? Their action is a testament that the Buhari regime is incurable of using desperate approach to silence peaceful social interventions.
“The unwarranted military invasion of Lekki, gruesome killing of peaceful EndSARS protesters, and evacuation of their bodies on 20th October 2020 is still fresh in the mind of Nigerians.
“A similar approach was adopted during the invasion of my home. The security operatives killed scores and took away their bodies. Buhari’s regime would have declared that ‘unknown gunmen’ invaded my home if they had succeeded in killing me.
“Nigerians and the international community should beware that desperate efforts are being made to force those arrested to make implicating confessional statement. I advise the DSS to desist from their unprofessional acts and devote such energy to eradicating insecurity.
“Nigerians and the international community should please note that I am a law-abiding citizen without blemish. I advise President Buhari to, in the interest of Nigerians that voted him to power, order his henchmen to desist from using falsehood and unholy tactics to soil my name.
“Such energy should be devoted to taming the herdsmen and bandits freely committing heinous crimes across Nigeria with impunity because their kinsman is in power.
“Yoruba people would not be demanding for a nation if government had lived up to its responsibilities. Self-determination is not a crime and all effort to silence us and acquire our ancestral land for local and foreign criminal herdsmen will fail.
“Many Ken Saro-Wiwa arose after Nigerian government unjustly executed the non-violent activist. Those that emerged after him confronted government and almost brought Nigeria to its knees. I am another Saro-Wiwa.
“Therefore, I advise President Buhari to learn from the mistake of past governments. I am not Nigeria’s problem and should not be framed up or intimidated for contributing my quota to ensure peace reigns in my region and country.
One of the residents in the area, simply identified as Oyewole who also spoke with Saturday Vanguard said the manner of the attack on Sunday Igboho’s house obviously suggested that the DSS did not obtain a competent court order to arrest or declare him wanted.
“DSS operatives were just all out to kill him. They were here to kill him because of his agitation for Yoruba nation.”
Another resident, Mr. Akinpelu said there was no justification for his arrest, saying that it was an attempt to silence him like the IPOB leader Nnamdi Kanu.
How his house was attacked
More details of how Igboho’s house was attacked have emerged. An inside source told, an online publication, TheCable, after the attack, that the gunmen came with a detailed map of the house and when they could not break down the gates of the house, they managed to climb the fence to gain entry into the vast premises.
The source said the attackers dispatched themselves to different parts of the building, shooting at every object as they moved around the premises.
According to the source, “they came with sophisticated weapons, one that will be difficult for Igboho boys to match even if they had wanted to fight back with force. They came in many vehicles.
“They blocked the entrance leading to the Soka community where the house is located and surrounded the building. They were pointing to rooms and naming occupants.
“They recognised the apartment Igboho stayed and his room. They gained entrance to his living room, turning all furniture upside down while calling on him to come out.
“They also turned his mattress upside down looking for him under the bed. When they could not find him, they started shooting at the ceiling, thinking he was hiding up there. Their bullets pierced through the ceiling decorations, bringing down the POP and creating holes in the roof.
“One of them later said that there were many cats in the house and he could have turned to one of them with his charm. They started killing the cats, stamping on the kittens. One of the cats just gave birth. They took them away with the bodies of the two people killed.
“One of the people killed was an Alfa who just finished his prayers. The other deceased was caught inside the visitors’ room. There were other people in the house apart from the deceased. Residents of the area were shouting ‘don’t kill Igboho’ but the onslaught continued.
“Outside the building, the attackers within the compound were busy spraying the cars and walls of the houses with bullets. They brought down doors from their hinges also. We counted more than 300 expended bullets when the day broke.”
Attack callous, oppressive, barbaric— Oodua Worlwide
Meantime, more condemnations have trailed the attack on Igboho’s house. Reacting to the invasion, President of the Oodua Worldwide, a global organization with headquarters in Canada, Prince Adewale Ojo, said the attack was “callous, oppressive, barbaric and smirks of obvious favouritism deliberately skewed to favour a section of the country against others.”
Ojo wondered why a section of the country has been terrorising the citizens of Nigeria unmolested while Igboho, who was carrying out a peaceful agitation would be the target of government.
The statement reads: “Reports have indicated that the gun totting men of the DSS, donned in military uniform, had killed two occupants in the building and whisked away others, including Igboho’s wife, to yet to be ascertained destination.
“This is an urgent response to avert a looming danger hovering around Nigeria, if swift, urgent steps are not taken to the right course.
“We wonder why known national tormentors like Sheik Gumi, Miyetti Allah and others are walking the streets of Nigeria unmolested while those on a popular struggle suddenly became objects of intimidation by our government.
“Our attention was drawn today to the gory incident that took place in the residence of Sunday Igboho around 1am, on Thursday 1st July, 2021, in Ibadan, Oyo State. We view the nocturnal attack by the DSS, which brought to memory the dark days of the fascist military rule in Nigeria, as a mis-normal on the part of the attackers.
“We are miffed by the fact that Nigeria is fast drifting from the path of advancement into the shameful abyss of doom, while the leaders of our beleaguered nation seems to be looking away, or pretending to be.
“We are appalled that the nation is fast degenerating and no one seems to care about what would become of a once fledgling country which seems to have lost its soul to petty politicking by those ordained to guide it to fruition.
“Agitation for self-determination came as a last option after series of pressure for a national dialogue met brick walls, deliberately erected by the thieving leaders who have from independence eaten up the national egg, killed the fowls and are now bent on setting the entire poultry ablaze.
“At this point, we may not be too wrong to assume that this recent attack was a furtherance to the conceived ethnic cleansing by a section of the country who are bent to dominate and force the rest of us to an underdog in a country that constitutionally bequeath egalitarianism, equal rights and justice for all.
“Two souls were reported to have been lost to these marauding attackers, with their corpses taken away. Scores of people, including the wife of Chief Ighoho, were also taken away. This is not only barbaric but sad.
“We, therefore, state without any fear of intimidation that the Muhammadu Buhari led administration should, without hesitation release all the arrested persons from Igboho’s house, stop the manhunt on him and pay adequate compensation for the damages visited on his properties. We are Nigerians and we deserve fair treatment for as long as we still remain a nation.
“We here state categorically that the only way peace and tranquility can reign in Nigeria is for government to restore hope that a new Nigeria is still a possibility. Anything to the contrary will pose a serious danger to the unity of our country, Nigeria.
“Yoruba and indeed her people, have been peaceful in the agitation for a Yoruba nation all along. We have adhered with both the Nigerian and International Laws guiding the agitation for self-determination. All our agitations have been peacefully, orderly and lawfully executed. Any action that will show a mistake of our orderliness for cowardice shall be strictly resisted.
“We, therefore, declare that this attack on Chief Ighoho’s house by the DSS was rather unfortunate, cruel, irresponsible, illegal and atrocious.
“We make bold to say that we shall hold the Buhari led administration responsible for this barbaric attack if nothing is done in record time to condemn the act and redresses made to assuage frayed nerves on this very dastardly act.
“And should there be no response to our request within 72 hours, this recent action will be taken as a declaration of war against our peace-loving people. A stitch in time can save more than nine..”
Nzuko Umunna decries attack
IGBO professional and intellectual think-tank group, Nzuko Umunna, also condemned the attack saying “it stands in solidarity with the Yoruba Nation”.
In a statement by its Executive Secretary, Mr Ngozi Odumuko, and a member of its Executive Council, Mr. Paschal Mbanefo, the group said it was deeply concerned about the attack by a joint team of security operatives on the Ibadan residence of Igboho.
The statement read in part: “It is even more worrisome that the State Security Service/Department of State Services (DSS) has admitted that its operatives “raided” Igboho’s residence and “gunned down” two persons “while the rest were subdued and arrested.”
“We observe with deep concern that ‘sting operations’ by Nigeria’s security agencies has become synonymous with predictable bloodletting, contrary to similar operations in other climes.
“We recall the raid on the Afara-Ukwu home of Leader of the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB), Mazi Nnamdi Kanu and the more recent attack on the residence of his lawyer, Mr. Ifeanyi Ejiofor.
“The seeming impunity and lack of accountability for these killings by security operatives may have emboldened this unacceptable breach of globally accepted rules of engagement.
“This must stop! The Department of State Services must operate within the ambit of Nigeria’s Constitution and laws, more so as the Service admits that no-one or entity can be above the law.
“We expect the Department of State Services to conduct a thorough investigation on cases before briefing Nigerians and other stakeholders on its operations. Its position must be based on hard facts rather than mere suspicions as to the source of the fire arms allegedly found in Chief Igboho’s house. More importantly, the Department of State Services must shun media trial.
“The events of the last few days are grave and troubling, and can only worsen the heightened socio-political barometer of the polity. We totally deplore the seeming onslaught on rights activists and regional agitators.
“This feeds into the worrisome but widespread view that there is a deliberate attack on progressive elements in order to further shrink the civic space.
“Nzuko Umunna is highly worried by this situation, and urges the Federal Government to immediately pull back its agents from this state of affairs. Nzuko Umunna stands in solidarity now and at all times with all rights activists and especially the Yoruba Nation in their quest for justice and equity.”
Provocative attack on Igboho done to kill agitation for Yoruba Nation—YGC
Another Yoruba diaspora socio-cultural organization,Yoruba Global Council, YGC, described the attack as provocative, barbaric and deliberate act to suppress the growing agitation for a Yoruba nation.
In a statement by its spokesperson, Prof Lere Amusan, the group said with the DSS revealing it organised the attack under the guise of seeking out stockpiled arms, it may not be out of order to conclude that, considering the desperation with which the attack was staged, Sunday Igboho could as well been killed if found during the operation.
Saying that the reason given for the attack by the DSS was not convincing enough, YGC said ‘’it is baffling that herders, who are known to be custodians of illegal arms even with Miyetti Allah, its leadership known to government, are not accused of stockpiling arms, rather it is the peaceful Igboho government considers too dangerous and deserve such unwarranted,violent sting operation where lives were lost.
“It is obvious, by the Thursday morning attack that the primary mission of government, in tandem with the greedy politicians in the South West is to suppress the growing agitation for the sovereignty of the Yoruba states from the exiting country.
The attack on Igboho where lives were lost and many arrested, has exposed the fact that Nigeria is miles away from acceptable democratic norms.’’
The group, while reaffirming its support for the agitation for a Yoruba nation, stressed that Igboho should not be seen as a threat by any system that is “fair, sincere, progressive and democratic.”
It also warned that should the provocative attacks continue unchecked, the south West may become another field for violence like it is being witnessed in some other parts of the country, adding that, “the world has become so civilised, that it is needless to spill blood before agitating nations are granted sovereignty.”
The group charged all Yoruba ‘’sons and daughters to come together at this crucial time, to demonstrate transparent unity that will send the ultimate signal, that securing Yoruba nation sovereignty is not negotiable.”