Tunde Opalana, Abuja
A coalition promoting Yoruba peaceful agenda, the Yoruba Appraisal Forum (YAF) has enjoined the Federal Government and governors of the South West states to deploy enough security in the six Yoruba states to forestall breakdown of peace and order.
This is as the group urged youths in the region and the nation at large to avoid being used by certain groups and individuals acting under the guise of agitating for an independent Yoruba nation to breach existing peace in the region and the country.
YAF said Yoruba and Nigerian youths should exercise great caution and vigilance to avoid aiding unknowingly or being used surreptitiously to destabilize the country by unpatriotic groups and individuals.
It further enjoined parents to warn their children of the consequences of getting involved in crime and treasonable offences.
These calls might be useful against recent development of arrest of Yoruba nation agitator, Sunday Adeyemi popularly known as Sunday Igboho in nearby Benin Republic, which may spark off violent protest in Yorubaland.
The Forum warned Yoruba and Nigerian youths that partaking in any unpatriotic activity, knowingly or unknowingly, could have serious consequences for them as individuals, the South-West and Nigeria as a whole.
The Forum advised Yoruba and Nigerian youths to maintain peace and eschew violence, urging the people of the South-West and Nigerians not to be deceived by those claiming to be fighting Yoruba cause.
Rather, it enjoined them to ceaselessly and tirelessly work to ensure peace reigns supreme throughout Yorubaland, the South-West and the entire Nigerian nation.
It also appealed to the government, the various security agencies and other major stakeholders in Yorubaland and the country to rise to the challenge and ensure no individual or group violates the peace or instigate violence in the South-West.
The group further enjoined all well-meaning Yoruba and Nigerian youths to join hands in maintaining peace and opposing terrorism and agitation for secession by groups or individuals masquerading to cause chaos and endanger the lives and property of people of the South West and indeed Nigeria.
YAF stated this in a statement made available to journalists in Abuja by its National Coordinator of YAF, Adeshina Animashaun made this known on Thursday.
The Forum, therefore, advised the Federal Government and the governors of the six South-West states to ensure the deployment of adequate number of security agents throughout the region and Yorubaland as well as the entire country to tighten security and forestall any plan by any group or individuals to instigate violence and cause chaos and destruction in the area.
It added that security agencies should not relent in beefing up security across the South-West and the rest of the country to avert anarchy and restore peace and security.
YAF’s statement added, “We are a law-abiding and patriotic organisation whose major objective is the unity of all Nigerians under a very peaceful and progressive atmosphere. We cannot fold our arms and watch a few criminals in the name of secession to unleash terror in the South West. We must collectively strive to ensure peace in our South-West homestead and our dear country as a whole.
“Our fight for peace is a fight by all against these enemies of state and should not be left for government alone.
“We must all be vigilant and report suspicious movements to the nearest security agency within our areas.”
It also enjoined traditional rulers throughout Yorubaland to rise in defence of the region and their communities by advising youths in their domains to avoid violence and be vigilant so that they won’t be deceived into joining terrorist groups pretending to be agitating for an independent Yoruba nation.
“Any plot to destabilize Yorubaland will not work and we will resist it. Enough wasting of innocent lives in Nigeria,” YAF said.
It added, “On our own part as YAF members, we will continue to mobilize all our members across Yorubalnd to preach and promote peace throughout the South-West and the rest of Nigeria.
“We will continue to take steps to ensure no individuals or groups pretending to be expressing grievances against the government further destroy the economic and social well-being of our people.
“Our honest advice to any person or groups that may want to allow themselves to be used by the enemies of peace in the South-West and the rest of Nigeria is that they should turn new leaves, embrace and continue to work for the well-being of our kinsmen and all other citizens of Nigeria.”
YAF also decried last Friday’s ban on and the stoppage of its peace rally/sensitisation Motorcade by the police in Lagos.
The Forum expressed regret that the police in the state could not distinguish between it and other groups claiming to be championing Yoruba self-determination and independence with the disguised objective of destabilizing the country.
It noted that its objectives and consistent campaigns for peace throughout Yorubaland, the South-West and all over Nigeria had been misunderstood and misconstrued by the police, which had also misrepresented YAF to the public as one of those groups claiming to be agitating for the creation of a Yoruba nation and the disintegration of the Nigerian state.