As part of the effort to give support to the ‘Operation Amotekun’ initiative, the Yoruba World Congress (YWC), an umbrella body of all Yoruba socio-cultural groups, had declared a one-day peaceful protest in the six western geopolitical zones.
In support of the recently launched Western Nigeria Security Network, Operation Amotekun, the YWC tasked residents in the Ogun, Ondo, Ekiti, Lagos, Oyo, Osun to stage a protest rally on Tuesday 21st January 2020.
Residents of Ondo State, during a solidarity walk in Akure, have described the ‘Operation Amotekun’ outfit as the only alternative to curb the menace of insecurity within the South-West states.
The residents who converged at the MKO Democracy Park, Oja-Oba, Akure, the state capital, were addressed by the Ondo State Coordinator of the group, Oluyi Tayo Akintade who emphasized that ‘Operation Amotekun’ has come to stay in the South-West states, stressing that no amount of threats will cow the Yorubas to back down on the move.
Akintade added that “We will do everything to support these brave governors as they work tirelessly to see to a more secure South West people and states.
Meanwhile, the planned solidarity flopped in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital, as only a few people showed up.
At Panseke area, the venue of the walk in Abeokuta, scores of security operatives from the Nigeria Police, Department of State Services (DSS) and Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), positioned themselves at strategic places apparently to forestall a breakdown of law and order.
It was gathered that the heavy security presence sent strong signals and may have prevented many people from showing up at the solidarity walk.
Also in Oyo State, security operatives at the protest venue have been boosted with the presence of officers from the Department of State Service (DSS) and Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC).
Inscriptions on the banners displayed by the protesters read “Yoruba Omo Oodua: Protect Yourself, Amotekun,” “On Amotekun we stand,” “We want to know who owns the Land. Amotekun,” No Amotekun, No Hisbah,” among others.
Meanwhile, in Osun State, a group which consist of Agbekoya, hunters guide and other stakeholders converged at the Nelson Mandela Freedom Park Osogbo at about 9:20 am before it commenced procession through major streets of the state capital.
Security operatives, consisting of Police, Department of State Security, Civil Defense Corps were also visible in their numbers to ensure that the protest is not hijacked by hoodlums.
Similarly, in Lagos, observers at the venue of the protest reported that over 20 police vans with armed policemen were present to prevent the group from accessing the park.
However, a cleric and key members of hunters as well as members of the Oodua People’s Congress (OPC), among other stakeholders were reported to have led the protest in Ekiti State.
Also in the rally were members of the National Association of Nigerian Students(NANS), Vigilante Group of Nigeria, Yoruba Koya, Man ‘O War, Oodua Union, Ekiti Council of Elders, Agbekoya Movement, and other members of the society who walked from the popular Fajuyi park through Okesa junction, Ojumose to the popular Erekesan market and Ijigbo area of Ado Ekiti capital.
Speaking at the rally, a cleric and coordinator of the peaceful protest, Pastor Praise Ayodele, said, “Amotekun has come to stay in south-west Nigeria. We are not fighting anybody. The security of our people is very important. We are to do this to support our governors that we are happy with Amotekun.
“It is sad that our people were being killed and kidnapped and many of this carnage were without arrests. We are daily living in fear of being killed and these and many more are the reasons for the formation of Amotekun.”
Recall that the launch of the new security outfit has attracted several attentions from many prominent Nigerians, groups and bodies, while some have seen the outfit as a good development, others have seen it as an aberration to the existing constitution and security agencies.