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Boko Haram Consuming Nigeria Under Buhari’s Watch, Says Kukah

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The Catholic Bishop of Sokoto, Bishop Matthew Kukah on Sunday berated the current administration for its handling of Nigeria’s security challenges, saying Boko Haram terrorists are consuming the nation under President Muhammadu Buhari’s watch.

Kukah in his 2021 Easter message titled, ‘Before our glory departs’, recalled that President Buhari had in 2015 described Boko Haram insurgents as a typical case of small fires causing large fires.

“On May 29, 2015, President Muhammadu Buhari, at his swearing-in as President of Nigeria, said: Boko Haram is a typical case of small fires causing large fires,” Kukah said.

“Now, before his watch, the fires are consuming the nation, and in many instances, they indeed start small.

“In all, Nigeria’s troubles are growing by the day, but our hands must remain stretched out in supplication.”

Bishop Kukah also blamed those in power for the increasing cases of banditry, kidnapping, terrorism and armed robbery in the country, noting that insecurity keeps deteriorating because the ruling class pays more attention to rehabilitating bandits and kidnappers than the victims.

He expressed concern over the killing of security operatives and the “helplessness” of the citizens, saying: “Taunted by Boko Haram, ravaged by bandits, kidnappers, armed robbers, and other merchants of death across the nation, there is collective fear as to whether Nigeria’s glory is about to depart! Retired military and intelligence officers lament over what has become of their glorious profession as they watch the humiliation of our military personnel.

“Traumatised citizens are tortured daily by bandits. The nation has since become a massive killing field, as both government and the governed look on helplessly.

“A thick and suffocating cloud of desperation, despondency, desolation, gloom, and misery hangs in the hot air. We have no message and have no idea how long this will last. Our people seek solace and protection, but frustration and darkness threaten to drown them. Is their government on AWOL?”

SEE FULL STATEMENT HERE:

NIGERIA: BEFORE OUR GLORY DEPARTS

EASTER MESSAGE, April 4th 2021

By Matthew Hassan KUKAH, Catholic Bishop of Sokoto Diocese

If a religious leader is afraid to say what is right, what else can his silence mean but that he has taken flight? Hiding behind a wall of silence is like taking flight at the approach of the wolf.

Pope St. Gregory the Great (540–604 AD)


1: Easter Sunday is here again. But first, let us step back to Friday.

Good Friday was a Kairos moment for the beleaguered followers of Jesus, a defining moment that separated truth from falsehood and light from the darkness. At Golgotha, Jesus remained silent when the first thief taunted Him, and when bystanders scornfully asked him to demonstrate His divine powers by coming down from the cross. Everything about Christ–the prophecies of His birth, His life on earth, the miracles He performed, the sermons He preached, His torture and subsequent death–now hung languidly on a wooden cross on the hill of Golgotha. There were two types of persons at Golgotha: observers and waiters. The observers had two characteristics, derision and curiosity.

The waiters were characterised by hope, fear, and anxiety. Both sides watched and waited with bated breath. After His ignominious death, everything now depended on the third day. After all, He had said He would rise after three days (Mk. 9:31).

2: Let us pause and look back at the earlier events in the life of Jesus. Let us look briefly at the drama of the three temptations of Jesus by the devil as recorded by St. Matthew. First, the devil has a sense of perfect timing when he approached Jesus. He knows that Jesus had fasted for forty days and nights without food and was hungry (Mt. 4:2). Prove that you are the Son of God: turn these stones into bread, he said (Mt. 4:3). In response, Jesus says: Man will not live on bread alone (Mt. 4:4). Here, Jesus insists

that there are higher goals for us to live or die for. The devil had hoped that like the dictators of today, Jesus could seduce the people with the bread of temporal power to gain cheap followership. No, Jesus says, you must set a higher moral goal.

Second, the devil asks Jesus to throw himself down the cliff. After all, he tells Jesus, the Angels of God will hold you (Mt. 4:6). Here, Jesus is called to take a shortcut to fame.

Why travel the hard road of suffering, sacrifice, exclusion, and powerlessness? Succumb to the seduction of the dreamer, the charmer, climb the actor’s shoulder. And then what next? Jesus rejects this temptation. Why? Because God demands more than theatrical performances from us.

Third, the devil says he will give Jesus all the kingdoms of the world (money, power, territory) only if He bows and acknowledges him (Mt. 4:8). Wow! No better evidence that the devil is a liar. He knows he has no kingdom and what he has is his kingdom of darkness and lies. It was in this same manner that the devil deceived Eve at the Garden of Eden by mixing a concoction of lies. At the base of this temptation is the seduction of pride and power. God knows that the day you eat it, your eyes will be opened and you will be like God (Gen. 3:5). Think of the many who have sold their souls for ephemeral power, those who have denied Jesus by action so as to ascend the throne of power. By His resistance to the devil, Jesus shows that following His path will require tremendous sacrifice.

3: It’s now Saturday night. The clock is ticking. Will He or will He not rise as He said?

No one knows what to expect. Will Jesus be exposed as a fraud? The Apostles are retired, desolate, forlorn, woebegone, and despondent. Has it all come to nothing? Have they lost everything? Has it all just been an illusion? Was Peter right when he asked what their reward would be, having forgone everything to follow Him? (Mt. 19:27) Has this been one wild goose chase? Where would they turn to now? The sun gradually sets

on Saturday. The night has in its womb, a combination of the derision and curiosity binding the observers and waiters. A cloud of trepidation envelopes everywhere. The Roman authorities have built a concrete wall of military security around the grave. They sealed the stone and placed heavy military guard just in case, as they feared, His followers come and steal the body and pretend that He had risen (Mt. 27: 64).

4: Sunday morning would seal the fate of everyone on both sides.

As it turns out, the world forgot that: He who guards Israel neither slumbers nor sleeps (Ps. 121:4). Before daybreak, a woman, Mary Magdalene, visits the grave to perform a simple ritual. To her shock, she finds an empty tomb! (Jn. 20:1). Slowly, painfully, unbelievably, the words go out: They have taken the body of the Lord away and we do not know where they have put Him (Jn. 20:2). They will soon realise that, indeed, His resurrection is only a fulfilment of what He had promised during His lifetime. The devil has been defeated, and the Lord has the final word. Truth has drowned falsehood. Light has overcome darkness. Good has triumphed over evil. Life has defeated death.

5: The Roman soldiers who stood guard over the grave were like dead men (Mt. 28:3).

However, rather than face punishment, the Roman authorities offered to bribe them and asked them to lie that the Lord’s body had been stolen while they were sleeping! (Mt. 28:13). It is too late: The Lord is risen indeed! World history succumbs to the power of the Creator of heaven and earth. Time and space have merged. History’s calendar is split into two. Henceforth, everything will be marked by whether it happened before or after the resurrection of Jesus Christ! This is what Christians celebrate today. But what is the implication of all this for us in Nigeria today?

6: Nigeria’s current predicament reminds me of Israel’s situation that led to the death of Eli, the great High Priest of Israel. Israel’s defeat in the hands of the Philistines led to the death of 30,000 soldiers. The two sons of the 98-year-old priest – Hophni and Phinehas – died in the battle. Eli’s two sons had foolishly carried the Ark of the Lord into the battlefield for protection, only for it to become a trophy for the victorious Philistines.

The high priest, Eli, collapsed and died after hearing this horrible news. Elsewhere, on hearing about the death of her husband, her father- in-law, and the loss of the Ark, Eli’s daughter-in-law went into premature labour. She was delivered of a baby boy–a call for great celebration in Israel! Strangely, she responded by naming her newborn son “Ichabod,” meaning, The glory has departed!

7: Taunted by Boko Haram, ravaged by bandits, kidnappers, armed robbers, and other merchants of death across the nation, there is collective fear as to whether Nigeria’s glory is about to depart! Retired military and intelligence officers lament over what has become of their glorious profession as they watch the humiliation of our military personnel. Traumatised citizens are tortured daily by bandits. The nation has since become a massive killing field, as both government and the governed look on helplessly. A thick and suffocating cloud of desperation, despondency, desolation, gloom, and misery hangs in the hot air. We have no message and have no idea how long this will last. Our people seek solace and protection, but frustration and darkness threaten to drown them. Is their government on AWOL?

8: Two weeks ago, I came across a video in which a very frustrated Muslim cleric, addressing a Muslim audience, lamented: If you killed 200 chickens in the farm of any of the big farmers, you will be dealt with. But today, we are being killed. It is your fault. On the day of elections, you say, it is Jihad! Christians will take over Nigeria! Ok, the Christians did not take Nigeria. It has been left in the hands of those who sit and see us being killed. If we are killed, the head says, God forbid! He was not elected to say God forbid. This imaginary jihad won the elections now where are the jihadists? The lesson here is that politicians will use religion to mobilise for elections, but they cannot use it to govern.

9: The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria weighed in with a strong statement on February 23, 2021, titled, We Must Pull Back from the Brink of Collapse. Part of the statement read: The very survival of the nation is at stake. The nation is pulling apart.

Widespread serious insecurity for long unaddressed has left the sad and dangerous impressions that those who have assumed the duty and authority to secure the nation are either unable or worse, unwilling to take up the responsibilities to their office.

Patience is running out. Sadly, all of these warnings are still falling on deaf ears.

10: It may sound strange, but for us Christians, the celebration of the resurrection of Christ is the greatest assurance that all these will pass away. This is not a call for us to simply sit on our hands or believe we can pray our crises away. As pointed out above, the sufferings of Jesus and His Cross provide us with the perfect mirror of our hope. St. Paul reminds us: We are hard-pressed on all sides, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted but not forsaken, struck down but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body (2 Cor. 4:9). These are the hallmarks of our faith. We must remain steadfast.

11: I appeal to Christians to continue in the spirit of the Gospel, the teachings of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. St. Paul says: Though He was God, he humbled himself, became man and remained obedient up till death (Phil. 2:6ff). Following in His steps, we Christians have lived through the life of martyrdom. Jesus taught us how to pray for our enemies (Mt. 5:44). Although His teachings are hard (Jn. 6:60), it was not the guns of a powerful army that brought down the walls of Jericho. The prayers of the priests did (Jos. 6:20). Jesus defied the temptations of coming down from the Cross. He knew there was a higher truth deferred. It was fulfilled on Easter day. No matter the provocation, we must arm ourselves with the weapons of truth, the Word, the Spirit, and love. At the heart of Christianity is the Truth and Love.

12: Today, many of us erroneously speak about the trial of Jesus by Pilate on Good Friday. In reality, it was Pilate who stood trial, not Jesus. Pilate sat on a throne to judge what he himself was ignorant of–the truth. Chained by ignorance, the powerful often grope around a twilight zone between truth and lies. At the mention of the word “Truth” by Jesus, Pilate was jolted from his chair. In trepidation and apprehension, the mighty man says, Truth, what is that? (Jn. 18:38). Pilate was looking for the Truth but did not recognise it when it stood right before him. In every age, the seduction of raw power tends to blind the Pilates of this world to the truth.

13: When governments face legitimacy crises, they fall back on serving the sour broth of propaganda, half-truths, and outright lies. They manufacture consent by creating imaginary enemies, setting citizens against one another by deploying religion, ethnicity, region, and other platforms while appealing to the base emotions of patriotism. We forget the reality that without truth, the throne of power often turns into a cage, and the occupant is turned into a prisoner. In reality, the truth needs neither a judge nor a witness. The truth is its own judge and witness. Without the truth, as the old song says, all else is sinking sand!

14: Recently, according to the World Happiness Report, we are one of the unhappiest nations in the world. This is unacceptable but understandable. Our clay-footed fight against corruption has not moved the needle of transparency forward. Of course, being the poverty capital of the world comes with its rewards such as banditry, violence, death, sorrow, blood, poverty, misery, and tears. Our cup of sorrow is permanently full; hence the exponential rise in the frustration curve across the country.

15: Sadly, human life is haemorrhaging so badly in Nigeria, but the greatest tragedy is the death of empathy from those in power. Mysteriously, the government is investing billions of naira in rehabilitating so-called Boko Haram repentant members and their other partners in crime in the belief that they want to turn a new leaf. These criminals have waged war against their country, murdered thousands of citizens, destroyed infrastructure and rendered entire families permanently displaced and dislocated. Why should rehabilitating the perpetrator be more important than bringing succour to the victims?

16: When kidnapped or killed, victims and their families are left to their wits. They cry alone, bury their loved ones alone. And our government expects us to be patriotic? The victims of violence need empathy, which the dictionary defines as the ability to understand and share the feelings of the other. A critical deficit of empathy on the side of the government makes healing almost impossible for the victims. We have not heard anything about a rehabilitation programme for the thousands of schoolchildren who have been victims of abduction. We seem to assume that their return to their schools is sufficient. Left unaddressed, the traumatic effect of their horrors will haunt them for a long time. Tomorrow’s parents, military generals, top security men and women, governors, senators, and ministers will come from today’s pool of traumatised children.

The security quandary is the greatest indictment of this government.

17: There is a time for everything under the sun (Eccl. 3:1). Perhaps, we can paraphrase this by saying there is a time for war and a time for peace. There is a time for poverty and a time for wealth. There is a time for stealing and a time for returning what has been stolen. There is a time for politics and a time for governance. There is a time for tethering to the brink of chaos and a time for recovering the soul of a nation.

There is a time for the collapse of morality and a time for moral recovery. There is a time for leadership and a time for statesmanship. There is a time for losing greatness and a time for achieving greatness. Nigeria must now ask itself: What is left of our glory? Where are the values that held us together?

18: On our national Coat of Arms, we profess our motto to be: Unity and Faith, Peace and Progress. But let us ask ourselves: Is Nigeria united today? Do citizens still have faith in the country? Where are the signs of peace or progress? Today, before our very eyes, these words have been emptied of their flavour and have lost their resonance and capacity to summon our citizens to patriotism. St Augustine once said: Remove justice, and what are kingdoms but gangs of criminals on a large scale? He further said that: A gang is a group of men (and women) under the command of a leader, bound by a compact of association, in which the plunder is divided according to an agreed convention. This is the fate of our nation today. Day by day, Nigeria drifts irreversibly into a dark tunnel. Things are falling apart with unnerving rapidity because those who govern have only a pact to protect their interests. Politics is merely its conveyor belt of ambition. Nigeria has a date with destiny. If we do not turn around, The axe is alreadylaid to the roots of the tree (Mt. 3:10).

19: With some chance, we might pull through this, but it is getting tougher each passing day. Does anyone remember where we started and how we got here? On May 29, 2015, President Muhammadu Buhari, at his swearing-in as President of Nigeria, said: Boko Haram is a typical case of small fires causing large fires. Now, before his watch, the fires are consuming the nation, and in many instances, they indeed start small. The rumblings over the wearing of a hijab in Kwara State suggest that we have not seen the end of individuals sacrificing national cohesion to feed their personal ambitions by starting small fires. Most politicians hardly think through the long-term effects of these pyrrhic victories of using religion. What started as a small fire with adoption of Sharia in Zamfara in 1999, spread across the northern states. Ordinary people broke into ecstatic joy. Today, what has become of the north? What are the lessons?

20: In all, Nigeria’s troubles are growing by the day, but our hands must remain stretched out in supplication. Prophet Isaiah’s words should give us hope and consolation. He said: When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze (Isaiah 43:2). We shall lift our eyes to the mountain because we know that our help shall come from the Lord (Ps. 121:1). As Christians, we do not trust in God because we cannot revenge. We do not revenge because we trust in God. The Lord will fight for you; you need only be still (Ex. 14:14). Just as the chains of death could not hold Jesus in the grave, so shall we triumph. Break into shouts of joy together, O ruins of Jerusalem; for the Lord has consoled his people, he has redeemed Jerusalem (Isaiah 52:9). Have hope and be cheerful (Rom. 12:12).

A very happy and peaceful Easter to everyone.

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‘You’re A Mole In PDP’- Nigerians Attack Agbaje For Criticizing Sanwo-Olu

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Former governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Lagos, Jimi Agbaje, has come under heavy criticism for describing Lagos State Gov, Babatunde Sanwo-Olu as an underperformed governor.

Agbaje, who on Saturday scored Sanwo-Olu’s Govt low in performance since his assumption into office in 2019, describing his claimed achievements as imaginary.

The PDP chieftain expressed disappointment at the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) for wasting its 21 years in power in the state. He accused the government of lacking transparency due to their refusal to make budget spending public.

However, Nigerians on social media have blasted Agbaje’s claim, describing it as a desperate act to make himself relevant ahead of the 2023 election.

@AbiolaRuth29 Election is around the Conner this man as show face again, after loosing he will disappear .now is telling us who’s not performing.

@Babz_nd So bro Jimi still never get hair for him headRolling on the floor laughingRolling on the floor laughing and him dey complain sey person never do anything

@YinkaAfe After the third time we had turned him down at the polls, he wept. Jimi Agbaje needs to weep like… to win at the poll to eventually come and fumble like him as well

@BajTunji D one & only thing Sanwolu has achieved is how he sent d military & police to massacre those very fine young peaceful protesters at Lekki toll gate.And perhaps how Sanwolu,Ambode & Tinubu have been using DPP to kill any criminal cases involving dem or those work 4 dem. Awon Werey

@akinmusi Egbon Jimi Agbaje wey APC and Tinubu dey carry for handicap and under 0.1. Bros go soon crawl back to his hole. Rolling on the floor laughingRolling on the floor laughing

@igboamaka12 Jimi Agbaje is a cyclic politician who crawls back into his shell after every election cycle.
Methinks he started very very early this time around. A commendable step but nothing for him. We need a new blood different in all ways from the old school

@adenijimikel Is he even a politician?that guy av never being an opponent to APC is just as if dey fix him to render PDP useless in lagos state though I did not see anything changing in lagos, lagosians political destiny is in d hands of tinubu,he control all lagos when it comes to politics

@highlandre1 Why are you all rallying Jimi Agbaje?
Sanwoolu has underperformed in areas of security, infrastructure, policy enforcement & people engagement. When last did you see functional street lights in Lagos? We read on a daily basis how robbers attack in the day and at night. Isn’t it?

@tolusefrancis Rest! We’re not saying Sanyo-Olu is good. The issue is that Jimi has suddenly found his voice because election is near

@Patrick05856722 He has fixed all the potholes from Ajah to Eleko junction. I am not his fans but he did. From Eleko junction a heavy duty road construction is on going to Epe. Yes, he did.

@_keepgoingat_it So fixing potholes is now an achievement. Ok.

@godwinplanna Ah, Jimi Agbaje came out too early o. Dude has reviewed his political engagement timetable.

@mademenFP Sir i think this is the best time for him to contest against the party

@BajTunji Lagos state government uses its Attorney-General of Lagos Moyosore Onigbanjo to stop & kill any cases involving them. They steal deceased people’s money in their care & use Lagos judiciary to further oppress & repress dem. My close friend was a victim even in d face of Evidence

@opeyemifolarin1 This is deep. Kindly explain further

@TaiwoZosu I will call him Jimi Agbaya…you lick from Tinubu’s plate secretly and come out to yarn rubbish just to deceive the public. Eranko jatijati

@Lionheart_147 Are you annoyed he is saying the truth?

@iykedave11 Jimi agbaje is an APC insider in the PDP so he is out there to make it look like he wants to contest while all he need do is lose so that Tinubu can continue to protect his business. Don’t be deceived this man has never been an opposition because appearing after 4yrs can’t do it

@deproff8 Exactly Handshake

@adexiology4all Jimi Agbaje, what did you do in the last Lagos State election when lagosians needed u the most, sanwo olu posters were all of Lagos State, u didn’t not create awareness for lagosians to vote APC out, instead u were doing low-key campaign and here u are complaining,

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I Never Used Political Power To Oppress People – Jonathan

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Former President Goodluck Jonathan said in Benin on Sunday that he never believes in the use of temporary political office to punish people.

“My belief, particularly when I joined politics is not to use a temporary privilege, a temporary position God has given to me to punish people,’’ he said.

He was delivering an address at the 50th birthday celebration of Apostle Charles Osazuwa, President of the Rock of Ages Christian Assembly when he made the submission.

Jonathan stressed that people would always be remembered for legacies they left behind.

“Some of the things I did while in office to which people still make reference were based on the conviction not to use my position to cause the death of anybody. Any position I have occupied by divine providence should not be used to create hardship for other people,’’ he said.

“Just at 50 years, you have impacted significantly on many lives,’’ he told the cleric.

In his address, Edo’s Gov. Godwin Obaseki lauded Apostle Osazuwa for using the word of God to address current realities and challenges facing the country.

“What singles you (Apostle Osazuwa) out is your ability and capacity to use and link the challenges we are having today as a country with the scriptures and to use same to give hope to the people particularly the youths.

“Apostle Osazuwa understands the role of God and the role of the scripture in our modern society; nobody, in my view has been able to explain things the way he does.

“Government helps to organise us and when government fails to help us to express ourselves, it’s the church and men of God like you that help us to pick up the piece; government will always be grateful to people like you,’’ he said.

Gov. Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta, who was also in attendance, commended the Apostle Osazuwa for using the church to impact on the lives of the people.

Okowa said that the Church was in a position to proffer solutions to challenges facing the nation and urged its ministers to continue to speak truth to power.

Earlier, Apostle Osazuwa, enjoined politicians to make life easier for the masses.

“King David used his position to make things easier for the children of Israel. I encourage our governors and all politicians not to use their positions to cause pain in the lives of the people,’’ he said.

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Yoruba Nation Agitators Converge On Osogbo, Demand Independence

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Agitators for the independence of the Yoruba nation from Nigeria, yesterday, in Osun State, braved heavy security presence deployed to strategic points, as they marched through streets of Osogbo, the state capital, chanting various solidarity and liberation songs while displaying Oodua flags.

The protesters were drawn from various groups across the Southwestern states, among which are Ilana Omo Oodua and Isokan Omo Oodua, and Kwara, Kogi, Delta and Edo states.

Dressed in various outfits, the agitators demonstrated and marched from the November 27 bridge in the Africa area to the convergence point at Nelson Mandela Freedom Park, Osogbo for the rally. As they approached the Freedom Park, they were undeterred by the presence of men of the Department of State Service (DSS), Nigeria Police Force, Joint Task Force, Nigerian Army, Amotekun and other local operatives.

After spending over two hours at the rally venue, they marched to the Ataoja of Osogbo, Oba Jimoh Olanipekun’s palace to pay homage.

The tension in Osogbo ahead of the rally had heightened earlier when Sunday Adeyemo, a self-professed Yoruba freedom fighter, popularly known as Sunday Igboho, arrived in a convoy to join the protesters.

Addressing the agitators, Adeyemo declared that the actualisation of Yoruba nation is an idea whose time has come and that Yoruba rights to self-determination are inalienable. He claimed that the Yoruba people were being marginalised and short-changed; adding that Yoruba would boycott elections in 2023 in the country should the Nigerian government fail to allow them to secede.

The Yoruba freedom fighter gave the Oyo State government and the Nigeria Police, Oyo command, a week ultimatum to release members of the Oodua Peoples Congress (OPC) arrested in Ibarapa recently. He said should they fail to accede to the demand, he would mobilise Yoruba people in protest.

He thanked all the Southwest governors for declaring support for the agitation and called on the Yoruba people to be united so their dream of breaking away from Nigeria can be actualised.

Speaking in Yoruba language, Adeyemo said: “The Nigerian governments are deceiving us and oppressing us. All key positions have been taken over by the Hausa-Fulani people. We the Yoruba are tired of being enslaved and cheated. We thank Osun State Governor, Gboyega Oyetola for allowing us to gather peacefully to demand for the Yoruba Nation. We also thank the Ataoja of Osogbo for believing in and supporting us. The Ataoja told us that he could not open his eyes and watch the Fulani keep oppressing his people. Also, we are grateful to the Alaafin of Oyo, Alake of Egbaland, our fathers, Pa Ayo Adebanjo and Prof. Seth Akintoye, for their support.

“We are not happy because, in spite of the fact that the Fulani and Hausa people are the ones benefiting from Nigeria, they have been killing our people. We are being marginalised. Therefore, we don’t want to belong to Nigeria again. We are happy that our governors are now speaking up. We know they are behind us.

“We insist that there would be no election in Yoruba Land until we are given Yoruba Nation. They (Nigerian Government) thought we are joking with them; we will let them know how serious we are. In Libya, no matter how impoverished you are, you will own a car and house but what do we see in this country, abject poverty everywhere. We have limitless mineral resources, yet we are suffering. There is no going back on our agitation for the freedom of the Yoruba nation,” he declared.

Also speaking, the Secretary-General of Ilana Omo Oodua, Arc. George Akinola, and Head of Youth Development of the group, Dr. Akin Adejuwon called on Yoruba youths to join the movement for the agitation of the Yoruba nation, stressing that Nigeria couldn’t continue to be united.

Adejuwon, a cultural studies at the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, said the rally was to enlighten youths to fight for their freedom and that of the Yoruba People.

Meanwhile, the Itsekiri people, who joined the rally in Osogbo, asked the Federal Government to conduct a referendum and allow those demanding secession to be free.

The Director of Mobilisation, Itsekiri National Youth Council in Edo State, Comrade S. O. Nesiangho, disclosed that the Niger Deltans are with Yoruba Nation, adding: “We are in full support of the Yoruba nation. We are tired of the suffering in this country. We are going with the Yoruba People.”

But the newly inaugurated executive Ijaw National Congress (INC) has warned secessionists and those clamouring for a separate republic that the Ijaw are not part of either Biafra or Oduduwa Republic, saying that the Ijaw have never been conquered.

The new INC President, Benjamin Okaba, who spoke during the inauguration of the new executive of the Ijaw apex body in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State, said the Ijaw remain part of present-day Nigeria until they decide to leave if they are no longer comfortable with the present arrangement.

Okaba, who stated that INC would collaborate with other ethnic minorities that share the same experiences with the Ijaws to achieve their dreams, said the ethnic group was aware of surreptitious moves by some groups to annex territories in the Niger Delta because of its resources, but that no part of Ijaw would be ceded or conquered.

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