The Yoruba Nation arrowhead, Prof Banji Akintoye, says he is not intimidated by the reported plot of the Federal Government to arrest him.
The leader of the self-determination group, Ilana Omo Oodua, said this in a statement on Sunday titled, ‘I am in Republic of Benin with Sunday Igboho, not on the run – Akintoye.’
The 86-year-old professor of history was reacting to an exclusive report by Sunday PUNCH that the ex-Senate member in the Second Republic left Nigeria about three months ago when he uncovered plot by the regime of the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.) to arrest him.
Akintoye and embattled Yoruba Nation agitator, Sunday Adeyemo aka Sunday Igboho have been seen holding press conferences and rallies to champion the cause for the secession of Yoruba Nation.
Igboho, now in a detention facility in Cotonou, had been declared wanted by the Department of State Services for allegedly stockpiling arms to destabilise Nigeria under the pretext of Yoruba Nation, an allegation he denied.
This was after the secret police raided Igboho’s Ibadan around 1am on July 1, 2021, killed two of his associates and arrested 12.
Igboho had gone underground and escaped to Benin Republic but was apprehended on July 19, 2021 around 8pm while he tried to board a flight to Germany with his wife, Ropo.
In a statement on Sunday, Akintoye said he didn’t run away from Nigeria but had been in Benin Republic to ensure the release of Igboho.
The statement was signed by his Communications Manager, Maxwell Adeleye.
According to the statement, Akintoye said just like Ighoho, he has committed no offense against Nigerian laws to warrant being arrested, intimidated or harassed.
Adeleye quoted Akintoye as saying, “Myself, the President-General and Professor Wale Adeniran (Chairman) of Ilana Omo Oodua, are currently in the Republic of Benin as reported, but not on the run.
“We are here to supervise and coordinate, by all legal and other means, the struggle for the release of our son and patriot, Sunday Adeyemo, detained by the government.
“By demanding peaceful self-determination for the Yoruba Nation, I am not breaking any law, since self-determination is recognised by the International and Nigerian laws to be an inalienable right of every nationality, large or small, in the world.
“I have earned a solid reputation as a highly respectable advocate of a peaceful self-determination struggle. I have even written a book on the subject which is already being used as a manual by Yoruba self-determination advocates and organisations.
“Irrespective of what the Nigerian Government may be planning against me, I want to say without any fear or intimidation that I will be returning to Nigeria immediately Ighoho is released from the custody. I can’t be intimidated because I’ve not committed any offense, just like Sunday Igboho.”