OPC threatens reprisal over Ijaw militants’ attacks on Yorubaland

The Oodua Peoples Congress (OPC) has threatened sustained reprisal attacks on individuals and business interests of the Ijaw extraction in the South-West, over the spate of killings and kidnapping in Ogun and Lagos states by suspected Niger Delta militants.

The body warned that its members were increasingly becoming restive because they could no longer tolerate the Ijaw militants for misconstruing the hospitality of the Yoruba people for a sign of weakness and stupidity.

Scores of residents have fled their communities when the militants invaded Imusin and Ogijo in  Ogun and riverine communities in Ikorodu area of Lagos State, with dizzying rise in cases of kidnapping of persons, including the traditional ruler of Iba land in Lagos, Oba Goriola Oseni.

Acting under the aegis of OPC (Reformed), the pan-Yoruba organisation declared, in a statement issued by Comrade Dare Adesope and entitled: ‘‘Incursion of Ijaw militants into Yoruba land: Enough is enough,’’ stated that the attacks “right on our own soil” amounted to an affront to the Yoruba nation and would henceforth attract “decisive but comprehensive actions.

“Enough of these invasions, killings and kidnapping of our people right on our own soil. We of the Oodua Peoples Congress (Reformed) have waited for this long, hoping that the government would  curb the deadly acts of the Ijaw people on our kinsmen in their fatherland in Ogun and Lagos states. But, it has now dawned on us that the lives and properties of our people and, indeed, the masses are of no importance to those in authorities and the marauding militants.

“We are not amazed at all, because if the deputy governor of a state, who was carrying out an assignment on the instruction of her governor, could be shot at, either directly or indirectly by the so-called Ijaw militants, and up till now, nothing has been done about it, then the Yoruba need to take their collective destiny in their own hands,” the OPC stated.

Wondering if the current  development was not an indication that certain categories of Yoruba leaders had been compromised by external forces, the body said its primary mandate as a pan-Yoruba organisation was to protect the interest of the Yoruba race at all times, especially when it was under serious threats.

It said its members had resolved to pick the gauntlet to pay the Ijaw militants back in their own coin if, within 14 days, their leaders failed to call them to order and arrest their incursion into the South-West.

“It is a known fact that we, the Yoruba, are the most contented, accommodating and tolerant among all the ethnic groups in Nigeria. We wholeheartedly welcome other tribes coming into our states either to reside or do business. But, if they want to take our hospitality for stupidity, we are ready to prove to them that the gentility of a tiger is not an act of cowardice. Before now, it was the Fulani herdsmen, now it is the Ijaw people that are on the prowl. Enough is enough!

“Consequently, we are giving the Ijaw militants a 14-day ultimatum to allow peace to reign in our land. If they fail to heed the warning, it will henceforth be an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. We will prove to them that Lagos belongs to the Yoruba and not a no man’s land that they tend to erroneously claim.

“If they must care to know, we have information and facts about where their leaders’ properties are situated in the entire South-West and where their people reside in our midst as well,” it warned.

However, the organisation called on “all Oodua descendants to immediately take their destiny as a race in our hands by giving us absolute support,” just as the organisation urged “all well-meaning Yoruba leaders to convene a meeting, where they can deliberate on how to put a lasting solution to all the unwanted crises in our land.”