The umbrella body of the Yoruba self-determination group known as Ilana Omo Oodua, headed by Professor Banji Akintoye has kicked against a report that it might be outlawed by the Nigerian government.
On Saturday, the office of the Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami said it was open to all options to put a stop to calls for Nigeria’s break-up.
In 2017, Malami alongside former Solicitor General of the Federation and Permanent Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Justice, Dayo Apata approached the Federal High Court in Abuja to give judicial backing to the Executive Order of President Muhammadu Buhari, outlawing the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and its activities in every part of Nigeria.
Following the recent reports that the Nigerian government was plotting to proscribe the group, Ilana Omo Oodua swiftly responded that it is not a terrorist group neither does it have any link with the prescribed group.
The Communications Manager of the group Maxwell Adeleye said the Buhari government won’t want to descend low to outlaw the group, Punch reports.
According to him, the Ilana Omo Oodua was not a terrorist group but a peaceful self-determination association with a belief in referendum and sensitisation through rallies.
Adeleye also noted that it had no military wing such as the Eastern Security Network (ESN) formed by IPOB.
He said, “There is no basis for the proscription of Ilana Omo Oodua. The government can only proscribe a terrorist group and not a peaceful group like Ilana Omo Oodua. All our members arrested in Ojota (area in Lagos), were charged with disturbance of public peace but later released. Why weren’t they charged with treasonable felony or murder?
“If the government proscribes us, we are going to challenge it in the court of law because we have committed no offence. It is an organisation that believes in peaceful agitation for self-determination. We even released a manual on peaceful agitation for self-determination as authored by our leader, Emeritus Professor Banji Akintoye.
“I do not think the Nigerian government will descend so low to proscribe a peaceful organisation like Ilana Omo Oodua. Professor Akintoye has released a formal statement that he is not afraid of arrest and that he is coming to Nigeria soon.”
While insisting that the group has no association with IPOB, Maxwell pointed out that they do not believe in the sit-at-home order issued in the South-East.
“Sit-at-home is never in our plan. Ilana Omo Oodua has no association with IPOB, so comparing IPOB methodology with ours is heretical. Our modus operandi is totally different. With all due respect to the members of IPOB, the only thing we have in common is that they want Biafra Nation and we want an independent Yoruba Nation.
“We are for peaceful self-determination; we believe in the referendum, we don’t want war, we are not going to shoot a gun or carry a cutlass to attack anyone. We do not have any military wing. We are for peace and we believe the best way to achieve this is by NINAS (Nigerian Indigenous Nationalities Alliance for Self-Determination) strategy of the referendum and that is why we have been holding rallies to sensitise our people,” he said.