By Emmanuel Mogbede
The Yoruba Appraisal Forum (YAF) has re-emphasised that it had no affiliation with any individual or group championing the disintegration of Nigeria under the guise of agitating for a Yoruba nation.
Mr Adeshina Animashaun, YAF National Coordinator, said this in a statement on Wednesday in Abuja while appealing to South-West youths to avoid breaching existing peace in the region.
He warned Yoruba youths against aiding certain groups and individuals acting under the guise of agitating for an independent Yoruba nation to destabilise the region and the country.
Animashaun said Nigerian youths should exercise caution and vigilance to avoid being used to destabilise the country by unpatriotic groups and individuals.
He particularly warned Yoruba and youths that partaking in any unpatriotic activity, knowingly or unknowingly, could have serious consequences on them as individuals, the South-West and Nigeria as a whole.
He urged Yoruba youths to ensure that peace reigned supreme throughout the South-West and the entire country.
He advised them to maintain peace and eschew violence, urging the people of the South-West and other parts of Nigeria not to be deceived by those claiming to be fighting Yoruba cause.
He also appealed to the government, the various security agencies and other major stakeholders in Yoruba region and the country to rise to the challenge and ensure that no individual or group violated the peace or instigated violence in the South-West.
He advised the Federal Government and the governors of the six South-West states to ensure the deployment of adequate number of security agents throughout the region and the entire country.
The YAF national coordinator said this was critical to tighten security and forestall any plan by any group or individuals to instigate violence and cause chaos and destruction in the area.
Animashaun urged well-meaning Yoruba youths to join hands in maintaining peace and oppose terrorism and agitation for secession by groups or individuals.
“We are a law abiding and patriotic organisation which major objective is the unity of all Nigerians under a peaceful and progressive atmosphere.
“We cannot fold our arms and watch a few criminals in the name of secession to unleash terror in the South-West.
“We must collectively strive to ensure peace in our South-West homestead and our dear country as a whole.
“Our fight for peace is a fight by all against these enemies of state and should not be left for government alone,”Animashaun said.
He urged Yoruba to be vigilant and report suspicious movements to the nearest security agency within their areas.
He also called on traditional rulers in Yoruba region to rise in defence of the region and their communities by advising youths in their domains to avoid violence and to be vigilant.
According to him, such advice will prevent the youths from being deceived into joining terrorist groups pretending to be agitating for an independent Yoruba nation.
He urged parents to warn their children of the consequences of getting involved in crimes and treasonable offences.
He advised security agencies not to relent in beefing up security across the South-West and the rest of the country to avert anarchy and to restore peace and security.
“Any plot to destabilise Yorubaland will not work and we will resist it. Enough wasting of innocent lives in Nigeria,” he said.
Animashaun added that on its part, the YAF would continue to mobilise its members across Yorubaland to preach and promote peace throughout the South-West and the rest of the country.
He said that the forum would continue to take steps to ensure that no individual or groups pretending to be expressing grievances against the government further destroy the economic and social wellbeing of its people.
He, however, decried the recent ban and the stoppage of its peaceful and sensitisation rally by the police in Lagos State.
He expressed regrets that the police could not distinguish between it and other groups claiming to be championing Yoruba self-determination and independence.
He said it was regrettable that its objectives and consistent campaigns for peace throughout Yorubaland, the South-West and the country generally had been misunderstood and misconstrued by the police.
“YAF believes there is no better time than now for all hands to be on deck for peace in Yorubaland, the South-West and the entire nation,” Animashaun.