A former Minister of Aviation, Chief Femi Fani-Kayode, says it would be a big mistake for those he described as hardliners in the Federal Government to kill, arrest or detain Chief Sunday Adeyemo, aka Sunday Igboho.
Fani-Kayode said this in a statement on Friday.
He warned that harming Igboho would threaten the peace and stability of Nigeria.
According to him, Igboho represents the thoughts and aspirations of over 70 million Yoruba people, who see him as “the greatest hero of the South-West since Oduduwa.”
Fani-Kayode said Adeyemo has played a key role in the biggest post-war peace deal in Nigerian history by single-handedly guaranteeing the safety of innocent Hausa Fulanis in the South West and even offered to protect and receive them after the food embargo on the South was lifted and when the Northern food suppliers refused to come down South.
He said Igboho has made a pledge to keep the peace and has honoured that pledge and commitment.
“Without Igboho’s guarantee of safety for the northerners, the embargo would never have been lifted and a major conflict would have ensued,” he said.
“There was also a plan to attack Southerners in the North (which would have resulted in a massive retaliation in the South) by a very powerful and well organised Northern group, but this was dropped after Igboho gave his guarantee and committed to peace with those that come in peace and live in peace in Yorubaland.”
Fani-Kayode argued that Igboho saved both northern and southern lives by this single action and has refused to join others in attacking innocent Hausa Fulanis in the South-West.
He said: “Instead, he has focused on defending the Yoruba people and protecting them against the homicidal and violent Fulani terrorists that are launching daily attacks against them from the forests of the West.
“This is a matter of self-defence, and Igboho has consistently carried out these heroic operations in conjunction and collaboration with the local law enforcement agencies. That is why millions love and admire him: he has done what the FG has failed to do and provided security for our people.”
He warned that to kill or arrest such a man who has committed no crime and who millions all over the South West love and would gladly die for is a dangerous, reckless and self-destructive course to take.
He also spoke on Igboho’s belief in the establishment of an Oduduwa Republic, saying the aggression that trailed his declaration is needless, as “he is simply reflecting the views and voicing the aspirations of millions of Yoruba people.”
Rather than hunt Igboho like a common criminal, Fani-Kayode said if the Federal Government has any issue with him, it should dialogue with him and build bridges of peace and understanding.
“He is not a murderer or a terrorist, and neither has he breached any law or committed any offence. All he has sought and fought for is peace and security and the protection of his people against foreign invaders and killers who have occupied our land and who the Federal Government has been unable or unwilling to uproot and eradicate,” he said.
According to him, those “identifiable individuals from the South-West” that are jealous of Igboho’s rising profile and have urged the Federal Government to kill or arrest him are the real enemies of the Buhari administration and the enemies of the people of the South-West and Nigeria.
He added: “Peaceful co-existence with those we may not like or agree with is the only option we have as a people if we do not want another civil war.
“Building bridges of peace and fraternity even with those we may be opposed to is the best way forward if we wish to avoid an armed conflict.”