The umbrella body for Yoruba self-determination groups, Ilana Omo Oodua has revealed its efforts towards securing the release of Yoruba freedom fighter, Sunday Adeyemo, popularly known as Sunday Igboho.
The group disclosed that all hands are on deck to ensure Igboho is released and able to get medical care.
This was made known by the General Secretary of the group, Opeoluwa George Akinola during an interview with BBC Yoruba.
Akinola said even though Ilana Omo Oodua does not have a team of medical professionals, the struggle is to prevail upon the Beninese government to release Igboho from prison.
He said, “For the Nigerian government not to regret this issue, and for the Benin government to have regrets over a matter that does not directly affect it, Sunday Igboho should be allowed to go on peacefully.
“Truly, the Ilana Omo Oodua is not a team of medical professionals, but what we are doing is to simply call for Sunday Igboho’s release because we are not known for fighting, and we are not violent.
“What we are telling the government is that Igboho is someone fighting for the independence of the Yoruba land in accordance with the law, thus he should be set free and be at peace.”
He noted that members of Ilana Ọmọ Oodua frequently pay visits to Igboho in the Beninese prison where he has been held since his arrest in July.
Reacting to allegations that the group had turned its back on Igboho since he was arrested and taken to prison, the General Secretary said that was not the case.
According to him, since Igboho joined the group, the Ilana Omo Oodua has not relented in ensuring his safety.
He said, “We are well brought up individuals, we are not bastards. Since Igboho has been detained, we have shown our support for him and all the people arrested in Lagos during the Yoruba Nation rally on July 3; we fought for all of them.”
He further said the group had been footing a substantial part of the legal fees for Igboho’s court case and other Yoruba nation activists that had been illegally arrested by Nigerian forces.
He said: “We are fighting for all our children, we sought the services of countless lawyers in Nigeria and in the Republic of Benin in order to secure the release of Sunday Igboho.
“Ilana Ọmọ Oodua contributed about 95% of the fees in the struggle for the freedom of prisoners.
“We still see Igboho at all times, all our lawyers from France and around the world are working every day to make sure Igboho and the other prisoners are released.”
He added: “This struggle is not just for Sunday Igboho, it is not just a struggle for (Banji) Akintoye, it is a struggle for all of us.
“What we want is to leave Nigeria, we do not want any restructuring, we just want to be independent.”
Calls for the release of Igboho have been on the increase following rumours that some of the activist’s internal organs may have failed.
Igboho’s lawyer, Yomi Aliyu pleaded with the government of Benin Republic to immediately release the activist for urgent medical attention overseas.
In an interview with BBC Yoruba, Aliyu said the Beninese government should allow the activist to seek medical treatment because of his ill health.
Aliyu described Igboho’s ailment as serious, adding that he needs both prayers and medical care.
Aliyu said the sickness started while Igboho was trying to escape an invasion of his house by operatives of the Department of State Services (DSS).
Olayomi Koiki, Igboho’s spokesperson had said his principal was in urgent need of medical attention.
Igboho was arrested alongside his wife in Cotonou, Benin Republic by security operatives in the West African country on July 19 after fleeing Nigeria to evade arrest by Nigeria’s secret police.
The DSS had declared Igboho wanted after its operatives carried out a bloody raid on his residence in the Soka area of Ibadan, Oyo State, killing two people and arresting 12 aides but Igboho escaped.
DSS Public Relations Officer, Peter Afunnaya, had advised Igboho to turn himself in.
However, Igboho’s wife has since been released from police custody while Igboho remains in detention in the West African country.