The National Leader of the Afenifere group, Pa Ayo Adebanjo has stated that President Muhammadu Buhari is after Sunday Igboho because of his growing popularity and acceptance by the masses.
While stating that Igboho has done nothing wrong by demanding secession, Adebanjo blamed the Buhari government for insecurity, marginalization, and other issues driving the various forms of agitations in the country.
The Afenifere leader made the submissions on Thursday when he featured as a guest on Arise TV.
He noted that despite the money doled out at political campaigns and rallies for supporters, President Buhari and his people don’t command the kind of followership Igboho has been able to amass in such a short time.
He said: “When they see the crowd that Igboho is pulling at every meeting, that is what is terrifying them. Can Buhari summon the crowd that Igboho is summoning each time he holds a meeting, even with the fact that he (Buhari) gives money to who will attend the meeting, that is a rented crowd?”
Adebanjo added that Igboho has become a defender of his people after Fulani herdsmen attacked them and destroyed their farmlands.
“They kidnapped the Oba (monarch) there. They kidnapped the children, and they raped the women.
“And the man rose in retaliation because all those people who did these havocs, neither the Federal Government nor the state government came to their aid and arrest the culprits.
“That was the action that caused the reaction of Igboho. Nobody knew Igboho in this country. I didn’t know him until this incident came about,” he said.
The Afenifere leader however pointed out that he remains committed to the unity of Nigeria and those agitating should do so within the provisions of the law and avoid violence.
He said: “I have fought for the unity of this country in the last 70 years when Buhari was still in primary school. I have invested in one Nigeria.
“And my party has been leading the question of Nigeria that is united. Until Buhari came with this fraudulent constitution, and you want us to keep quiet. I will not keep quiet.
“Civilised people who know about extradition don’t extradite political refugees who know their lives are not safe in their country,” he said.
Adebanjo also condemned the recent invasion of the Ibadan residence of Igboho by the Department of State Services (DSS) as well as his arrest in Benin Republic, stating that the Yoruba Nation agitator is not a criminal as the Nigerian government wants the public and the international community to believe.
“He didn’t commit any crime here. He didn’t waylay anybody. He didn’t kill anybody. He didn’t run away from anybody after committing a crime. He ran away for his life because of the power that wants to kill him because of his agitation.”
He accused Buhari of trying to muzzle everybody, including the press.
“There is a limit to the question you can ask now without them probing you,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) Gen. Lucky Irabor has vowed to order the army to clamp down on violent agitators in the country.
Naija News reports that the CDS stated this in Owerri, the Imo State capital, during a meeting with retired senior military officers in the Southeast.
Speaking on Thursday, Irabor stated that the military would not go against anyone acting within the ambits of the law.