Nigeria: Lagos Police Abort Pro-Amotekun Rally, As Yoruba Group Insists Amotekun Will Stand

22 January 2020

Armed Policemen, on Tuesday morning, aborted a rally, when it barricaded Gani Fawehinmi Park, Ojota, Lagos State, venue of the planned pro Amotekun protest, preventing protesters from converging on the ground.

The rally was in support of the establishment of the Western Nigeria Security outfit, codenamed, "Operation Amotekun" which has remained a controversial subject in the country.

The security personnel, with at least 30 operational vehicles, include police officers, Department of State Services (DSS) personnel and other security operatives.

A senior police officer, who spoke with Vanguard on anonymity, said, ."We are acting based on an order that the rally must not hold, because it tends to disrupt the peaceful nature of a state like Lagos."

The placard carrying protesters, who stormed the venue as early as 9 am, were prevented from gaining entrance into the park forcing the protesters to retreat.

Addressing journalists and other groups outside the park, Comrade George Akinola, Lagos State Coordinator of Yoruba World Congress and Amotekun, insisted that inspite of all antagonism against the creation, "Operation Amotekun will stand."

Akinola said,"This is the voice of Amotekun. We have the rights to protect our lives and properties.

"Yoruba race has been been subjected to indiscriminate and annoying oppression in Nigeria and we will not allow it anymore.

"We (Yoruba) people are opposed to violence. We are people giving to reasoning and civility. That is why we have established Amotekun. Nobody knows our land more than us, the owner.

"We own the land, so, whoever comes here to kill, maim us, we know them. We are the only one who can work with the police, we know the terrain.

"Therefore, our message is Amotekun will stand. Its a protective force. It must stand. The police are on our side we know.

"The rally is in support of the governors of the South-West states in Nigeria, including Kwara and Kogi, who have decided to set up a protective force called Amotekun.

"Amotekun is supposed to work with the police and other security agencies to protect Yorubaland and its property from murderers, robbers and ritualists and all other people busy terrorising Yorubaland and that is the main reason why the rally wanted to hold, but the police have prevented us from holding it.

"Nigeria, according to her constitution, is a democratically free society with the right to gather peacefully and that is why the rally was not done behind the police.

"By and large, we have passed on our message Amotekun will stand."

Also responding, Mathew Adeleye, Director of Media and Communication, Yoruba World Congress, who also addressed the press, lamented the disruption of the rally by the police and other security agencies.

"I express sadness that the police [would] deny us entry despite an earlier approved order. With this development, Yoruba leader Prof BanjI Akintoye will inform the nation of the next line of action within the next 24 hours," he said.

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