President of the Oodua People’s Congress, OPC, Otunba Wasiu Afolabi, has distanced the socio-cultural organisation from the unrest that reportedly broke out between police and suspected Yoruba nation agitators.
Afolabi said that the organisation’s initial investigations showed that no member of OPC was involved in the disturbances and none had fallen casualty by omission or commission.
However, Afolabi seized the opportunity to demand that the government must ensure freedom for the 31 victims kidnapped on Saturday by suspected herdsmen at the Igueben train station in Edo State.
“There is absolutely no reason to associate OPC with what happened today in Ojota, Lagos. People were simply talking from the figment of their imagination. Just like any other person, we heard news of the disturbances through social media. When I made phone calls to my members around the axis and elsewhere, they said they knew nothing about the crisis,” he said, in a statement by OPC General Secretary, Comrade Bunmi Fasehun.
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“Nobody should drag OPC into a matter that does not concern us and today’s problem is none of our business,” the OPC president said.
According to Afolabi, OPC stood for a peaceful resolution of all Nigeria’s questions.
“We took to the streets in 1994 to press for the exit of the military and the enthronement of democracy. We have since won democracy. Now we believe that resolution of national questions should come through dialogue. There is nothing that cannot be tabled for discussion,” he said. “And we will be the last to cause a breakdown of law and order, especially in our home constituency anywhere in the South-West and adjoining states.”
Nevertheless, OPC sued for peace in the Ojota crisis.
Describing the killings of peaceful protesters as needless, OPC said that security agencies must guarantee and respect citizens’ right to life and right to peaceful procession.
“We are watching the development in Edo State with keen interest. Edo has a sizable number of OPC members. And we feel it is insulting, unacceptable and provocative for foreign elements to continue to kidnap Nigerians and make our rural areas unsafe for law-abiding citizens,” Afolabi said.
He urged the security agencies to ensure that the kidnapped victims were recovered and their abductors brought to answer for their crime in the court of law.
According to him, it was strange that kidnappers would establish camps in the forests without the knowledge of police and security agents, until they strolled into town to kidnap and kill people at will.
“This is unacceptable,” he said, adding, “Security agencies must collaborate with organisations like OPC, Amotekun, Ebubeagwu and Atanakpa to flush out these foreign criminals from the country.”