Three activists were yesterday arrested by operatives of the Department of State Services (DSS) during the anti-kidnapping and insurgency protest organized in Ibadan by the Oodua Coalition Against Insurgency and Kidnapping in Yorubaland.
They were taken into custody by the DSS men, who had earlier dispersed a June 12 rally in the Oyo State capital.
Scores of would-be participants at the rally were shocked when they arrived at the venue early in the morning only to be chased away by security operatives.
The group, an amalgamation of all socio-cultural and self- determination groups in Yorubaland, had converged to discuss rising security challenges in the region. They also planned to use the mass rally to celebrate the June 12 in the city.
The security operatives in about five buses and clad in their black uniform, had arrived around 7am and condoned off the area, to prevent the rally.
Three people, including sound system operator contracted to provide services at the event, were whisked away to the DSS office at Alesinloye State Headquarter of the Service.
A public Affairs analyst and state coordinator of the group and another lady activist simply identified as Princess Oyeronke were among those arrested.
Confirming the arrests, the National Public Relations Officer of the Odua Peoples Congress (New Era), Adesina Akinpelu decried the development which he likened to the “infamous happenstances during the military junta”.
Akinpelu said: “We got all the necessary approval but we were surprised to see men of the DSS arriving much earlier, even before the coalition members, with the intent to stop the rally.”
He alleged further that the officials were still on the trail of other notable leaders of the coalition for possible arrest and detention.
Akinpelu said the botched rally was tagged: “O to Ge” (It’s enough) to commemorate June 12.
He said: “It was called to address the issue of insecurity in the land and safeguard Yoruba people who are becoming endangered in the land through incessant kidnappings and wanton attacks on their farmlands.
“We don’t want to take laws into our hands and that’s why we called the meeting to drum it to the hearing of Mr. President, Muhammadu Buhari that aside declaring June 12 democracy day, he should also tackle the issue of insecurity in our land.”
He said all entreaties by leaders of the Yoruba Summit Group comprising representatives of Afenifere, Yoruba Council of Elders, Yoruba Koya Movement, Yoruba Unity Forum, Oodua Peoples Congress, Atayese and Voice of Reason, among others, fell on deaf ears as operatives claimed to be acting on “orders from above”.
But in order to prevent what could escalate into crisis, leaders of the various rallying groups prevailed on their members not to overstretch the issue just as they dispersed only to reconvene at another location few hours later where they addressed a press conference on the state of the nation.