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The group called for a peaceful negotiation to separate the Yoruba nation from Nigeria with the involvement of international observers from the United Nations, African Union and ECOWAS

The Yoruba Self-determination Movement, led by Banji Akintoye and Sunday Adeyemo, popularly known as Sunday Igboho, has written an open letter to President Bola Tinubu, seeking a peaceful breakaway of the Yoruba people from Nigeria.

In the letter signed by Mr Akintoye, Mr Adeyemo and Ola Ademola, the trio urged the President to establish a negotiation team with the group within the next two months and have a dialogue with them.

This is coming days after suspected Yoruba nation agitators attempted an invasion of the Oyo State government secretariat.

However, both Igboho and Akintoye had distanced themselves from the actions of the agitators.

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The group, in the letter, alleged that the Fulani have been killing and destroying Yoruba communities since 2015 with an estimated 29,000 Yoruba people killed to date.

According to the group, the Fulani attacks and killings have led to instability and forced many farmers to abandon their farms, potentially leading to years of famine.

It added that it has no confidence in the proposed restructuring of Nigeria as it would not prevent the Fulani from continuing their attacks.

The group called for a peaceful negotiation to separate the Yoruba nation from Nigeria with the involvement of international observers from the United Nations, African Union and ECOWAS.

“We have the honour to send to Your Excellency this important letter on behalf of the many millions of Yoruba people at home in Yorubaland in Nigeria and the Diaspora in almost all countries across the world.

“We send this letter as a follow-up to our earlier letter, dated 6 August 2022, which we delivered to your predecessor, President Muhammadu Buhari, in his exalted position then as President of Nigeria.

“Since 2015, the Fulani have been killing widely among the other peoples of Nigeria, including us Yoruba, destroying farms, villages and other assets, kidnapping men, women and children, extorting large amounts of money as ransom from friends and family of the kidnapped, and repeatedly asserting their intention to seize the homelands of all the indigenous peoples of Nigeria for the purpose of turning all into a Fulani homeland,” the letter read in part.

The group noted that in the Middle Belt, horrendous blood-letting was going on with many families forced into Internally Displaced People (IDP) camps while many of their villages were seized by the Fulani and renamed as Fulani villages.

In the Yoruba homeland, the group observed that people have been resisting somewhat better, but that the Fulani attacks, killings and kidnappings have been unrelenting and are coming daily, leading to horrific instability and forcing most farmers to abandon farming.

It lamented that the situation was dooming Yoruba people to years and years of famine.

“All these actions by the Fulani are to us Yoruba, a sufficient reason for our seeking to separate our Yoruba nation from Nigeria. Most of us, Yoruba, have no confidence in the ‘restructuring’ that some of our most respected Yoruba leaders, such as our fathers in our highly exalted Afenifere, are advocating.

“And our reason is that we know that restructuring cannot keep the Fulani marauders away from our homeland. Since, after restructuring, the Fulani would still be Nigerians like us, and would still have full citizens’ rights to come in large numbers, and with weapons and intent to kill and destroy and seize land…” the group stated.

It contended that the Fulani elite seemed determined to make Nigeria ungovernable for President Tinubu and that they would never accept any official action of his.

It urged the federal government to agree to its proposal to negotiate the Yoruba nation’s exit.

“We are acting for and on behalf of our 60 million Yoruba people of the Ekiti, Lagos, Ogun, Ondo, Osun, and Oyo State, respectively, plus the Yoruba Local Government Areas of Kogi and Kwara State, plus the Itsekiri homeland of Delta State, all together constituting the Yorubaland in Nigeria, hereby most humbly place our crowning request before Your Excellency as follows:

“That the Nigerian Federal Government shall, within the next two months, but not later than 15 June 2024, inform us Yoruba Self-determination Movement that the Nigerian Federal Government has graciously agreed to our proposal for negotiation and that they have set up a negotiation team that will meet and have a dialogue with our Yoruba nation’s negotiation team.

“That the Nigerian Federal Government shall invite the United Nations, African Union and the Economic Community of West African States to send observers to the negotiation meetings,” it said.

Source: Premium Times

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