Leader of the Yoruba Nation group and Ilana Omo Oodua, Emeritus Professor of History, Professor Banji Akintoye has said based on the verdict has made the Yoruba Nation and other self-determination groups in the country invincible threatening to take further legal action against the FG for disrupting its rally in Lagos.
“We knew it would come, because it is the truth. People can try to hide the truth for as long as they want, but someday, the truth always surfaces. The truth has surfaced.
“Nigerians now know that our struggle for self-determination is totally lawful and legal, that the government has no right to stop us. The knowledge now is that more and more people are rallying into our court.
“If our young people try to hold a rally now, it will be much bigger than that of Ado-Ekiti. More and more people are coming forward. The government has threatened our existence not only at home but even abroad. That is now coming to an end.
“We are not dissolving our organisation, but instead now realising the need to merge together and be stronger than ever now, realising we are all brothers. We are going to exploit what we have; we are going to be more active; we are going to be doing what we did in Ibadan against the government.
“We are going to do more; we are going to take them to court for the disruption of our rally in Lagos. It was a peacefully rally based upon law, but they illegally disrupted it.
“We are going to go after them with the power of the law and they will know they cannot fight us. We have become invincible. Part of our injunctions is that we respect the government and the laws of Nigeria.
“What we have led from the beginning is that our self-determination agitation is totally legitimate. The international law proclaims it as legitimate. The Charter of the United Nations and various other instruments of the United Nations support our clamour.
“Without seeking permission from anybody, a nationality can decide to assert its self-determination. When it does that, the government of whichever county they belong to must respect what they are doing and not interfere with their civic rights in the country.
“But the people who are fighting for self-determination also have a responsibility. They must not start an insurrection; they must not generate violence in the streets. Those are the conditions. So as long as you are doing it peacefully, you are in good order.
“So we Yoruba people decided from the beginning that this was going to be a thoroughly peaceful and law abiding movement, and it has been so continuously. Our children did not do anything illegal. Nobody was wounded, nobody was arrested, neither was there any altercation with the police nor destruction of properties.”
Also reacting, the Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF), commended the courage of the Judge in upholding the rights of citizens to freedom of expression and association. The South-South apex socio-cultural group, through its national Publicity Secretary, Ken Robinson, congratulated Yoruba activist, Chief Sunday Igboho, his legal team and all patriotic citizens for the victory.
He, however, urged the Appeal Court to live up to expectations by abiding by the “merits of the case and not get influenced by the powers that be.”
“We say well done to the court on the landmark judgment in the Igboho case. It’s commonly said that the judiciary is the last hope of the common man, but it goes beyond that.
“The judiciary is, indeed, the last hope of all citizens, common or special, particularly, in a regime like we have now, which is increasingly becoming dictatorial with unnecessary deployment of state forces to intimidate and coerce citizens, who have dissenting opinions.
“It is unthinkable that a supposed democratic administration will give citizens all kinds of labels, for simply ventilating their discontent and disaffection with the way and manner the government conducts the affairs of the country.