Police recover hijacked radio station, arrest armed Yoruba Nation agitators

Some Yoruba Nation agitators, on Sunday morning, seized airwaves in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital, for more than one hour.

A source told that the agitators, who besieged the station around 5:40am in an 18-seater bus, were armed with weapons and charms, threatening to deal decisively with any staff member who refused to cooperate with them.

However, four out of the agitators, among whom was a woman, were arrested by the police with the assistance of the Nigerian Army, while others ran into different directions to evade arrest.

It was gathered that some of them sustained gunshot injuries, as blood stains were seen in the studio.

learnt that after holding some night duty staff and security guards hostage, the agitators hijacked the studio and announced live on radio, saying welcome to “Yoruba Nation.”

An impeccable source further said they continued threatening staff members to remove all Nigeria flags in the station and replace them with Yoruba Nation flag as they had already taken over the Government Secretariat, Agodi, Ibadan.

It was further learnt that they initially hijacked some commercial vehicles (Micra) to block the main road.

When our correspondent visited the station at J&P Bus-stop, Moniya in the Akinyele Local Government Area of the state, more than 20 operational vehicles of security agents, including Department of State Services were sighted at strategic locations to forestall any eventuality.

Confirming the invasion, the most senior staff on duty at the radio station, Ajayi Omotola, stated that, “They told us that they are Yoruba Nation agitators; and on their T-shirts, there was that inscription there. They wrote Yoruba Nation. Only six persons came inside the studio with different charms, threatening to kill us if we failed to cooperate. Others were outside at different areas within the premises.

“They collected all our phones and threatened to kill us if we make any noise or phone call. They said they wanted to broadcast live that Yoruba Nation had taken over. (They said) we should remove all Nigerian flags in our studio and replace them with their own. They didn’t allow anybody to go outside. The Area Commander came, addressed them and even pleaded with them but they ignored him. We later heard sporadic gunshots outside. So, one of our staff members then came inside to inform us that police and soldiers had arrived.”

As of press time, normalcy had returned while stern-looking security operatives were still manning the station.

 reports that the radio station was established on October 10, 2007, and commenced transmission in pure and undiluted Yoruba language on October 22, the same year.

Meanwhile, the leader of Ilana Omo Oodua, which is championing the Yoruba Nation, Emeritus Prof. Banji Akintoye, distanced himself from the radio station hijack, which he described as criminal.

In a release issued by his Assistant Director of Programmes, Olatunde Amusat, Akintoye said, “We have no relationship whatsoever with the group that has repeatedly engaged in crime and we  have no hands in their criminal conduct.”

The Oyo State Police Command confirmed the arrest of five of the agitators, giving their identity as Noah Atoyebi, 30; Gbenga Adeleke, 25; Abdulganiyu Mustafa, 35; Fajola Elija, 45 ; and  Kehinde Bashiru, who is the only female.

Addressing newsmen at the command’s headquarters, Eleyele in Ibadan, the state Commissioner of Police, Adebowale Williams, who was represented by the Police Public Relations Officer, Adewale Osifeso, said, “The preliminary investigations about today (Sunday)’s incident revealed that at about 0600hrs, the valiant and eagle-eyed operatives of the command, while on intelligence-driven patrols, got a distress call about some members of a group driven by a separatist agenda who had forcefully hijacked a radio station, located around Moniya, Ibadan with the intent to declare liberation from the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

“Thankfully, no personnel from the establishment or any other person was hurt as the command responded swiftly in a well-coordinated rescue operation.

“I have personally detailed an investigation team, led by the Deputy Commissioner of Police in charge of the State Criminal Investigation Department to demystify circumstances around the incident and as well expand the network of arrests through thorough, painstaking intelligence-driven investigation.”

The police, while declaring this act as “a clear case of terrorism” vowed that the perpetrators would be dealt with.

 Also, the Lagos State Police Command said it  arrested two Yoruba Nation agitators in the early hours of Sunday.

Police spokesman, Benjamin Hundeyin, in a statement, said the agitators, numbering 15, had stormed the Alausa Police Division around 5:35 am, chanting, “Yoruba Nation has taken over.”

He said they injured some police officers who attempted to disperse them.

“Two of the agitators were arrested while the rest took to their heels following the prompt and coordinated response of the police.

“The suspects, who were arrested with charms,  weapons and different offensive insignias bearing Yoruba Nation Army, stormed the Alausa Division along with others. At about the same time, another set of the group was attempting to take over a radio station in Ibadan, Oyo State. They claimed they came to officially inform the police that the United Nations had granted approval for the take-off of the Yoruba Nation.

“The arrested suspects are currently assisting the police in the ongoing investigation into the subversive plans of the group as well as their network of sponsors, all of whom will soon be unveiled and brought to deserved justice in the overriding internal security interest of the state,” the PPRO stated.

He noted that the Commissioner of Police,  Idowu Owohunwa, used the medium to warn all subversive elements to steer clear of the state.

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