The Ogun State police command, on Saturday, arrested 11 Yoruba Nation agitators who defied the ban on the mass rally in Abeokuta, the state capital.
The rally, which was jointly organised by two groups – Ilana Omo Oduduwa and Omo Kootu Ojire Omo Oduduwa Atata, took their procession around Abeokuta in defiance of the police order barring the demonstration.
It was gathered that security operatives took over the streets in the state capital as early as 7:00am to stop the rally,
Police helicopters were reportedly deployed in Abeokuta.
Also, security agencies took strategic positions on the street leading to the palace of Alake of Egbaland, venue of the rally.
However, Zannu Williams, a man wearing ritual gear, and 10 others were arrested in front of the palace of Alake and whisked away in a police van to the state headquarters, Eleweran, Abeokuta.
Singing solitary songs, the procession comprising young men and women, toured different parts of Abeokuta and later headed to police headquarters where leaders of the group reportedly demanded the release of the agitators.
There was a clash between the agitators and the police officers around Eleweran, when the proponents of secession demanded the release of their members.
It was further gathered that the police later released those arrested on the order of the commissioner of police, Edward Ajogun.
It was alleged that on their way back from Eleweran, the agitators attacked some policemen on the road, injuring a number of them.
However, speaking with journalists, the publicity secretary of Omo Kootu Ojire Omo Oduduwa Atata, Ibukunoluwa John, described the rally as peaceful and violence-free.
“The rally started exactly 9 am and ended at 4:30 pm and ended without violence. We were not part of any violence or hijacking of police rifles.
“We want to tell the public that we are not part of anything that is violent today. We held our rally. It was peaceful and nothing like violence,” he was quoted as saying.
Reacting to his claim, Abimbola Oyeyemi, police spokesperson in the state, accused the agitators of launching unprovoked attacks on the security operatives.
Oyeyemi said the agitators attacked the police headquarters in the state and some policemen on duty.
He confirmed that 11 of them were earlier arrested for unruly behaviour at Alake palace and were later released on the order of Ajogun.
“We just woke up early in the morning and saw some group of people in front of the Alake palace conducting themselves in unruly manners. And don’t forget that one of them had issued a threat to the Alake before, so, our men went there to challenge them and they were unable to give a satisfactory answer,” he said.
“Eleven of them were arrested and the Commissioner of Police directed that they should be released, we profiled, screened and released them. Despite that we released them on the order of the Commissioner of Police , these people still went as far as Police Headquarters Eleweran to launch an attack on Police.
“Though we have already dispersed them, they still attacked our men at Moore junction. They attacked policemen who were on their lawful duty, they attacked them for just no reason.
“We are sounding a note of warning to them. They are trying to provoke law enforcement agents, they should be warned that we are law enforcement agents, we are holding our peace because we are following the rules of engagement and we don’t want to engage in an unnecessary show of force with some people.
“They should not take our civility for a licence for them to be attacking our men, it will no longer be tolerated.
“We are still collating the result of their unruly behaviour and I will make that one available .”