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Were the Igbos responsible for the Violence in Lagos State during the ENDSARS protest?

Were the Igbos responsible for the Violence in Lagos State during the ENDSARS protest?

On October 2020, Nigerian youths took to the streets demanding for good governance and an end to police brutality in the country. During this period, there were also protests and rallies by groups in the South West and South Eastern part of the country seeking for the balkanization of the country.  

The purpose of the protests carried out by well-meaning and patriotic Nigerians was a good one,  as could be seen with their demands, but as the protests persisted, people with different motives hijacked the protest, and went on to destroy and loot government and private properties worth millions and billions of naira.

With the protests still being held across the country and the destruction of properties still going on, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, the leader of the proscribed secessionist group, Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) released a broadcast message encouraging the thugs to carry on with the destruction. He said that the Oriental Hotel should be burnt, thinking that it was owned by the Leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Bolaji Ahmed Tinubu. Eventually, the Oriental Hotel which wasn’t owned by Tinubu, but by WEMPCO group was burnt down.

With this phenomena that played out, the Igbos were then described as the ones who plotted and carried out the vandalization and destruction of properties in Lagos State. During this period, The Council of Patriotic Yoruba Youths (CPYY) blamed Nnamdi Kanu and his proscribed Secessionist group for the killing of protesters and the attacks by hoodlums on vital properties in the state, in order to destroy the economic advantage of the commercial hub. Also, The Pan-Yoruba group, Apapo Oodua Koya (AOKOYA) released a press statement positing that the Igbos were responsible for the destruction of Yoruba-owned assets in Lagos State, and this propelled the apex Igbo socio-cultural group, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, to condemn and disassociate the Igbos from the statements of the detained IPOB leader.

This event gave much popularity to the devilishly coined Maxim “Yoruba Ronu’’. This was the propaganda flying around then. Some Yoruba people, who were tribalists and some, pro-Tinubu political think-tanks insinuated that the Igbos were behind the destructions in Lagos State, and called on their fellow brothers and sisters to think with their brains. 

The Igbos were threatened by some people and groups to leave Lagos State, or face the consequences of what would befall them if they failed to. UK-based Nigerian and President of the Young Yoruba for Freedom, Adeyinka Grandson as at then gave the Igbos a 48-hour ultimatum to leave Yorubaland, and warned that those who refused to would be dealt with. 

Some Yorubas stood in support of the Igbos during this period, and revealed that it was not the Igbos, but angry Yoruba youths, seeking for Yoruba nation, that were responsible for the destruction in Lagos State. Prominent Yoruba personalities, such as Nobel Laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka; Gani Adams, the Aare Onakakanfo of Yorubaland; Femi Fani-Kayode, and the Pan Yoruba sociopolitical group, Afenifere, who were not of the view that it was the angry Yoruba youths that carried out the act, swiftly came out in defence of the Igbos.

These angry Yoruba youths according to some of these Yoruba people believed that Tinubu and other prominent and big Yoruba business moguls were not for a Yoruba Nation, but for a One Nigeria that gave them political and financial gains, thus the targeted destruction of their properties. They believed that Tinubu did not have the Yoruba people at heart and only his political ambitions and that he was collaborating with the Fulanis.

If the violence in Lagos State was perpetuated by the Igbo people, then what about other Southwest in which destruction of properties also occurred. The Igbos were blamed for the invasion of the Palace of the Oba of Lagos which led to the theft of his staff and 2 million dollars. What about the invasion of the Soun of Ogbomosho’s Palace at Oyo State by thugs during the protest. What about Akire of Ikire’s Palace that was shutdown by angry youths. Should these actions also be blamed on the Igbos.

The Igbos were blamed for the invasion of police stations at Lagos State during the protest. Although, a video later surfaced on the internet proving otherwise. What about the attacks on police stations at Ijebu-Ode, Ogun State, during the protest. Should it be also blamed on the Igbos. Should they also be held responsible for the attack on the Governor of Osun State during the protest.

Some activities on social media might possibly give people the notion that the Igbo people were not behind the violence that occurred in Lagos.

There was a page on Facebook which identified as the “Yoruba Armed Forces”. And this page supported the clamour for a Yoruba Nation. 

In a post published by the page on October 12th, 2020, the operators said that “Yoruba youths in Ogbomosho attacked a police station after the death of a resident. These boys would have done better than this if they’d been recruited into YAF.” 

Also, on that day, the page posted that War is the fastest way to Independence and that 99.5% of countries on earth got their Independence via war. 

On the 23rd of October,  2020, the Facebook page posted that those burning the South West were Yoruba youths on a mission to seek the breakup of Nigeria, and not the Igbos.

Another Facebook user identified as Aare Babalola, who was a supporter of the clamour for a Yoruba Nation and an ethnic jingoist, supported the violence in Lagos State, and so did some of his followers. 

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In one of his posts on October 21st, 2020, he said “Burn Lagos Down”.

That same day, he posted on his Facebook profile that he heard that the Yoruba Armed Forces, Lagos Chapter, were behind all the burning in Lagos State after the Army killed protesters.

He posted that attacking Oba Akiolu’s Palace is a proof that those attackers are true Yoruba sons and that Akiolu messed up Yoruba by his words and actions.   

Also on that day, he posted that Yorubas are the ones burning and fighting for their right in Lagos, and that Lagos leaders don’t put Yorubas first because of fake Nigerian politics.

Adewale Adeleye, another Facebook user in response to the post by Aare Babalola said ”Why wasting our time, Yoruba get gods like Sango, Ogun, Sanpona, Oya, Osun, Esu. When these gods are fighting, nobody dare them. They can travel to France without anyone knowing, if you like run go Germany, they will follow you. I am proud to be a Yoruba boy. Lagos is full of ajebos. No okigbe, ayeta, ayinta, Ogun Ibon, Ogun Ina. Sango will release fire within 2 minutes without using petrol. I wish Lekki is in my village, by now Buhari will use Dangote Truck to park dead army soldiers…. when ara strike like 2000 soldiers and i only use broom to wave.”

From all the statements given by these individuals on social media, one would be able to conclude that the Igbos had no hands, but the violent set of secession seekers in the atrocious acts that transpired in the Southwest region.

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