There was a heavy security presence at strategic areas in Lagos State last Saturday. This was as about 100 protesters identified as the Yoruba Nation agitators announced their presence at the Gani Fawehinmi Park, Ojota, Lagos. There were men of the Nigeria Police, Army, Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), and other security agencies.

Some of the protesters showed up in traditional regalia synonymous with the African traditional religion. They chanted songs demanding Southwest’s exit from the country we currently know as Nigeria. They claimed that they were tired of Nigeria and urged authorities to approve the exit of the Yoruba people.

It was also gathered that men of the Department of State Services were among the joint security forces at the protest venue with scores of patrol vans, heavy anti-riot gun trucks, and Black Marias, which led to heavy traffic on major roads. The agitators were, however, undeterred.

The protesters initially disguised as residents listening to The Commissioner of Police Lagos state Police Command CP Hakeem Dosunmu while addressing the journalists, though they were making side reactions. Upon the Commissioner’s departure, they brought out their banners with various inscriptions clamouring for a ‘sovereign’ state. They wore their branded Yoruba Nation T-shirts, chanted solidarity songs, and waved ‘Oduduwa Republic’ flags.

Subsequently, the police shot into the air, used water cannons, and unleashed tear gas canisters to disperse the protesters. Some of the protesters were arrested, beaten, and carried away in police vans.

Meanwhile, a 14-year-old salesgirl, identified as Jumoke, was allegedly slain by a stray bullet. The teenager was close to the protest venue and was said to be preparing for the day’s work. The police have since denied rumours of their involvement in the girl’s death, saying the corpse they found had dried blood stains suggesting that it is not fresh. They also stated they did not use live rounds to disperse the protesters – only rubber bullets.

Noticeably absent from the protest was one of the vanguards of the Yoruba Nation agitation, Sunday Adeyemo, popularly called Sunday Igboho. Igboho is currently hiding following a manhunt launched for him by the Department of State Services (DSS). He was declared wanted for allegedly stockpiling arms after a home was raided by the security outfit.

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