Calm has returned to the Ojota area of Lagos state, Southwest Nigeria, after the rally organised by Yoruba Nation agitators, on Monday the 9th of January, turned bloody, and left a yet-to-be-identified man dead.
The protest led to a clash between the protesters and the Police, leaving many injured including two policemen, and police vehicles burnt.
According to an eyewitness account, the rally started on a peaceful note as the agitators assembled around the Gani Fawehinmi Freedom Park, in Ojota, for a rally to demand a separate nation for the Yoruba people of Nigeria.
The peace could not be sustained when policemen arrived at the scene and began firing teargas canisters to disperse them.
Some of the agitators also alleged that the policemen shot at them and also battered some members with their batons.
But another account said some miscreants, hijacked the rally, and hauled stones at the policemen, demanding that they leave the place.
It was alleged that there was a gun duel between both sides, leading to the death of the unidentified man, who was among the agitators.
The dead man, according to eyewitnesses, had charms and amulets tied around his waist and wrists.
However, in a viral video, one of the protesters, Sir T Igboho, denied the allegations that the protesters were violent or attacked security operatives.
Igboho said: “The deceased protester was hit by a stray bullet fired by police operatives. We didn’t attack anyone before the police shot sporadically.”
The Lagos State Police Command said four persons have been arrested.
Meanwhile, the Oodua People’s Congress, OPC, leader, Gani Adams has denied the allegation that its members were among the agitators.
Adams, in a statement by his Special Assistant on Media, Kehinde Aderemi, stated emphatically that no OPC member took part in the rally.
He said: “Let me clear the air on the crisis that had engulfed Ojota, this morning (yesterday). There were unconfirmed reports linking members of the OPC to the mayhem. I want to state clearly that none of our members was at the scene of the incident.
“OPC is not against the liberation of the Yoruba race. However, it is a fact that the struggle for the liberation of the Yoruba race is an inalienable right of all Yoruba to champion self-determination. We are not part of the peaceful rally held at Ojota.
“Our position on regionalism is very clear. It is sacrosanct because that is what we are seeking at the moment. Nigeria should be restructured to full regional autonomy, where each region will be at liberty to operate at its pace.
“It is unfortunate that the report was done in bad faith to discredit our organization. Such information was wicked, mischievous, and uncalled for and could trigger a crisis and cause unnecessary disaffection between the OPC and sons and daughters of the Yoruba race.
“This is the fourth time that such information has been spread against the OPC and it is very sad and unfortunate that the purveyors of such inciting information are doing it in bad faith.