A coalition under the aegis of the Yoruba Appraisal Forum (YAF), on Friday, in Lagos, decried stoppage of its peace rally and sensitisation motorcade by the police.
YAF said it was not championing Yoruba self-determination and independence.
It noted its objectives and consistent campaigns for peace throughout Yorubaland, the Southwest and all over Nigeria had been misunderstood and misconstrued by the police, which had also misrepresented YAF to the public as one of those groups claiming to be agitating for the creation of a Yoruba nation and the disintegration of the Nigerian state.
On Thursday, Lagos Police Command’s Public Relations Officer, CSP Muyiwa Adejobi, in a statement warned that the police would deal with YAF members should the group go ahead with Friday’s scheduled Peace Rally/Sensitisation Motorcade planned to hold at the Gani Fawehinmi Freedom Park, Ojota.
YAF National Coordinator Adeshina Animashaun, in a statement on Friday, said contrary to the police misrepresentation of the group, it has consistently campaigned for peace in Yorubaland and Nigeria at large and had never been found to have been involved in any violence in the course of its numerous sensitisation activities throughout the South-West states.
Animashaun added that YAF has no affiliation with any individual or groups championing the disintegration and dissolution of Nigeria under the guise of agitating for the Yoruba Nation.
According to the statement “We are not agitators but peacemakers, campaigning to dissuade our youths from threading the destructive path to violence being championed by individuals and groups masquerading as fighters for Yoruba freedom, independence and self-determination.
“We believe in the unity and indivisibility of the Nigerian nation.
“It’s unfortunate that the police misunderstood and misconstrued our peace rally/sensitisation motorcade.
“We want to state here YAF had held this same peace rally/sensitisation motorcade in all the other states in the South-West in the past few months without any record of any untoward occurrence.
“If we were like the other so-called Yoruba groups agitating for the disintegration and dissolution of Nigeria, we wouldn’t have sought permission of the Nigeria Police and the DSS to carry out the peace rally/sensitisation motorcade and even invite these security agencies to send some of their operatives to the venue to provide adequate security against hoodlums.
“The PPRO has, therefore, woefully failed to separate the wheat from the chaff by his wholesale tagging of YAF as a Yoruba Nation agitator group in his Thursday’s statement. This is unfortunate and unacceptable.”