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A group of Yoruba youths seeking secession have taken their agitation to the border community in Ogun State as the youths on Saturday, May 29, 2021, forcefully reopened the Idiroko land border.
Operatives of the Nigeria Customs Service manning the border town between Nigeria and the Republic of Benin were reported to have swiftly repelled the youths. Pandemonium broke out on Saturday at Idiroko, Ipokia Local Government Area of Ogun State when some Yoruba nation agitators stormed the area and forcefully opened its land border.
The Federal Government had since 2019, shut the border to tackle smuggling of illegal goods into the country via the route.
Idiroko is a town in Ipokia local government of Ogun State, Nigeria. It is situated along the Nigeria-Benin border and has been an official border crossing point since at least the 1960s.The town is surrounded by many other towns and villages including Oke Odan, Ilase, Ita Egbe, Ajilete amongst others.
Due to the location of an official cross-border post and as a result of cross-border trading activities within the frontier town, Idiroko has grown from a village to become a town. The residents of Idiroko are multilingual because of their mixed culture due to cross-cultural contact and intermarriages.
But in their bid to reopen the border, the Yoruba Nation agitators confronted the immigration officers at the border. In a video circulating on social media, some of the youths were seen jubilating after snatching a gun from a customs officer.
Leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) Nnamdi Kanu, in a post Sunday, wrote, “The real owners of the land; the indigenous owners of ‘Nigeria’ are beginning to repossess their land from Fulani Caliphate, their stooges, vassals & hangers-on. Congratulations to my #Oduduwa brethren for the successful retake of Idi-Iroko border”.
While confirming the incident, the Public Relations Officer of the Nigeria Customs Service, Ogun 1 Area Command, Hammed Oloyede said, said the agitators were repelled.
He. however, denied attacks on any Customs officer, adding that the situation was under control.
Oloyede said, “There was no attack on our patrol bases or checkpoints. Those guys were just doing their own. They tried to attack one patrol point, but it was repelled. The situation is under control. There is no problem.”
Sunday Adeyemo known as Sunday Igboho, who is the spokesperson, for the Yoruba nation agitation, commended the action of the agitators.
Adeyemo accused the Federal Government of shutting down the land borders in the South-West while those in the North were open.
In December 2020, after one year closure, the federal government had ordered that four out of all the nation’s land borders be reopened for commercial activities again.
Zainab Ahmed, the minister of finance, budget and national planning, who announced this to newsmen on shortly after the weekly federal executive council (FEC) in Abuja, said President Muhammadu Buhari gave the order.
According to the minister, the borders are Seme in Lagos, Illela in Sokoto, Maigatari in Jigawa and Mfun in Cross River.
But movement restrictions and checking of goods and vehicles remained in place at more than 20 checkpoints mounted by Customs, Immigration and Police along Badagry Expressway.