The late Dr Frederick Fasehun-led faction of Oodua Peoples Congress (OPC) has faulted a statement credited to former Chief of Army Staff and Minister of Interior, retired Lt. Gen. Abdurahman Dambazau, describing the group as terrorists.
The OPC faction in a statement in Lagos on Wednesday by its newly elected President, Otunba Wasiu Afolabi, said it was not proper for the ex-army chief to equate the group with activities of Boko Haram insurgents.
Recall that Dambazau had said the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and OPC shared similarities with the insurgent Boko Haram.
He added that both OPC and IPOB were making attempts to plunge the nation into ethnic war.
But reacting, the OPC president faulted the position of the former army chief, describing such comparison as “dangerous, prejudiced and false.”
According to him, a pro-democracy group like OPC cannot be equated with a world-acclaimed terrorist organisation like Boko Haram.
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Afolabi said: “We disagree with this attempt at blackmail and negative profiling.
“OPC is not, has never been, and will never be a terrorist organisation. Nobody should link us or liken us with terrorists.
“We have never been on the global radar of terrorism like Boko Haram because we have never even been remotely connected with terrorism.
“Dambazau should realise that there is no Federal Character in terrorism. The South-West has never bred any terrorist organisation, least of all OPC,” he said.
He, however, urged the Northern leaders to bring the ugly Boko Haram insurgency to a close.
Afolabi said OPC would continue to maintain excellent relationship with police, DSS and other relevant agencies for the maintenance of security, law and order in the entire South-West.
“A case in point is the last #EndSARS protests. OPC operatives guarded the police stations and prevented several of them from being burnt.
“Several DPOs (Divisional Police Officers) officers and men are living witnesses to our patriotic action on that occasion.
“OPC, as a socio-cultural organisation formed in 1994, has millions of followers who fought for the entrenchment of democracy as part of NADECO,” he said.
Afolabi said the organisation had brought welfare and security to Yoruba indigenes as well as to settlers in the South-West.
According to him, the OPC founder, Fasehun, was a Scottish-trained medical doctor, who was, along with some of his members, severally detained and charged for all sorts of fake charges by the military junta, but at the end, they were always discharged and acquitted.
The OPC president called for restructuring and entrenchment of equity and justice in the country to silence secessionist agitations.
“Agitations whether for Biafra or Oduduwa Republic are being fuelled by the rising scale of insecurity, the unhindered killings by bandits , kidnapping and poverty which are challenges that must be tackled.
“As Dr Fasehun always said, Nigeria must come together to the negotiation table and fashion out a truly people’s constitution that will emphasise True Federalism, Resource Control and Devolution of Power.”