The PUNCH reports that there are indications that wanted Yoruba activist, Sunday Adeyemo, popularly known as Sunday Igboho, has gone underground following a manhunt for him by the Department of State Services for allegedly stockpiling arms to destabilise Nigeria, Saturday PUNCH has learnt.
Findings by our correspondent showed that the whereabouts of Igboho, a lead figure in the separatist agitation for the Yoruba Nation, is also unknown to his associates.
Some of his associates, who spoke with our correspondent on condition of anonymity, said they had not been able to reach him since the DSS launched a manhunt for him on Thursday night.
Repeated efforts by our correspondent to reach Igboho on his known phone numbers proved abortive as his lines were perpetually switched off, a measure some of his associates said was necessary to avoid him being tracked by security agents who were on his trail.
The DSS had said a joint team of security operatives raided Igboho’s residence in the early hours of Thursday based on an intelligence report that he was allegedly stockpiling arms.
The DSS also paraded 12 of Igboho’s followers in Abuja on Thursday, saying one other was being profiled.
Parading the suspects at the national headquarters of the secret police, its spokesman, Peter Afunaya, said the security team was engaged in a gun duel by men suspected to be Igboho’s guards. Two of the guards died in the shootout while some were injured.
Afunaya stated, “A team of joint security operatives raided the residence of Sunday Adeyemo at Soka in Ibadan. This was based on intelligence that he had stockpiled arms in the place.
“On approach to his residence, the team came under heavy gun attack by nine men suspected to be Igboho’s guards. Six were armed with AK-47 guns and three others with pump-action rifles.
“In the course of the exchange, two of the armed men were gunned down, while the rest were subdued and arrested. Only one operative, who was shot by the assailants, sustained an injury in his right hand. He has, however, received medical attention and is very stable.
“The gun duel which lasted for an hour offered Igboho the chance to escape. Sunday Adeyemo, aka Sunday Igboho, is now on the run. Igboho may run as far as he can. He may hide as long as he wants. He might have attacked security operatives as his strength carried him. But this will be the end of his shenanigans. Soon, he will not have a hiding place. His strength will sure fail him. And the law will catch up with him. The law may be slow. But it will be steady.”
Afunaya added that the team searched the house and subsequently recovered seven AK-47 assault rifles, three pump-action guns, 30 fully charged AK-47 magazines, 5,000 rounds of 7.62mm ammunition, five cutlasses, one jack-knife, one pen knife, two pistol holsters, a pair of binoculars, a wallet containing $5, local and international driving licences in his name, ATM cards, a German residence permit No. YO2N6K1NY bearing his name; two whistles, 50 cartridges, and 18 walkie-talkies.
Others are three charm jackets/traditional body armour, two laptops, one Toshiba and one Compaq laptops and his passport and those of many others.
Afunaya added that five of the AK-47 assault rifles recovered from his residence were snatched from the Nigeria Customs and Immigration personnel at Idi Iroko, Ogun State.
Afunaya explained that Igboho and his group, in the guise of the campaign for self-determination, had become well-armed and determined to undermine public order.
He added the arrests and seizures were a confirmation of a grand plan by Igboho and his cohorts to wage a violent insurrection against the Nigerian state.
He said the suspects would be “charged accordingly.”
Multiple sources claimed that Igboho had been placed on watchlist by the government, but Saturday PUNCH could not confirm if the DSS had asked the Nigeria Immigration Service or the Nigeria Customs Service to stop the activist from leaving the country.
The NIS spokesman, Amos Okpu, said he had no information on the issue when contacted on Friday.