The Yoruba in Kano and especially the Ogbomoso people yesterday denounced media reports which described a suspected operational commander of Boko Haram in the metropolis as a Yoruba from the Oyo State town.
Suleiman Mohammed, his wife and five children were arrested by the Joint Military Task Force (JTF) during a dawn raid on his residence at Farawa Quarters on Friday.
Ten crates of Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs), one AK47 rifle and three pistols were recovered in his residence.
As soon as the various publications hit the newsstands yesterday, the Yoruba within and outside Kano began putting phone calls through to their contacts to ascertain the background of the suspect with no one able to confirm ever knowing him or his origin.
A group of concerned natives of Ogbomoso dismissed the reports as “suspicious and lacking in clarity”.
Spokesman for the group, Mr Afolabi Omotoso, advised the security agencies to be thorough in their investigations and stop playing to the gallery.
“We are saying with all emphasis that there is no Ogbomoso indigene bearing that name. And if the security operatives doubt it, let them tell us the suspect’s family compound name. We demand for clarity of purpose from the security agencies”, he said.
A source at the palace of the monarch of Ogbomoso who pleaded anonymity because he was not authorised to speak told The Nation on phone, “Since the news broke the palace has been inundated with calls and enquiries. However, our reaction for now is that we’ll want to know more about the suspect. Who is his father and from which compound or adugbo (ward) does he come from.”
According to him, because a suspect claims he hails from a place is not enough to believe him. He called on security agencies to do their investigations well before making public information that would further divide the country and lead to disaffection.
Also, former secretary of the Yoruba community in Kano, who simply identified himself as Ojo for security reasons, said the suspect is not known to the group.
He said the Yoruba in the metropolis network very well and are reasonably familiar with one another adding that Suleiman Mohammed is not known to any member of the Yoruba community.
He said:”As far as we are concerned we do not know him. He is only claiming that he hails from Ogbomoso but there is a group, known as Ogbomoso Parapo. You can contact them at their secretariat on Church Road to confirm whether they know him but for the Yoruba parent body in Kano, we do not know him.”
He said Suleiman’s alleged action is contrary to the Yoruba core values of religious tolerance, good neighbourliness, and peaceful co-existence.
“No business can be transacted in a chaotic atmosphere, that is why we are very surprised over his involvement in the sect’s activities and we are therefore looking forward to a comprehensive investigation over the incident so that the truth about the issue can be made public.”
He particularly demanded the suspect’s Yoruba name to prove that he is actually one, saying : “The Yoruba community doubts his identity as a true Yoruba man. We are interested in knowing his Yoruba name.”
In his reaction, the acting president of the Yoruba community in Kano, Prince Ajayi Memaiyetan said the suspect was never known to have participated in the activities of the group and was therefore not known to the community.