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Extradition battle Looms over The yoruba Activist, Igboho’s arrest

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Chief Sunday Adeyemo, popularly known as Sunday Igboho, was reportedly arrested by security operatives in Cotonou, Benin Republic, yesterday, for immigration offences.

Igboho, who was arrested with his wife, was allegedly accused of possessing the country’s passport, sparking controversies.

At press time last night, his lawyer, Yomi Alliyu, SAN, was making frantic efforts to ensure he was not repatriated to Nigeria by the  Beninois government.

The Department of State Service, DSS, had declared Igboho wanted after its operatives carried out a bloody midnight raid on his residence in Soka area of Ibadan, in Oyo State.

There were, however, conflicting reports about Igboho’s arrest,

While an account said Igboho was arrested Monday night after fleeing Nigeria to evade arrest by the DSS, another account said the Federal Government arrested Igboho throuigh INTERPOL in the Benin Republic.

According to reports, a source privy to his departure from Nigeria said he had perfected plans to secretly escape from Nigeria through Cotonou, heading for Germany. He was, however, nabbed by security operatives in the neighboring country.

Another source said: “Sunday Igboho has been arrested in Cotonou. He was arrested about an hour ago.

“He was supposed to travel to Germany through Cotonou this night. He wanted to leave Africa through Cotonou. He was arrested by security operatives in Cotonou.

“They are planning to bring him back to Nigeria.”

It was further gathered that Igboho was arrested for an immigration offence bordering on owning the country’s passport.

Vanguard was reliably informed that he may be arraigned in court today for the offence.

Moves for his extradition

Besides, it was gathered that the Federal Government is making moves to ensure Igboho is extradited to Nigeria.

But there are also strong moves by some Yoruba leaders to stop Igboho’s extradition to Nigeria.

Some Yoruba leaders, it was gathered, were engaged in marathon meetings last night to see how the Federal Government’s extradition move can be thwarted.

A source familiar with the development, who pleaded anonymity, told Vanguard: “Meetings are ongoing by Yoruba leaders to rally round him (Igboho). There are plans to ensure that Igboho’s extradition is stopped.”

However, efforts to get the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, last night to confirm this proved abortive as calls made to his telephone lines were unreplied.

Beninoise govt shouldn’t extra-dite him —Igboho’s lawyer

When contacted, Sunday Igboho’s lawyer, Mr. Yomi Alliyu, SAN, said yesterday he hadn’t been in contact with his client since news of his arrest filtered in.

He expressed shock over the news that the Federal Government arrested Igboho with the help of INTERPOL in the Benin Republic.

Alliyu, who spoke with Vanguard, said: “I have not had contact with my client since the news of his arrest in Benin Republic.”

He, however, urged the Beninoise government to refuse any application for extradition by the Federal Government.

The statement read: “Again, another wife of our client, Mrs Ropo Adeyemo, a German citizen, has been arrested together with her husband in Cotonou. What offence has she committed to warrant this?

“The INTERPOL and Benin Republic should be aware of the act of savagery committed in his client’s house in the wee hours of 1st July 2021, between 1.00 am and 3.00 am; shooting their way through and killing two people in the process and maliciously damaging his properties in the course of that illegal invasion.

“The invading DSS officers did not state any reason for their invasion to our client before or during the invasion. They later paraded 13 people, arms and ammunition which our client denied to be his as he is a peaceful campaigner for self-determination and it is on good record that the guns and ammunitions displayed were the same displayed in 2013 in another instance.

“This could be seen on 2013 Facebook though DSS has dismissed this on their website. But what they cannot deny is that when they were leaving our client’s house they left with two corpses and people arrested and nothing more except two guns belonging to the police escorts of Mr. Adisa Saheed Olalekan.

“One of the people they killed was one Mr. Olalekan of Oladams Motors, Osogbo, who came to Sunday Igboho’s house to discuss auto business. He came with two police escorts. Though the policemen were not among the people paraded to the public, heir guns were among those displayed.

“The Extradition Treaty of 1984 among Togo, Nigeria, Ghana and Republic of Benin excluded political fugitives. It also states that where the fugitive will not get justice because of discrimination and/or undue delay in prosecution the host country should not release the fugitive.

“Article 20 of African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights to which the four countries are signatories made agitation for self-determination a fundamental right to be protected by all countries. This made Chief Sunday Adeyemo a political offender who cannot be deported and/or extradited by the good people of the Republic of Benin for any reason.

“Secondly, that he cannot get justice or even be killed is apparent in how those arrested in his house were detained for more than 21days now without access to their lawyers. Even the wife among them could not change her undies for 21 days. Which inhuman treatment can be more this?

“We urge the good government of the Republic of Benin and the international community, especially Germany, to rise and curb the impunity of the Nigerian Government by refusing any application for extradition of our client, who already has an application before the ICC duly acknowledged.” 

Ayo Adebanjo, Afenifere, Akintoye, YCE, others react

The news of Igboho’s arrest, however, generated mixed reactions from Yoruba leaders and groups, including the leader of the pan-Yoruba socio-political organization, Afenifere, Pa Ayo Adebanjo; the Yoruba Council of Elders, YCE, leader of Ilana Omo Oodua, Professor Banji Akintoye; Afenifere Renewal Group, ARG, former governor of Oyo State, Chief Rashidi Ladoja and Kiriji Heritage Defenders.

We’ve mobilized lawyers to fight Igboho’s extradition — Akintoye

In his reaction, renowned historian and leader of the umbrella body of Yoruba self-determination groups, Emeritus Professor Banji Akintoye, who confirmed Igboho’s arrest said that he, alongside other Yoruba patriots are currently working to assist Ighoho  prevent his extradition back to Nigeria, saying “Benin Republic is a land that respects the rules of law.”

Akintoye in a statement by his Communications Manager, Mr. Maxwell Adeleye, called on all Yoruba people within and beyond the shores of Nigeria to ensure  their ancestral land was not defeated by invaders.

The statement read: “I received last night the troubling information that Chief Sunday Adeyemo fondly called Igboho had been arrested at the Cotonou Airport. 

“I and other Yoruba Patriots who are immediately available are now working to assist, and ensure that nobody will be able to do to him anything unlawful or primitive and to prevent him from being extradited into Nigeria which is strongly possible. 

“Fortunately, Benin Republic is reliably a land of law where the authorities responsibly obey the law. We have secured the services of a leading and highly-respected lawyer whom we can confidently rely on. 

“What the situation now calls for is that the Yoruba nation at home and in Diaspora must stand strong, resolved that neither Sunday Igboho nor any other Yoruba person will henceforth be subjected to dehumanizing treatment of any kind. 

“We, Yoruba nation, are, by the grace of God, a very strong nation. We must arise now to show that strength. 

“For a start, we must all see to it now that Sunday Ighoho will get his freedom back to be able to move and operate as a free person. We all know he has committed no crime.’’

We’re still studying situation—Afenifere

On its part, Afenifere said though surprised over the Igboho’s arrest, it was still studying the situation of events before making a formal statement.

When contacted, Afenifere’s National Publicity Secretary, Comrade Jare Ajayi, said: “The news of the arrest was a surprise. But the body is still studying the situation before making a formal statement as details of the arrest is still sketchy.”

He was, however, quick to add that “security agencies appear to be more active in hunting those who are peacefully agitating for the rights and better deals for their people than they appear to be in dealing with bandits and terrorists who have deprived thousands of innocent Nigerians of their lives and properties.”

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