There Is Yet To Be A Briefing On Sunday Igboho Arrest —Justice Ministry
Iexclusive News Nigeria reports that more than 48 hours after the arrest and detention of Yoruba Nation agitator, Chief Sunday Adeyemo, also known as Sunday Igboho, the Federal Justice Ministry has said it is yet to get an official briefing on the development.
The ministry’s position came yesterday as Igboho’s lawyer, Yomi Aliyu, gave a vivid account of how his client was arrested.
Meanwhile, some Yoruba residing in Cotonou, Republic of Benin, yesterday, thronged the nation’s court where it is believed the extradition hearing of Igboho will be held.
Similarly, scores of demonstrators gathered at Igboho’s home in Ibadan, holding signs reading “Igboho is not a criminal,” “I stand with Igboho,” and other messages.
On Monday night, security officials in the neighboring country seized Igboho and his wife, Ropo, at Cadjèhoun Airport in Cotonou, Benin Republic, on their way to Germany.
After officers from the Department of State Service, DSS, searched his Ibadan house on July 1, he was declared wanted.
The DSS killed two people in the late-night raid, while 12 others were apprehended and paraded in Abuja later. They’ve been charged in court since then.
Justice Ministry is awaiting a briefing on the arrest.
There had been no official briefing on the case, according to a top official of the Ministry, whose legal advice will be vital in deciding the destiny of Igboho and his supporters.
“We have not been officially briefed on the arrest and detention of Igboho as we speak,’’ the official said.
There have been counter-claims regarding Igboho’s arrest, incarceration, and release.
Shortly after his incarceration in Cotonou was confirmed, individuals advocating for him said he had been released and was on his way to Germany thanks to foreign assistance.
However, some of the activist’s associates denied his release, accusing former army leader Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai, retd, of writing to the Beninois administration telling them not to release Igboho.
Nigeria’s current ambassador to Benin Republic is Buratai.
How Igboho was apprehended in Cotonou —Lawyer
Mr. Yomi Aliyu, SAN, the freedom fighter’s lawyer, described how Igboho was apprehended in Cotonou, Benin Republic, yesterday.
Mr. Aliyu, speaking on Rave FM’s “Frank Talk” radio talk show, said one of Igboho’s brothers who was traveling with him before he was arrested was the one bundled aboard the plane bound for Germany, not Sunday.
Sunday Igboho was already on the plane with his wife and brother when security operatives informed him that he was wanted, according to the lawyer. He was then forced off the plane along with his wife and brother by security operatives.
The legal practitioner said: “As at today, (Wednesday) Sunday Igboho is still in police detention in Benin Republic, specifically in Cotonou. While they were fighting with the brother, he was bundled back into the plane heading for Germany, he is the one in Germany now, not Igboho.
“He was already in the plane in Cotonu on his way to Germany with his wife and his brother was there too. Somebody pointed him out that he is a wanted person.
“He was brought down with the wife and brother and a fracas ensued because he was to be flown to Nigeria on a helicopter standing by. But the wife and the brother put up a fight and started shouting at the airport which attracted some other Yoruba indigenes and they came to their rescue.”
He added that his line of communication with Igboho was indirect, adding that he deliberately decided not to travel to Cotonouto avoid being embarrassed.
He said: “My communication with him is indirect. We don’t want to create a situation where we now go to Cotonu and I will be embarrassed for some other reasons.
“We know who is heading the police, who the ambassador in Cotonou is. I can’t go to that area now, but I speak with him indirectly anytime I want to speak with him.
I have been speaking with him through somebody that should know.
“I don’t belong to any group, either Afenifere or Oodua Nation. I am directly appointed by Sunday, not for any group, not for Oodua group, not for Afenifere or anybody.
“In fact, my own philosophy is different from their philosophy. But professionally, I am for Sunday and the rule of law, nothing political.”
Protests in Cotonou, Ibadan
The campaign for Igboho’s release, however, took a fresh turn when tens of thousands of Yoruba nationalists descended on Ibadan, the capital of Oyo State, demanding that the Beninois government refuse to extradite Igboho to Nigeria.
Similarly, the Yoruba in Cotonou were heard singing solidarity songs, demanding freedom for Igboho, in a video posted on the Facebook page of Olayomi Koiki, Igboho’s media aide.
They also requested an independent Yoruba nation, expressing trust in the Benin Republic’s legal system and expressing hope for Igboho’s release.
Vehicular movements disrupted in Ibadan
The demonstration in Ibadan, which began near his Soka home, blocked vehicle traffic on major routes in the area.
Protesters also took to the streets, holding placards with various messages appealing for Igboho’s release.
They advised the Federal Government not to infringe on Igboho’s right to freedom, claiming that Igboho had committed no crime and, as a result, should be free to travel around without fear of being pursued.
Yusuf Ajikobi, the demonstrators’ leader, told journalists that the Yoruba Nation agitator’s detention outside Nigerian jurisdiction is wrong, and that the agitation will continue until their demands are met.
Ajikobi said: “He is fighting for a genuine cause and we are all in support of his agitation. We are here to appeal to the Beninois government not to extradite Igboho to the Nigerian government.
“They should allow him seek asylum in Germany. Yoruba cannot continue to suffer. We are tired of how herdsmen are killing our farmers in the South-West and raping our girls. We demand our freedom. Let Sunday Igboho be. Let him move freely, let him enjoy his freedom.
“Help us ask Buhari and his people; what is the offence of Igboho? He (Igboho) asked Fulani herders killing and raping our people to leave, is that an offence? The Federal Government under Buhari knows where bandits and Boko Haram leaders are but they ignored them, preferring to use Nigeria’s resources to kidnap peace-loving people and put them in jail.
“This government watched a northern cleric romancing bandits, visiting them in the forests but this government still claims not to know the bandits’ whereabouts.
“We call on our South-West governors and Yoruba monarchs to rise and fight for the people that put them in positions. It is not a crime if someone is asking for an end to oppression. The Federal Government is pushing too far in the way it is handling the issues of Igboho and Nnamdi Kanu.”
Protesters task Yoruba monarchs on Igboho’s release
One of the protesting youths, David Ajulo, said: “I am appealing to Yoruba monarchs to rise in defence of Igboho. It should be known that many people in Yorubaland have suffered a lot at the hands of criminal herdsmen.
“They have raped, killed, kidnapped, took ransom and destroyed farmlands. So, many people are grieving in Yorubaland. Nobody came to their rescue, even the Federal Government and security agencies did not come to assist the Yoruba being terrorised by criminal herdsmen.
“If you have the records, you can challenge me the number of criminal herdsmen that have been arrested, prosecuted, and jailed for committing those crimes. Based on the fact that the Federal Government is not tackling the menace, the criminal herdsmen still live in Yorubaland and they continue to commit atrocities.
“Chief Igboho rose in defence of his people. The Federal Government has risen against him. This is not right. The Federal Government should correct itself.”
Another protester, identified as Azeez Sulaiman, said the Federal Government should recall how the war that led to the end of the First Republic started in Ibadan between 1960 and 1964, stressing that “we are not praying for civil war like Biafra but when a goat is pushed to the wall, it will fight back.’’
He added: “The Federal Government should release those arrested in Igboho’s house on July 1, during a bloody raid of his house in Ibadan. We are also demanding the release of the Yoruba nation agitators arrested during a peaceful rally in Ojota, Lagos, on Saturday, July 3, this year.
“We are aware that the court has granted them bail, but the bail conditions were too stringent. They have not been able to meet the baik conditions.”
Meanwhile, more reactions continue to trail the arrest and detention of Igboho in Benin Republic.
FG’s attempt to criminalise Igboho’s case undemocratic —Gani Adams
Reacting to the development yesterday, the Aare -Ona-Kakanfo of Yorubaland, Iba Gani Adams, faulted the arrest of Yoruba activist, warning the Federal Government not to trivialise agitations.
In a statement by his Special Assistant on Media, Kehinde Aderemi, Iba Adams said the call for Yoruba Nation came to the front-burner in Nigeria’s political history because of growing injustice, nepotism, corruption and maladministration in the various sectors of the country.
Adams said: “I felt bad when the news of his arrest broke out on Monday evening and I started monitoring unfolding events. But I think the Federal Government should be fair to the young man because any attempt to trivialize issues of agitation might set this nation on fire.
“For example, the issue of self-determination didn’t come up overnight. It was a result of long years of injustice, nepotism, and corruption occasioned by bad leadership. So, the Federal Government will be making a big mistake if it decides to treat agitators of the Yoruba nation as common criminals or enemies.
“Igboho has a right to his freedom. There is nothing wrong for him to seek asylum in the Republic of Benin, and he is entitled to seek refuge in a foreign land if he thinks his safety cannot be guaranteed here in Nigeria.
“He is still a freedom fighter and had never been violent in the struggle. So, the Federal Government must stop hunting him around like a common criminal. He deserves his liberty under the law; that is why the Federal Government must handle his case with care. Besides, the government of the Republic of Benin must also protect him under the law.
“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.
“Now, Article 20 of African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights to which the four countries were signatories made agitation for self-determination a fundamental right to be protected by all countries. This makes 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.
“Igboho’s case is gradually exposing FG’s plan to clamp down on all agitators and that is undemocratic, and also capable of turning government to the tyranny of the majority, especially from a government that came to power with a lot of hope and support from the people of the South-West.
“The right to self-determination is also entrenched in Article 1 of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the African Charter on People’s Rights.
“Democracy thrives when there is a free and fair election. In other climes, transparency is an integral part of the election process. But here in Nigeria, it is a different ball game because we usually shy away from the reality of the present situation in the world.
“However, we cannot continue to live as if we are in the dark ages when there was no access to information, when there were no communication facilities like mobile phones and other facilities.
“This is the 21st century, and it is an information age where countries of the world live and thrive on information.
‘’Therefore, it is sad to know that our lawmakers, who daily use mobile phones, operate mobile banking systems with various network services, are now giving unnecessary excuses on the use of electronic transmission of election results. It is sad.”
Treat him with respect, decorum — Fani-Kayode
In his reaction, former Aviation Minister, Mr. Femi Fani-Kayode, urged the Beninois government to treat Igboho with respect and decorum.
His words: “I call on the authorities in Cotonou to respect the civil liberties and rights of Chief Sunday Adeyemo, and I call on them to treat him with respect and decorum. Those rights are protected under international laws and protocols, including the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights to which Benin Republic is a signatory. The Beninoise Government must be fair in their actions.
“Igboho must not be denied access to his doctors and lawyers and he must not be tortured, brutalised, humiliated or treated with contempt.
“The whole world is watching and we shall continue to monitor the events with concern and keen interest.”
Release Sunday Igboho uncon-ditionally —Joe Odumakin
Also calling for Igboho’s release, President of Women Arise, Dr. Joe Okei-Odumakin, urged the authorities of the Republic of Benin to speedily process and grant the asylum application of the Yoruba activist.
Odumakin, in a statement, said: “News of the arrest of the Yoruba self-determination activist, Sunday Adeyemi, hit like a thunderbolt.
“Reports have now confirmed that he was arrested and is being held by the authorities of the Republic of Benin at an undisclosed location.
“Reports that he has been released and that he has left Benin republic for Germany have also been confirmed not only to be false but also to be injurious to his case of asylum-seeking that he is said to be processing before his arrest incidence in the neighbouring West African country.
“We call on those peddling this unfounded rumour to desist henceforth. Whether by friends of Igboho or his detractors, such rumour is an ill-wind that blows no one any good.
“We call on the authorities of the Republic of Benin, democracy and country under law, to speedily process and grant Igboho’s asylum application.
“It is not debatable that Igboho will come to grief if he is extradited to Nigeria under the prevailing circumstances.
“It is most unfortunate that a Nigerian government that treats with kid gloves terrorists of the hues of Boko Haram, herdsmen, and bandits ravaging entire Northern Nigeria applies the sledgehammer on law-abiding citizens protesting against such terrorists and their wanton destruction of lives and property.
“The way the present Nigerian authorities romance these despicable elements while victimising, oppressing and silencing their victims, leave a sour taste in the mouth.
“Bearing in mind the manner Nnamdi Kanu was whisked into Nigeria recently, in circumstances yet to be fully explained, and the various efforts at enacting gag laws by the same Nigerian authorities, there is no denying the fact that fascism is already creeping upon Nigerians.
“The tell-tale signs of military dictatorship are rearing their ugly heads again under a supposedly democratic government of President Muhammadu Buhari.
“In this wise, it is certain that Igboho cannot be assured safety or justice if extradited to Nigeria. He should be released from detention unconditionally and his safety and liberty guaranteed by the Republic of Benin authorities under extant international law.
“The Nigerian authorities are better advised to stop chasing shadows but address the patent dangers posed to the country by the despicable elements it is treating with kid gloves.’’
Agitation‘ll continue until there’s social justice — Agunloye
On his part, National Chairman of the Social Democratic Party, SDP, Dr. Olu Agunloye, said agitations would not abated until President Buhari adopted principles of social justice that would bring about peace, progress and prosperity to Nigerians.
Agunloye, a former minister, in a statement entitled: ‘Sunday Igboho, FG and us’ said: “Intercepting Sunday Igboho in a foreign land in a similar way to that of Nnamdi Kanu, also in a foreign land, shows that our government will accomplish whatever it considers a priority.
“This latent political determination now uncaged can be very useful for positive and productive impacts. This is why we can only hope and expect that the government will include in its priority list the principles of social justice, comprising equal access, inclusiveness, equity and respect for human rights to assure peace, roundtable conference and integration in Nigeria.
“In this Cotonou interception, it will appear that abuse of rule of law and breach of an international process such as extraordinary rendition, (also known as GK for Government Kidnapping) won’t be part of bringing Igboho back to Nigeria.
“This is because the Federal Government has commenced the due process of legal extradition. However, at this stage, it does not matter much what happens next.
“If the Federal Government gets Igboho, a new dimension of the epic legal battle will commence in Nigeria and so will be more fuel for the agendas and agitations for separatist moves.
“If the Federal Government fails to get Igboho, the de-novo activist cum traditionalist will go and cool off abroad. He will count his losses as well as ponder over his next moves.
“Either way, agitations will not abate in Nigeria until President Buhari and his presidency adopt principles of social justice to bring about peace, progress and prosperity to a Nigeria where the people have agreed on how to live together, work together, weather storms together and develop together.”
Agbekoya condemns Igboho’s arrest
The Agbekoya Farmers Association criticized Igboho’s ongoing detention in Benin Republic, claiming that he was not a criminal.
“Agbekoya condemns the arrest of Chief Adeyemo in the Benin Republic as if he is a hardened criminal,” the farmers’ guild said in a statement signed by its President and National Publicity Secretary, Messrs Kamorudeen Okikiola and Olatunji Bandele. We also deplore the unjust execution of his aides and the barbarous raid of his home in Ibadan.
“Although Agbekoya Farmers Association is not on the same page with the Yoruba nation agitator because Agbekoya is not in support of agitation for Yoruba national. We are for devolution of power, restructuring of Nigeria and constitutional reforms.
“We should not for any reason allow sentiment sweep under the carpet why Chief Sunday Adeyemo is fighting for the sons and daughters of Yoruba land who are being mercilessly killed or kidnapped by criminal Fulani criminals and bandits without being prosecuted by the government.
“We want the Federal government to pay more attention to insecurity in Nigeria because without peace and security, no nation can develop.”