The Yoruba nation activist, Sunday Adeyemo, also known as Sunday Igboho’s lawyers have reached out to the Benin Republic government to halt his extradition.
It was gathered on Tuesday that the legal team in Benin met with some senior officials in the Francophone country to thwart moves by the Federal Government to repatriate Igboho.
A member of Igboho’s legal team, Pelumi Olajengbesi, confirmed the development to journalists in Abuja on Tuesday.
Speaking on the circumstances of Igboho’s arrest and moves by the FG to repatriate him to Nigeria, Olajengbesi explained that the legal team representing the activist had said they would do all that was necessary to prevent their client’s extradition.
He said, “The lawyers we engaged in Benin have met with some officials of the country to prevent the extradition.
“Igboho’s lawyers in Benin have already reached out to senior officials in Benin to ensure that he is not brought back to Nigeria. They (legal team) have assured us that they are doing all that is necessary to keep him in Benin.
“The Federal Government or Benin Republic won’t be able to circumvent the law to bring him to Nigeria. He is currently a prisoner of conscience in Benin Republic and the entire world is watching how the Benin government would manage the matter.”
Olajengbesi stated that the Federal Government would not be allowed to give Igboho “the Nnamdi Kanu treatment.
“When Nnamdi Kanu was arrested, nobody was aware and the Federal Government has refused to admit that he was arrested in Kenya. Since we have been informed of Igboho’s arrest, there have been a lot of legal interventions that the law is followed.
“The lawyers we engaged in Benin are especially discussing with the Benin Republic government. We are very confident that they won’t be able to repatriate him.”
Security sources said the Federal Government would go to any length, including offering juicy concessions to the Benin Republic to get them to release Igboho to Nigerian security operatives.
An official disclosed that the office of the Attorney-General of the Federation may charge Igboho with unlawful possession of firearms, attempted treason, conspiracy and disturbance of public peace, among others.
Igboho’s lead counsel, Yomi Alliyu (SAN), in a statement obtained by The PUNCH on Tuesday, confirmed that Igboho and his wife were arrested in Benin Republic.
He stated that the Nigerian Government treated his client unjustly and committed “savagery acts” by “invading” the activist’s house in the middle of the night, destroying his property, detaining and killing his associates.
Alliyu argued that “The Extradition Treaty of 1984 between 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 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.”
The senior advocate, who described the arrest of his client as shocking, urged the government of Germany, Benin Republic and the international community “to rise up and curb the impunity of the Nigerian government by refusing any application for extradition of our client who already has application before the International Criminal Court duly acknowledged.”
Reacting to Igboho’s arrest, the leader of the umbrella body of the Yoruba Self-Determination Groups, Ilana Oodua, Banji Akintoye, in a statement, said Yoruba patriots, who were immediately available, were working to provide assistance for Ighoho to prevent his extradition into Nigeria, saying “Benin Republic is a land that respect the rules of law”.
In the statement made available to journalists on Tuesday by his Communications Manager, Maxwell Adeleye, Akintoye called on all Yoruba People within and beyond the shores of Nigeria to come out and ensure that their ancestral land is not defeated by invaders.
“I and other Yoruba patriots who are immediately available are now working to provide the assistance necessary to 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 Diapora must stand strong, resolved that neither Sunday Igboho nor any other Yoruba person will henceforth be subjected to inhuman or dehumanizing treatment of any kind.
“We know that some people are trying to suppress or even eliminate him only because he stood up to defend his kinsmen, women and children who are being massively killed and raped in their ancestral home land; who are having their assets and means of livelihood destroyed, and who are facing ethnic cleansing and even genocide without having the benefit of protection by the rulers of their country.”