LAGOS / ABUJA / AKURE / IBADAN – Following the arrest of Sunday Adeyemo, also known as Sunday Igboho, the campaigner for Yoruba self-determination, on Monday evening by the security operatives in Cotonou, Benin Republic, opposition has swelled, calling on the West African country not to extradite him to Nigeria.
Banouto, a local newspaper in the West African country, quoted Beninise authorities as saying Igboho was arrested at Cardinal Bernardin International Airport in Cotonou while traveling to Germany with his wife.
Igboho’s arrest is coming three weeks after he was declared wanted by Department of State Services (DSS).
Yomi Alliyu (SAN), Igboho’s counsel, in a statement late Tuesday, declared that his client and wife, a German citizen, were arrested by the Interpol in Benin.
Alliyu called on the German government and Benin Republic to prevent the extradition of Igboho to Nigeria.
“I call upon you to rise up and curb the impunity of the Nigerian government by refusing any application for extradition of our client who already has an application before the International Criminal Court duly acknowledged,” he said.
Emeritus Professor Banji Akintoye, renowned historian and leader of the umbrella body of Yoruba self-determination groups, said Yoruba patriots are currently working to provide assistance for Ighoho to prevent his extradition into Nigeria, saying, “Benin Republic is a land that respects the rule of law.”
Akintoye in a statement he personally signed and made available to newsmen on Tuesday by his Communications Manager, Mr. Maxwell Adeleye, 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 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 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 diaspora must stand strong, resolved that neither Sunday Igboho nor any other Yoruba person will henceforth be subjected to inhuman or dehumanising 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 so as to be able to move and operate as a free person. We all know he has committed no crime.
“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.
“We know, furthermore, that for the protection of his people who are being brutalised, he has joined hands with many of his brethren to take the legally-appropriate step, namely to seek the intervention of the International Criminal Court,” Akintoye said.
Ozekhome Mocks Federal Government
Similarly, frontline rights activist and constitutional lawyer, Chief Mike Ozekhome (SAN), on Tuesday made mockery of the Federal Government, saying, “The same government that is suddenly effective in the case of Nnamdi Kanu and Sunday Igboho has never been able to capture kidnappers, armed bandits and Boko Haram that are daily ravaging us, turning Nigeria into sprawling field of human carnage”.
He said the arrest of Yoruba nation crusader, Sunday Igboho, is like pursing the shadow and not the substance.
Ozekhome was reacting to the arrest of Yoruba nation crusader, Sunday Igboho, in Benin Republic.
“The Federal Government appears supersonically effective and efficacious when it comes to arresting and repatriating dissenters and challengers of its morbid nepotic and sectionalistic government.
“The same government paradoxically appears abysmally weak and hopelessly helpless when it comes to fighting AK-47 wielding armed bandits, Boko Haram and other deadly insurgents, including ransom-taking kidnappers who are almost kidnapping the very heart and soul of Nigeria on a daily basis”, Ozekhome stated.
In a statement, the Senior Advocate of Nigeria said, “The Nigerian nation appears captured by non-state actors.
“To me, this lopsided template demonstrates acute intolerance and ambivalence. It shows self-contradiction.
“It shows an inclination towards enforcing laws against certain people, against certain classes of people, while at the same time turning away the other eye in enforcing laws against the other preferred and pampered set of people.
“Such does not make a nation grow, such does not make democracy work.
“Such does not build confidence and inclusiveness, the very reasons for the Igbohos and Nnamdi Kanus of this world.
“Such does not enjoin patriotism and building of nationhood”, Ozekhome stated.
Yoruba Group Cautions Republic Of Benin On Extradition
Yoruba Nation Global Directorate has condemned the arrest of Sunday Ogboho, cautioning Benin government not to extradite him.
The group said it viewed with dismay the kidnapping attempt to bring to Nigeria Chief Sunday Adeyemo Igboho Monday night at Cotonou by the Department of State Services without following internationally laid down procedures.
A statement signed by the group’s Director, Princess Adeola Atayero Olamijulo, and made available to Daily Independent on Tuesday, condemned and described as gestapo-like the alleged act of the Nigerian government at the international level which undermines civilised conducts.
The group said, “We understood Chief Sunday Adeyemo Igboho was in Benin Republic on private visit when the agents of the Buhari government intercepted him with the view to arrest him with the assistance of the Interpol in the early hours of 20th July, 2021 in Cotonou Republic of Benin.
“The YNGD understands that his captors (Interpol) are refusing to hand him over to the Nigerian DSS authority which wanted him extradited to Nigeria within the confines of the stipulations of international law and their domestic jurisdiction.
“It will be recalled that the Nigerian government through a detachment of army, police and DSS invaded Chief Adeyemo’s residence in the dead of night, killed two of his aides and abducted 12 others who are still in their custody since July 1, 2021. They have been kept incommunicado since then.
“Lawyer to the detained 12 aides of Chief Adeyemo, Ọmọlola Adekunle, filed legal action against the DSS. The matter has been assigned to court but yet to be heard.
The corpses of the two aides killed in Chief Adeyemo’s residence were taken away by the DSS.”
YNGD has, therefore, appealed to the Beninose government not to allow the Nigerian government have access to Chief Adeyemo because he has done nothing unlawful.
The group said, “Chief Adeyemo is a human rights activist who Buhari’s government is after because he has been fighting for the rights of his people who are being killed, raped, maimed and kidnapped daily for ransom by Fulani herdsmen who are from Gen. Muhammadu Buhari’s tribe. Buhari’s human rights index has dwindled as insecurity has enveloped the country under his administration.”
Don’t Brutalise Sunday Adeyemo, Yoruba Global Alliance Warns FG
Again, the Yoruba Global Alliance has warned the Federal Government not to brutalise Sunday Adeyemo following his arrest in Benin Republic.
The group in a statement on Tuesday by its director of public communication, Taju Tijani, said that it was regrettable that in the 21st century Nigerians are recording a muscular form of democracy under President Muhammadu Buhari, who according to it, is daily retreating into a dangerous dictator bent on grounding Nigeria in shame among the comity of nations.
The statement read in part, “We are witnessing the sudden and shocking re-emergence of military chauvinism in virtually all areas of our national life. Sunday Igboho emerged like a messianic figure and with his disarming simplicity and humility was able to enlarge a circle of mutual trust and solidarity with his Yoruba tribe at a defining moment when his tribe faced genocide from Fulani herdsmen.”
The group maintained that Igboho gave Yoruba elevated understanding of the auguries that lay ahead of the activities of Fulani herdsmen if they are not curtailed in the South Western region of Nigeria.
The group further said, “We are aware that Nigeria has morphed into a ‘one chance’ democracy that is bent on defending Fulani sectarian interest, curtail freedom, and use military clampdown on opposition figures. This totalitarian impulse ferment in ignorance, oppression, fear, and moral defeat.
“President Buhari has been deploying the logic of the ghetto to hunt self-determination groups while cuddling and pampering Fulani herdsmen, murderous bandits, merciless kidnappers, and criminals across Northern Nigeria.
The Yoruba Global Alliance warns that Sunday Igboho must not be physically brutalised.
“He must go through and exhaust all the judicial processes pertaining to extradition between Nigeria and Republic of Benin and must have legal representation all the way.
“The public must know the type of crime Igboho committed to be declared wanted as we do not believe in the earlier trump up framing of stockpiling arms and ammunition levelled against him by the Nigerian state,” the statement added.
FG’s Inability To Provide Security Created Agitation, Says Ladoja
Meanwhile, a former governor of Oyo State, Senator Rasidi Adewolu Ladoja, has said that it was the Federal Government that created Sunday Adeyemo and Nnamdi Kanu.
Ladoja made this disclosure while addressing journalists shortly after he observed the two Rakah obligatory Eld-Kabir prayers on Tuesday.
The Osi Olubadan of Ibadan land who spoke at his Ondo Street residence in Ibadan, noted that failure of the Federal Government to address incessant cases of kidnapping, killings and attack of innocent citizens across the country especially in Igangan and other parts of the country made Igboho to become a hero.
The former governor who advised the Federal Government to handle the arrest of Igboho with care, insisted that many Sunday Igbohos and Nnamdi Kanus will surface if the issues they were agitating for were not handled with care.
“It is not the arrest that is important to me. It is the Federal Government that created Sunday Igboho.
“It is the Federal Government that created him. It was in respect of killings in Igangan and other areas. When the perpetrators are arrested, they will claim that they have power from above and they will release them.
“The Fulani herdsmen have killed many people, Dr. Fatai Aborode, Alhaji Sherifat Adisa were killed, and nobody was arrested. That is why Sunday Igboho resorted to self-help. It was because of these that Sunday Igboho came and became a hero.
“If Sunday Igboho is arrested today and the attitude did not change, many Sunday Igbohos will surface.
“It has never been bad like this. It is unfortunate that the president is turning deaf ears.
“Just like Kanu, he has become a leader to some people. Sunday Igboho is also a leader to some people. If the situation is not well managed, many Kanus, Igbohos will surface. They should give them amnesty just like the way they are giving Boko Haram,” Ladoja said.
Nothing Harmful Must Happen To Igboho, Afenifere Warns
Afenifere, pan-Yoruba socio-political organisation, on Tuesday sent a message to the Federal Government that no harm must befall Yoruba nation agitator, Chief Sunday Adeyemo, as he has done nothing wrong to necessitate his arrest.
Chief Ayo Adebanjo, national leader of the organisation, in a chat with Daily Independent while condemning what he called “the dictatorial actions of the Buhari-led Federal Government”, said Igboho should not be treated as a criminal for demanding secession.
“They have no right to be chasing him around. What has he done? Even if he asked for secession, hasn’t he got a right to do that? It is only in a dictatorial government that you have this kind of thing. Under the criminal law in Nigeria, do you arrest people in the night without any warrant?
“We are under a military regime which they call civilian (regime). They want to silence everybody at all cost, including the media. No harm must befall Igboho because he has done nothing wrong”, Adebanjo said.
Chief Yomi Aliu (SAN), lawyer to Igboho, said his client cannot be extradited to Nigeria from Benin Republic.
While confirming Igboho’s arrest on Monday night with his wife, Ropo Adeyemo in Cotonou, Benin Republic, Aliu in a statement, however, stated they cannot be extradited because of a treaty with Benin on political offenders.
The lawyer, who said Igboho is a political offender, also said the treaty is categorical that any political offender unlikely to get justice at home should not be extradited to home country.
According to him, lawyers in Benin Republic would be engaged to defend Igboho’s rights against extradition.
“It is a shocking news that Nigerian government has gotten Chief Sunday Adeyemo a.k.a Sunday Igboho Oosa arrested by Interpol in Republic of Benin notwithstanding the political nature of his offence and what the DSS earlier said that they refrained from arresting him so as not to overheat the polity of South Western Nigeria.
“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.
“Secondly, that he cannot get justice or even be killed is apparent in how those arrested in his house were detained for more than 21 days 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 than this?
“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?
“We urge the good government of the Republic of Benin and international community, especially Germany, 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 ICC duly acknowledged.”
Also on Tuesday, Olayomi Koiki, Igboho’s media aide, said he has not been released by the authorities of Benin Republic.
There were reports on social media that Igboho who was arrested in Cotonou on Monday night alongside his wife, Ropo Adeyemo, had been released and was on his way to Germany.
When contacted by Daily Independent, Koiki said the report was untrue as nothing of such happened.
“Please disregard the report. There is nothing as such”, he said.
HURIWA Asks Buhari To Declare Miyetti Allah Terrorist Group
Meanwhile, the Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) has condemned the arrest of Yoruba nation agitator, Sunday Adeyemo, with his wife.
HURIWA in a statement issued by its National Coordinator, Emmanuel Onwubiko, wondered why the Muhammadu Buhari-led government failed to proscribe Fulani militia and Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria, as terror groups despite the killing of Southern and Christian farmers in the country.
The group said the selective arrests of mainly Southern agitators whilst pampering and petting Fulani terrorists is at variance to Chapter 4, Section 42 of the Nigerian Constitution which represents the Right to Freedom from discrimination.
The statement read, “The selective arrests of mainly Southern Nigerian born agitators whilst pampering and petting Fulani terrorists is at variance to Chapter 4, Section 42 of the Nigerian Constitution which represents the Right to Freedom from Discrimination.
“President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration has clearly demonstrated to the world that it is only out to stop crusaders in Southern Nigeria who have effectively activated mechanisms for checking and slowing down the incessant violence and terror attacks against communities all over Southern Nigeria by armed Fulani militia supported by Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association.
“The administration of Muhammadu Buhari by fiercely going after Sunday Igboho of the Yoruba self-determination agitation platform and Nnamdi Kanu of the Indigenous People of Biafra and then maintaining unpatriotic silence and active conspiratorial silence on the dastardly terrorists activities of Muhammadu Buhari’s kinsmen and bandits including those who shot down a military jet in Zamfara State.
“The government by this latest clampdown on Sunday Igboho has demonstrated unambiguous evidence of supporting the agenda of Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association which only few days back made senseless allegation that South West governors are providing refuge for Sunday Igboho even when the gentleman has committed no crime but is being framed up over trumped up charges made by the Department of State Services that seems to be working in cahoot with the Fulani ethnic warriors.”