Moves by the government of President Muhammadu Buhari to quickly extradite Yoruba nation activist, Sunday Adeyemo, also known as Sunday Igboho, to the headquarters of the Department of State Services in Abuja have been rebuffed by the authorities in Benin Republic.
CHECKPOINTCHARLEY gathered that the tiny neighbouring country refused to cave in to pressures from Abuja to have Mr. Igboho extradited on Wednesday(yesterday), insisting on due process .
The Benioise government said categorically that it wont get involved in any extradiction without a hearing. A source said the Yoruba Nation ativist would be arraigned later today (Thursday) before a judge.
It is understood that Igboho has secured the services of Mr. Rafael Huvehnou, a top lawyer in Cotonou, and also attorney to the president of Benin Republic.
An associate of Mr. Igboho, who does not want his name in print, is confident that he may be granted bail today, because he will be arraigned for immigration related offence – attempting to travel with a fake Beninoise passport.
One of the lawyers of Igboho, Pelumi Olajengbesi told the press that Benin Republic had shown itself to be a country that respects the rule of law and due process.
According to him, despite pressure from Abuja, the government of Benin insisted on following due process including a repatriation hearing to determine whether or not Igboho is guilty as accused by the Nigerian government.
CHECKPOINTCHARLEY had reported that the Yoruba activist and his wife, Ropo were arrested on Monday night at the airport in Cotonou will trying to board a flight to Germany.
Mr. Igboho has been on the run since operatives of the Department of State Services, DSS raided his Ibadan residence on July 1, killing two of his aides and arresting many others. The Nigerian secret police accused him of stockpiling arms.
He denied the allegation. However, that raid was carried out hours to a planned mega rally in Lagos to drum support for the creation of Oduduwa Republic.
The Nigerian government had speculated that the wanted Igboho, who was later declared wanted by the DSS, may attempt flying to Europe through Benin Republic and had asked its Ambassador to Benin Republic, Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai (retd.) to do the needful.
It is gathered that Mr. Buratai wrote to the authorities in Benin, demanding the arrest of Igboho, who he reportedly described as a terrorist and murderer.
It was also based on this that Igboho was at first treated like an animal after his arrest, according to his lawyer Olajengbesi.
“The government is treating Igboho like a criminal because of the letters written by retired Lt. Gen Tukur Buratai to the government in Benin describing Igboho as a hardcore criminal.
“We have communicated to the government in Benin that he is not a criminal but an advocate for justice in Nigeria and so, he must be given such due.”
He confirmed that Igboho and his wife, a German citizen, were still in police custody in Cotonou.
He said, “The disposition of Benin Republic is that it is a country that respects the rule of law. We are making efforts that he is not repatriated wrongly to Nigeria. We are ensuring that everything is done in accordance with the law and we are very hopeful that we would succeed because we expect that there should be a repatriation hearing before they can extradite him if at all they would do that.”
Meanwhile, the Beninese lawyer representing Igboho have written to the German government to help stop the extradition of the Yoruba nation activist to Nigeria.
Olajengbesi revealed this on Wednesday.
He sais, “We have written to the German government to intervene and stop the illegal extradition of Igboho and we are expecting a due response from the German government. The wife is German and that made it convenient for us.
“The lawyers in Benin have formally written to the German government and so we expect them to intervene. We (Igboho’s lawyers in Nigeria) have not written to the German embassy in Nigeria because it is a public holiday but by tomorrow (today), steps will be taken in that regard.”
Olajengbesi added that the Beninese government would not succumb to pressure from the Nigerian Government to extradite Igboho to Nigeria, because “Benin Republic has a certain level of decency in terms of respect for the rule of law which is encouraging.”
The Federal government has been silent since the arrest of Mr. Igboho, and efforts to get an official response were not fruitful, as at the time of filing this report.