The legal team and supporters of Yoruba nation agitator, Sunday Adeyemo a.k.a. Igboho, will prefer that he dies in Benin Republic than allow him to be handed over to the Nigerian government, his lawyer, Ibrahim David Salami, declared on Saturday.
Salami vowed that everything would be done to ensure that Igboho is not extradited to Nigeria.
Also yesterday, Governor Babajide Sanwo-olu of Lagos State said that Southwest governors and some other people were working behind the scenes on Igboho’s case.
Salami, a Beninese Yoruba and law lecturer, told BBC Yoruba in an interview monitored by our correspondent that “it is important that Igboho is not extradited to Nigeria under any circumstances.”
“It is better for him to die here in Benin than extradited to Nigeria,” he said.
“With all that happened in his house and how the army is threatening him, allowing for his extradition will amount to sending him home to death.
“Rather than do that, it would be better to keep him in Benin and kill him than to let him go to Nigeria to be slaughtered like an animal.
“That has been our struggle and agitation here in Benin.”
He said the activist would know his fate tomorrow when the court is expected to rule on whether he, indeed, committed an offence in Nigeria warranting his extradition.
The federal government, he said, has written a letter to the Beninese government listing three offences against Adeyemo, namely illegal arms trafficking/stockpiling, public incitement and secession.
Salami denied that a Beninese passport was found in Igboho’s possession. But he confirmed that Igboho had a Nigerian passport bearing his name and a German residence permit which makes obtaining that country’s visa unnecessary.
Asked how Adeyemo was arrested, he said: “He was arrested at the point of documentation at the airport after his (Igboho’s) luggage had been checked in.
“The Nigerian government had notified Benin to help them arrest him in the event that they found him.
“The security people found that the name in his passport tallied with the name in their black book, and they asked him to step aside.”
Salami said the legal team of five in Benin has been receiving immense moral support from the Yoruba across the world since the case commenced but pleaded that those thronging the court at each hearing should keep off and allow the lawyers do their job.
He said unruly behavior on their part would not be in the best interest of Igboho as it will lend credence to the allegation of incitement leveled against him.
He said although Igboho remains handcuffed in detention, reports that he was beaten or tortured are false.
Igboho not abandoned, says Sanwo-Olu
Speaking yesterday on the arrest of Igboho in Benin Republic, Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State said that Southwest leaders were working to ensure his release.
Sanwo-Olu, who spoke shortly after casting his vote at Eti-Osa during the local government/council election, said prominent persons in the Southwest were working behind the scenes to ensure Igboho’s release.
”People are working behind the scenes, but the matter doesn’t have to be a public conversation,” Sanwo-Olu said.
He added: “These are very difficult times for all of us. But I can assure you that people are working behind the scenes.
“At times like this, it is not about how many press people you call.”
Igboho’s lawyers, on Friday filed a suit at the Oyo State High Court, Ibadan against the DSS and the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF), Abubakar Malami, SAN, seeking N500 billion damages over the July 2, 2021 invasion of his Sooka, Ibadan residence. He prayed the court for an order for the enforcement of his fundamental human right.
Igboho’s suit, according to his lawyers, is in sync with the fundamental human rights (Enforcement Procedure Rules 2009) and under the inherent jurisdiction of the court as preserved by Section 6 of the 1999 Constitution.
In the suit, Igboho, through his lawyer, Chief Yomi Aliu, SAN, is seeking orders declaring the invasion of his house as a violation of his fundamental human right, and the destruction of his property as a violation of his fundamental right to peacefully own property and wealth.
He wants N500 billion as compensation.
The sum was described as “exemplary and/or aggravated damages for breaching the applicant’s fundamental rights in the course of illegal and/or malicious invasion of his residence situate, lying and being at Igboho Villa. No.1, Dalag Street, Off Soka Bus Stop, Soka Area, Off Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, Ibadan.”
Igboho is also asking the court for a declaration that it was “oppressive, malicious, arbitrary and grossly unconstitutional for the 2nd & 3rd respondents to invade” his residence lying and being at Igboho Villa, 1, Dalag Street, Off Soka Bus Stop, Soka Area, Off Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, Ibadan “without announcing who they were and ask the applicant to open his gate but rather shot their way through, killing two people including an elderly Imam doing Tahjud (night vigil), shooting at cars thereby destroying them and not sparing animals like cats and dogs, in total violation of the intendments of the Fundamental Human Rights’ provision in CFRN, 1999 and African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights (Ratification and Enforcement), Act, LFN 2010 protecting the dignity of the human person, sanctity of human life and privacy of citizens and their homes.”
How it all happened at Cotonou airport, by Igboho’s wife
Igbohos’ wife, Ropo, has also shed light on the circumstances surrounding their encounter with Beninese security agents last Monday.
Ropo, in a WhatsApp post, said her husband was not caught with a fake passport.
Her words: “Kindly disregard the news, my husband was not arrested over a fake passport.
“Four of us were travelling out of the country: two of his associates to Dubai while my husband and myself were returning to Germany when we were stopped over our names which appeared on Interpol’s watch list.
“The other two going to Dubai are already there now. As for us, our passports were stamped by Benin immigration and while we were about boarding, the immigration officer that attended to us received a call and asked me to come back as he needed to check my passport again.
“Igboho, who was not called and already ahead, then made a detour to the toilet while the immigration perused my passport again.
“After some few minutes, I was asked to proceed, which I did, but I was once again asked to stop as there was another need to check the passport.
“All this while, I was in communication with Igboho over the phone and appealed to him not to leave the toilet since he was not called. But Igboho insisted that he couldn’t stay behind while I was being interrogated.
“It was when he made an appearance that the Beninese security operatives swooped in on us and informed us that our names were on their watch list and that they had the instruction that we should not be allowed to travel through their borders.
“I don’t know where Nigerian bloggers got the information of the doctored passport from, as that was not the case at all. In fact, the Nigerian government, as we speak, doesn’t even have access to Igboho as against the several claims in media.
“At the Cardinal Bernardin International Airport, Cotonou that fateful day, the security operatives invited us to their station and then the rest is history.
“There are so many negative and false reports being planted in the media by agents of Nigerian government.
“Igboho was not chained like a dog nor weeping like a baby.
“Besides, we know of all the attempts by the Nigerian government to get the Benin Republic to hand my husband over to them, and by God’s grace, all would fail.
“A Police Commissioner in Nigeria even tried to create fear in the judges by claiming that Igboho has a lot of charms and if released may kill those judges. This is not true.”