A new claim has suggested that Benin Republic, after much pressure from its neighbour, is reportedly planning to deport popular Yoruba Nation agitator, Sunday Adeyemo otherwise known as Sunday Igboho, who is currently in detention in the West African country.
According to reports, Igboho might be deported to Nigeria if found guilty of irregular migration to Benin Republic.
Igboho’s fate is currently up-in-the-air as the Cour D’Appel De Cotonou, Benin Republic recently ordered that the activist be transferred to another detention facility in Cotonou.
Recall that he had been arrested in Cotonou while trying to catch a flight to Germany. Igboho, who was subsequently arraigned before the court is said to be tried on how and why he entered Benin.
The activist, in his defence during court hearing on Monday had said he only travelled to Benin Republic to flee for Germany as the authorities in Nigeria allegedly wanted him dead. Igboho also cited the invasion of his residence by the operatives of the Department of State Services (DSS) as the reason he is trying to flee.
Meanwhile, a report by the Punch quoted one source to have said Igboho is being tried for irregular migration, adding that the activist risks deportation, fines, or imprisonment, if convicted of the offence.
The source also noted that Benin Republic was not ready to enter a diplomatic crisis with Nigeria, saying that Igboho might be deported.
“Yes, he was detained for fresh charges. While he was initially in the Brigade Criminelle facility, he made useful confessions. His lawyers also know that he is guilty of irregular migration,” the source said.
Another official said, “The least punishment Igboho can be given is to be deported to the country he came from (Nigeria) if found guilty. The Nigerian authorities can take over from there if they wish.”
However, Pelumi Olajengbesi, a Nigerian-based counsel to Igboho, has kicked against the plan, saying that he believes Benin Republic will operate within the confine of the law.
According to him, the Nigerian government through former Chief of Army Staff and Nigeria’s envoy to Benin Republic, Tukur Buratai has been allegedly negotiating with the Beninoise authorities to deport Igboho.
In his words, “I am aware that the Federal Government through the former Chief of Army Staff Tukur Buratai is making effort to get him deported. We can say that clearly.
“So far, the facts available before the court have nothing to do with the Nigerian government.
“We have nothing to worry about because the Benin Republic government has shown that it will operate within the precinct of the law. For us, we believe that Igboho is a criminal of conscience who has taken an effort to liberate his people.”