More details have emerged on the circumstances surrounding the arrest of popular Yoruba Nation agitator, Chief Sunday Adeyemo also known as Igboho in Benin Republic as a former Chief of Army Staff, Lt. General Tukur Buratai (rtd) has been allegedly fingered in the ongoing diplomatic tussle.
The New Diplomat had reported that Igboho was arrested on Monday night at an airport in Cotonou, Benin Republic.
Recall that Igboho has been agitating for the secession of Southwest Nigeria to establish a new country, often refer to as O’odua Nation.
On July 1, 2021, the operatives of the Department of State Services (DSS), raided the residence of Igboho in the Soka area of Ibadan, Oyo State. During the raid, the DSS recovered several arms and ammunitions, a claim which the the activist’s spokesman, Mr Olayomi Koiki has denied.
The DSS also arrested and paraded 12 aides of Igboho following the raid. Ever since, the activist’s whereabouts became unknown as reports had it that he went underground.
The DSS subsquently placed him on a wanted list for allegedly stockpiling arms and ammunition.
Meanwhile, on Monday the activist was arrested in Benin Republic by Interpol, according to reports.
According to a top security source who spoke with The Punch, Nigeria’s Ambassador to Benin Republic and former COAS, Lt. Gen. Buratai (rtd) was allegedly involved in the arrest of Igboho, a development that took place within the jurisdiction of his country of assignment and Nigeria’s next-door neighbour.
The security source stated that the Embassy of Nigeria in Benin had sent a secret letter to the Beninoise government to be on the lookout for Igboho prior to the his arrest.
Meanwhile, the security source disclosed that Buratai, who was recently posted to the West African country is currently at the forefront of the ongoing move to extradite the activist to Nigeria.
“Of course, he (Buratai) knew about the case. On July 7, 2021, the Nigerian Government through the Ambassador sent a secret letter to Nigerian Embassy, Nigerian Embassy sent a letter to Ministry of External Affairs in Benin Republic, External Affairs sent to Internal Affairs, Internal Affairs sent to police to arrest Sunday Igboho,” the source said.
However, a legal team has been constituted to stop the extradition of Igboho. The legal team has reached out to the Benin Republic government to halt his extradition.
Chief Yomi Alliyu (SAN), lead counsel to Igboho had argued that Igboho, alongside his wife who was also arrested cannot be extradited to Nigeria based on a 1984 treaty with Benin Republic. He claimed that provisions in the treaty do not allow the extradition of any political offender who is unlikely to get justice in his home country.
“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.” Alliyu stated.