- No Immigration-related Charges Against Igboho In Benin — Lawyer
Tension escalated on Monday evening in Cotonou, Benin Republic as police dispersed the supporters of Yoruba Nation agitator, Sunday Adeyemo aka Sunday Igboho from the premises of the Cour De’appal De Cotonou as the activist’s trial dragged on for most part of the day in the West African country.
The New Diplomat gathered that Igboho, who was brought into the court early morning before hundreds of his supporters packed the venue, was quizzed till late evening (up to 10 pm) by prosecutors at the court behind closed-door, raising concerns among many of his supporters who are said to be expecting a pronouncement of the court on the night, on the matter of transnational interest brought before it.
The court in Cotonou resumed sitting on Monday as many Yoruba speaking supporters of Ighoho, who are citizens of Benin Republic stormed the court premises to declare support for the activist, described as a political prisoner of conscience.
Some policemen stormed the court premises in about seven trucks to disperse the supporters of Ighoho who were present at the court premises awaiting the ruling of the court.
Also, members of the press were barred from the court proceedings. Many have also expressed concerns on the situation, saying the Beninoise authorities are allegedly trying to conduct a secret trial for the activist.
Although the reason for the action remains sketchy as of press time, however, sources said Benin Republic courts are not used to large crowds during sittings. However, the supporters were said to have converged at another venue not far away from the court premises.
Meanwhile, Ibrahim Salami, one of the Benin Republic-based lawyers of Sunday Igboho had disclosed that the court was still awaiting the extradition charges from the Nigerian government.
According to the lawyer, the Nigerian government would possibly be presenting a piece of video evidence.
While reacting to the viral reports that Igboho is being tried on immigration-related issues, Salami debunked the allegations, saying that only a Nigerian passport was found on the Yoruba rights activist.
He added that his client was not being tried for possessing a fake passport.
The lawyer had said, “When he left Nigeria, he took the backdoor into Benin. It was at the airport that security operatives stopped him that he was on the watchlist. He didn’t go against any law in Benin Republic. They didn’t find any Beninese passport on him. He had a Nigerian passport with a German residency card. He needed no visa at that point.
“When we understudied the case, we realised that the Nigerian government had not filed a case for extradition. They only claimed that he is wanted in Nigeria for criminal offences. Our argument is that he was arrested because of Nigeria’s request, and there is no proof to show that he is a criminal.”
Also, two delegations from the Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi, and the Olubadan of Ibadanland, Oba Saliu Akanmu Adetunji, Aje Ogungunniso 1, are currently in Benin Republic to observe the proceedings of the court case involving Chief Sunday Adeyemo, also known as Igboho.
Recall that the two Yoruba monarchs had constituted a committee assigned with the duties to follow the extradition process of Igboho, who hails from the southwestern region of Nigeria.