A Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Chief Mike Ozekhome has given reason why the extradition of popular Yoruba Nation agitator Sunday Adeyemo, aka Igboho to the country may continue to be a tall order for the Nigerian government.
The renowned lawyer, in his argument stated that Igboho, who is currently in a detention facility in Cotonou, Benin Republic cannot be extradited to Nigeria because he is not a “political criminal.”
Ozekhome, who cited Article 12 of the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights stated that only a person that has committed a criminal offence can be extradited.
Speaking on an Arise TV programme, monitored by The New Diplomat, Monday, the learned silk further added that Igboho is an activist who is seeking the self-determination of his people and as such the Federal Government has no right to request for the extradition of the activist to country.
Ozekhome said according to “Article 12 of the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights, the requesting country must show that the person they are requesting to be extradited, is not being requested for on grounds of politics, or his believes, religion, or activities as a human rights activist, that it is simply because he has committed a crime. And that crime must also be a crime in the country making that request.
“So, it is not something that is as easy as that. The case of Abba Kyari falls into the category of extraditable offences. But, the American government cannot use FBI or CIA and come here (Nigeria) and pick up anybody. The last time we had that happen, and it can never happen again, not in this modern world, I remember was July 1984 When Alhaji Umar Dikko was cripted and was about to be brought forcefully into Nigeria. He had been a very vocal critic of the government of then Major General Muhammadu Buhari as the head of state, when he and others were being looked for in terms of say (allegations that) they committed some financial impropriety during their time. So they ran to London.”
Recall Igboho had been placed on a wanted list by the Department of State Services (DSS) over allegations of stockpiling arms and ammunitions to cause havoc in the country, something his media aide, Olayomi Koiki had denied several times in the past.
Following the man-hunt for the 48-year-old activist, the operatives of the DSS raided the residence of Igboho in Ibadan, however, the activist escaped from the hands of the operatives and went underground.
Also, the Federal Government of Nigeria through the Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS), placed Igboho on a stop-list in order to hinder him from fleeing the country.
The activist was subsequently arrested in Cotonou, Benin Republic on July 19, 2021 while trying to catch a flight to Germany. The activist has since been arraigned before the Cour De’appal De Cotonou.
According to reports, Igboho is being tried on immigration-related issues. The court is said to be investigating why and how the activist came to Benin.
The fate of Igboho is currently up in the air amid media reports that there are strong indications Benin Republic is likely to grant the activist an asylum this week.
Ibrahim Salami, legal counsel to Igboho was quoted by the Punch on Monday to have said the Beninoise government arrested the activist on the order of its Nigerian counterpart, insisting that there is no proof that his client is a criminal.