*Nigeria, Benin Republic have no extradition agreement
*FG accuses activist of arms trafficking, inciting violence
*Allegations against him spurious, untenable, insufficient—Lawyer
*Abuja court orders DSS to produce detained aides
*Akintoye, Adebanjo react
By Dapo Akinrefon & Ikechukwu Nnochiri
A Beninese Court sitting in Cotonou, Benin Republic, has asked the Nigerian government to provide on Monday, whatever evidence it has against Yoruba nation agitator, Chief Sunday Adeyemo, aka Sunday Igboho.
The Nigerian government is accusing the activist of allegedly trafficking in arms and inciting violence capable of causing social disturbance. He was declared wanted by the Department of State Services, DSS, earlier in July after his Ibadan house was raided by operatives of the DSS who killed two of his aides and arrested 12 others. The arrested aides were paraded in Abuja and an Abuja court yesterday directed the DSS to produce them in court, July 29 to show cause why they should not be released on bail.
Igboho was however arraigned yesterday at the Court D’Appel De Cotonou in Benin Republic after his arrest at the Cardinal Bernardin International Airport, Cotonou on Monday night on his way to Germany with his wife.
After yesterday’s court proceedings at the Beninois court, Igboho’s lawyer, Mr Ibrahim Salami, told theIlana Omo Oodua, IOO, a group championing the cause of Yoruba nation that Igboho’s case was adjourned till Monday 26th July to allow the Federal Government of Nigeria bring up whatever evidence they may have to prove the allegations against him.
The group’s Communications Manager, Mr Maxwell Adeleye, in a statement yesterday said,
“ the court set Mrs Adeyemo, Igboho’s wife free on Wednesday since it has been found that she has committed no offence and there’s no complaint whatsoever against her. Consequently, her German passport was returned to her.
“The lawyers handling the case reported after the proceedings that Chief Sunday Adeyemo Igboho cannot be extradited to Nigeria for two principal reasons:
“That contrary to insinuations, Nigeria and Benin have no Extradition Agreement. That Nigeria has not been able to come up with charges that could lead the court to order Igboho’s extradition to Nigeria. “What Federal Government came up with were mere allegations against Ighoho such as trafficking in arms and inciting violence that could result in the social disturbance without evidence which the Government of Benin Republic considered spurious, untenable, and insufficient to warrant extradition.
READ ALSO: Extradition battle: FG’s allegations against Igboho untenable, insufficient―Ilana Omo Oodua
“The case has been adjourned till Monday 26th July to allow the Federal Government bring up whatever evidence they may have, and Mr. lgboho has been taken back to the police custody.”
God wanted greater enthusiasm from Yoruba people—Banji Akintoye
Meanwhile, Leader of Ilana Omo Oodua, IOO, Emeritus Professor Banji Akintoye said that the arrest of Sunday Igboho was a blessing in guise adding that God wanted greater enthusiasm from the Yoruba people. Akintoye, who spoke on ARISE TV, said since Igboho was arrested, the Yoruba people have been united.
The Yoruba leader said: “We have been receiving calls both at home and in the diaspora and they are offering their support. They are giving assistance not just to Sunday Igboho alone but to the whole Yoruba Nation’s self-determination programme. It is as if God allowed this to happen because He wanted to get greater enthusiasm from the Yoruba people for the Yoruba nation.”
Nig govt terrified of Igboho’s pouplarity— Ayo Adebanjo
Also reacting to Igboho’s arrest, Ayo Adebanjo, leader of Afenifere, Yoruba socio-political group, argued that the Federal Government has no right to seek Sunday Igboho’s extradition from Benin Republic.
In a chat with Arise Tv on Thursday, Adebanjo described Igboho as a “political prisoner”, and said the Federal Government has “no right” to seek his extradition.
The 93-year-old Afenifere leader submitted that Nigerian authorities were only terrified by Igboho’s popularity, saying “the-power-that-be wants to kill him because he’s leading a popular revolt”.
He said, “Buhari may depend on chariots and everything, but we have God.
“He [Igboho] is a political refugee. He didn’t commit any crime here. He didn’t waylay or kill anybody. He didn’t run away from anybody after committing a crime. He ran for his life because the-powers-that-be wanted to kill him because of his agitation, because he’s leading a popular revolt.
“When they saw the crowd that Igboho was pulling at every meeting, that was terrifying to them them.
“You’re looking for somebody’s life, and you ask him to come and surrender himself? Who will do that? He has muzzled everybody: the press can’t talk, and there is a limit to questions that broadcasters can ask now if they don’t want their stations to be closed down. They are keeping everybody quiet. But I tell you, they may depend on chariots and everything, but we have God because we are helpless. “
Court orders DSS to produce Igboho’s 12 detained aides
Meantime, the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja, yesterday ordered the Department of State Service, DSS, to produce before it, the 12 persons that were arrested at the residence of Sunday Igboho.
The court, in a ruling that was delivered by Justice Obiora Egwuatu, ordered that the arrested persons, who have been in detention since July 2, be produced before it on July 29 (next week Thursday).
Justice Egwuatu said the order was to enable the court to determine the circumstances surrounding their arrest, and for the DSS to show cause why they should not be released on bail, either conditionally or unconditionally.
The court further made an order allowing the suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/647/2021, to be heard within its vacation period.
The ruling followed a fundamental right enforcement suit that lawyer to the detained Applicants, Pelumi Olajengbesi, filed on their behalf, pursuant to section 32(1) and (2) of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, ACJA, as well as sections 6(6), 35 and 36 of 1999 Constitution, as amended.
The 12 persons the court ordered the DSS to produce before it are; Abdullateef Ofeyagbe, Amoda Babatunde (Aka Lady K), Tajudeen Erinoyen, Diakola Ademola, Abideen Shittu, and Jamiu Noah.
Others are Ayobami Donald, Adelabe Usman, Oluwafelumi Kunle, Raji Kazeem, Taiwo Opeyemi and Bamidele Sunday.
Counsel to the Applicants, Olajengbesi, while moving the motion ex-parte dated July 8, told the court the DSS kept them incommunicado since the day they were arrested and subsequently transferred to Abuja. He told the court that DSS had since then, denied them access to their family members and lawyers.
“My lord the Applicants are Nigerian citizens that are protected by the Constitution. The nature of our application is such that the Applicants have approached this court to seek its refuge and protection.
“The Applicants were arrested since July 2 and have been been kept incommunicado and denied access to their family members and lawyers.
“Attached as an exhibit in support of this application is a letter that was written to the Respondent (DSS), requesting access to the Applicants, which was not granted. It is attached in evidence. The fact is that for about 20 days now, Applicants have remained underground and have been denied their right of freedom.
“We pray that you consider this motion very important and compel the Respondents to produce the Applicants. My lord, if issues raised in this application are not addressed, the sole purpose for establishing the judicial system, to protect right and liberties of citizens, will be defeated.
“The world is watching how this noble arm of government will revitalize the consciousness of Nigerians that there can be safety and protection of their rights by the law”, Olajengbesi added.
The application which was supported by an 8-paragraphed affidavit and an exhibit, was also predicated on 8 grounds.
Ojajengbesi told the court that another 11-paragraphed affidavit of extreme urgency, was also filed on behalf of the Applicants.
It will be recalled that DSS operatives had in the wee hours of July 2, raided Igboho’s Ibadan residence, an operation the agency confirmed led to the death of two persons and the arrest of others now in detention.
The DSS, through its spokesman, Dr. Peter Afunanya, said it carried out the raid after intelligence reports revealed that Igboho stockpiled weapons in his house. Igboho however denied the allegation describing it another government magic. The agency thereafter launched a manhunt for him.