By Dirisu Yakubu

Famous rights activist and convener, Women Arise, Dr Joe Okei-Odumakin has called on the government of the Republic of Benin to release unconditionally the Yoruba nation campaigner, Mr Sunday Adeyemi popularly known as Sunday Igboho.

She made the call against the backdrop of reports in the media that Igboho was arrested and detained in the neighbourly country.

In a statement she personally signed, Dr Okei-Odumakin noted that reports claiming that Igboho had been released and was on his way to Germany were false. Such reports, she noted are “injurious to his case of asylum-seeking that he is said to be processing before his arrest incidence in the neighbouring West African country.”

The statement read in part: “We call on the authorities of the Republic of Benin, a democracy and country under law, to speedily process and grant Igboho’s asylum application.

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“We call on those peddling this unfounded rumour (that Igboho has been released and is on his way to Germany) to desist henceforth. Whether by friends of Igboho or his detractors, such rumour is an ill wind that blows no one any good.

“It is not debatable that Igboho will come to grief if he is extradited to Nigeria under the prevailing circumstances.

“It is most unfortunate that a Nigerian government that treats with kid gloves terrorists of the hues of Boko Haram, herdsmen, and bandits ravaging entire Northern Nigeria applies the sledgehammer on law-abiding citizens protesting against such terrorists and their wanton destruction of lives and property.

“The way the present Nigerian authorities romance these despicable elements while victimizing, oppressing and silencing their victims leave a sour taste in the mouth.”

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She continued: “Bearing in mind the way and manner in which Nnamdi Kanu was whisked into Nigeria recently, in circumstances yet to be fully explained, and the various efforts at enacting gag laws by the same Nigerian authorities, there is no denying the fact that fascism is already creeping upon Nigerians.

“The telltale signs of military dictatorship are rearing their ugly heads again under a supposedly democratic government of President Muhammadu Buhari.

“In this wise, it is certain that Igboho cannot be assured safety or justice if extradited to Nigeria.

“He should be released from detention unconditionally and his safety and liberty guaranteed by the Republic of Benin authorities under extant international law. The Nigerian authorities are better advised to stop chasing shadows but address the patent dangers posed to the country by the despicable elements it is treating with kid gloves.”

“Protection of life and property is the fundamental rights of citizens and the overriding objectives of State policy.

“Neglecting these and running after critics and opposition figures is not only irresponsible but also inimical on the long run to the good health, safety, and continued corporate existence of our beloved country, Nigeria.”

Vanguard News Nigeria

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