By Kingsley Omonobi, Dapo Akinrefon & Adeola Badru
Yoruba nation activist, Sunday Adeyemo, popularly known as Sunday Igboho, will appear in Beninese court again today in the immigration offences case against him, just as the federal government has gathered evidences to nail him.
This is even as the Olubadan of Ibadanland, Oba Saliu Adetunji, yesterday, sent a delegation to Cotonou, Benin Republic, to observe the proceedings of the court case against him
Igboho had been in detention in Benin Republic for a week, following his arrest over immigration offences by the authorities in the West African neighbour.
Since his arrest, the Federal Government has been making frantic efforts to have him extradited to the country, having been declared wanted by the Department of State Service, DSS, after the invasion of his Soka residence in Ibadan, Oyo State, on July 1.
It would be recalled that Igboho was taken to court in Cotonou, the Beninese capital, last Friday, and the court asked the Federal Government provide evidence against Igboho when it resumes sitting on the case against him today.
The Federal Government had accused Igboho of trafficking arms and inciting violence capable of causing social disturbance.
Exclusive videos for trial
However, among the critical pieces of evidence the Federal Government has against him are dozens of ‘exclusive’ videos where Igboho allegedly issued inciting statements that may aid Nigeria in filing treasonable and felony charges against the activist.
The video clips, it was gathered, would be used by some security and intelligence agencies in prosecuting Igboho to ensure the self-acclaimed Yoruba secessionist leader is indicted in court.
A top-ranking operative of one of the intelligence agencies disclosed that the video clips would suffice as their evidence in nailing Igboho, who is yet to be extradited back to Nigeria from Cotonou, the capital of Benin before a law court.
FG assembles evidence as Justice Ministry keeps mum on legal steps
Apart from behind the scene scheming of security agencies, the Attorney-General of the Federation and the Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami is yet to unveil the ministry’s strategies towards the prosecution of Igboho.
Spokesperson to Justice minister, Dr. Umar Gwandu, told said: “It is a legal, judicial and discretionary issue over which the Attorney-General considers the public interest and the interest of justice to decide.
“The Attorney General of the Federation is considering and I believe his not bound by time limitations in exercising that discretion and considering the beneficial approach.”
The security agencies are also said to be relying on a video where Igboho was mocking the death of Pastor Adeboye’s son and praying to God to kill wives and children of leaders who do not support the Yoruba nation agitation.
In another video, Sunday Igboho dared soldiers, Police, DSS operatives when they attempted to arrest him as he removed his shirt. His followers too were shown interrogating a man they claimed they captured as a ‘DSS guy’ at Osogbo Yoruba rally.
They are also said to be holding on to another video, which showed Igboho directing his followers to forcibly open borders for smugglers and a follow-up video showing his militias allegedly invading Idiroko border and snatching guns from Nigeria Custom Officers.
A source also told Vanguard that there is yet another video of a live broadcast by one ‘Lady K’ when DSS stormed Igboho’s residence.
The lady could be heard calling on Yoruba Oodua Warriors to come to their rescue and attack the security operatives from the back.
The lady is said to have been one of those paraded with arms and ammunition allegedly recovered from Igboho’s house.
Olubadan sends delegation to Cotonou
Meanwhile, the Olubadan of Ibadanland, Oba Saliu Adetunji, has sent a delegation to Cotonou, Benin Republic to observe the proceedings of the court case.
The first class monarch who did not disclose the identity of the delegation, said yesterday that those to observe the court proceedings where Sunday Igboho will be facing trial would be in court unfailingly today.
Oba Adetunji stated this at his Popoyemoja, Ibadan palace, while exchanging views with some leaders of thought, comprising the Central Council of Ibadan Indigenes President General, Prince Yemisi Adeaga; first Vice President General, Dr. Tirimisiyu Oladimeji; Ekefa Olubadan, Senior Chief Lekan Alabi; Ajia Olubadan, Chief Wasiu Aderoju Alaadorin; Mogaji Makusota, Prof. Oluwasegun Adekunle and Personal Assistant to Olubadan, Mr. Adeola Oloko.
According to Olubadan, it has become necessary to send a delegation to Cotonou to allay the fears of several people, including protesters who besiege Olubadan’s palace every now and then that Kabiesi is not folding his arms over the travails of Sunday Igboho and his co-travellers.
He said: “Sunday Igboho lives in Ibadan, got married in Ibadan, reared children in Ibadan, built houses in Ibadan and as such, he has the rights to be protected by Ibadan traditional institution within the ambit of the law just like any human being in Ibadan.”
The first class monarch, who stated that he was in constant touch with Yoruba prominent royal fathers, including Igboho royal crowns, allayed public fears of a repeat performance of Yoruba-Fulani coalition of 1814.
According to Oba Adetunji, students of Nigeria history may wish to be reminded that when some people during the period under reference chose to engage in territorial expansion to the sea, it took the Ibadan army, under Balogun Oderinlo, to repel the attack and stop the incursion near Osogbo.
Oba Adetunji, however, urged the people to remain calm and law abiding as truth will prevail.
Yoruba monarchs meet in Benin Republic to discuss his detention
Also, other Yoruba monarchs in Benin Republic reportedly met yesterday over the arrest and detention of Igboho, Vanguard reliably gathered.
The meeting was said to have been held in the Palace of Alajohoun of Adjohoun, which is about 60 kilometres away from Ajase.
Among those present at the said meeting, Vanguard learned, were Alajashe of Ajase from Port Novo, Alajohoun of Adjohoun, Onikoyi Abesan, and Oba of Seme.
The Beninese court adjourned Igboho’s case till Monday (today) after his five lawyers failed to convince the prosecutor that he had no case to answer.
The Beninese authorities have, however, released Ropo, the agitator’s wife, who was arrested with the 48-year-old activist on Monday, July 19, by the International Criminal Police Organisation at Cadjèhoun Airport in Cotonou, Republic of Benin on their way to Germany.
The lawyers had said that during the hearing, prosecutors claimed Igboho was on a watchlist for alleged trafficking in arms, inciting violence that could result in social disturbance and causing disunity in Nigeria.
When Igboho was arraigned on Thursday, hundreds of his Yoruba-speaking supporters surrounded the Court D’Appal of Cotonou.
However, Ibrahim Salami, one of the Cotonou, Benin Republic-based lawyers of Sunday Igboho, has urged his supporters to stay away from the court proceedings on Monday.
He said: “When we went to court on Thursday, we had a large turnout of Igbho’s supporters. I frown on their action. They should stay at home and let us do our job. Igboho is accused of causing disorderliness and civil unrest. If they are now mobilising to court, it may send a wrong signal. They should support him with prayers from home.
“There is no accord between Nigeria and Benin that allows Benin to extradite Igboho to Nigeria. He can only be extradited on political grounds. In that regard, the law won’t apply.”
Witch-hunting won’t stop agitation, YOV blasts FG
Also, yestersday, a Yoruba Diaspora Group, Yoruba One Voice, YOV, lampooned the Federal Government’s attempt to silence Yoruba agitators, especially with the arrest of Sunday Igboho.
Reacting to the role the Federal Government played in the arrest of Igboho, YOV in a statement by its Publicity Secretary, Mrs. Omoladun Orolugbagbe, stated that the approach of the Federal Government on the travails of Igboho had shown its desperation to crush and silence agitators at all costs.
The group described the continuous agitation for Oodua Republic as “a child of necessity which life could not be cut short by unnecessary harassment, intimidation,witch- hunting or incarceration of agitators.
‘’What really spurred Igboho and other agitators to seek self-determination was never for their selfish interests but for the general well-being of every sons and daughters of Oduduwa.
“The Federal Government has really failed in stemming the tide of kidnapping, banditry, and terrorism in the country, but rather too quick to harass and persecute those who have dared to speak up about the government’s gross negligence and dereliction of duty.”
It, however, urged Yoruba people all over the world not to relent in their irrevocable campaign for self- determination for the people of the region.
The group added: “The Yoruba Nation had resolved to forge ahead with renewed zeal the right to its dream as entrenched in Article 1 of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the African Charter on People’s Right.”
It also reiterated its call for an immediate referendum to be supervised by the United Nations on the right to self- determination by Yoruba Nation.