…as battle shifts to ICC
At press time Tuesday night, a team of legal experts assembled for arrested Yoruba freedom fighter, Mr. Sunday Adeyemo, famed as Sunday Igboho, had concluded their petition to the International Criminal Court (ICC), First News investigations revealed.
They are seeking the court’s intervention in preventing authorities of Benin Republic from allowing Igboho’s extradition to Nigeria.
Following the bombardment of Igboho’s Ibadan, Oyo State’s residence by operatives charged from the Department of State Service (DSS) on July 1, the target had since been on the run.
But in the attack, two of Igboho’s loyalists were killed in a gun duel, while 12 others were arrested.
On Monday evening, however, Igboho was finally arrested at Cardinal Bernardin International Airport in Cotonou, Benin Republic, while trying to board a flight to Germany.
Arrested by the Beninoise police, Igboho is currently held captive in the facility of Cotonou Criminal Brigade, it was gathered.
However, findings showed that under the agreement between Nigeria and Benin, Igboho’s extradition ought to be carried out seamlessly.
But this may be far-fetched, as an appeal missive has reportedly been sent to the ICC by Igboho’s team of lawyers.
They are urging the global court to restrain the Beninoise government from yielding their client to the Nigerian government, as they intend to plead his case before the court.
Speaking in a statement, Igboho’s lead counsel, Mr. Yomi Alliyu (SAN), said the arrested leader of Yoruba Nation agitators should not be extradited from Benin Republic because “he is a political offender”.
He said the legal team would rely on a 1984 Treaty and an African Charter, to prevent the government of Benin Republic from yielding Igboho to Nigeria.
“The Extradition Treaty of 1984 between Togo, Nigeria, Ghana, and Republic of Benin excluded political fugitives.
“It also states that where the fugitive will not get justice because of discrimination and/or undue delay in prosecution, the host country should not release the fugitive.
“Now, Article 20 of African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights to which the four countries are signatories, made agitation for self-determination a fundamental right to be protected by all countries.
“This made Chief Sunday Adeyemo a POLITICAL OFFENDER, who cannot be deported and/or extradited by the good people of the Republic of Benin for any reason,” Alliyu averred.
He explained further, saying, “Secondly, that he cannot get justice or even be killed is apparent in how those arrested in his house were detained for more than 21 days now without access to their lawyers.
“Even the wife among them could not change her undies for 21 days! Which inhuman treatment can be more than this?
“We urge the good government of the Republic of Benin and the international community, especially Germany, to rise up and curb the impunity of the Nigerian government by refusing any application for extradition of our client who already has an application before the ICC duly acknowledged.”
In the same vein, renowned historian and leader of the umbrella body of Yoruba self-determination groups, Professor Emeritus Banji Akintoye, said on Tuesday that he and “other Yoruba patriots are currently working to provide assistance for Igboho to prevent his extradition to Nigeria.
According to him, “Benin Republic is a land that respects the rules of law.”
“I and other Yoruba patriots who are immediately available are now working to provide the assistance necessary to ensure that nobody will be able to do to him anything unlawful or primitive and to prevent him from being extradited into Nigeria which is strongly possible.
“Fortunately, Benin Republic is reliably a land of law where the authorities responsibly obey the law. We have secured the services of a leading and highly respected lawyer whom we can confidently rely on.
“What the situation now calls for is that the Yoruba nation at home and in the Diaspora must stand strong, resolved that neither Sunday Igboho nor any other Yoruba person will henceforth be subjected to inhuman or dehumanizing treatment of any kind.
“We Yoruba nation are, by the grace of God, a very strong nation. We must arise now to show that strength,” Akintoye prodded.
At press time, however, no official statement had been made by Nigeria’s federal government on the Igboho arrest saga.