…as Beninoise authorities decline extradition of activist
A diplomatic row may have ensued between Nigeria, Africa’s most populated country, and tiny Benin Republic, as the two West African countries are currently at loggerheads with what to do with detained leader of Yoruba Nation agitators, Sunday Igboho.
First News gathered yesterday that a secret missive to the Beninoise authorities by Nigeria’s ambassador to the country, General Tukur Buratai (retd), classifying Igboho as a terrorist who should be extradited to Nigeria, was politely shunned.
Sources in Cotonou revealed to our correspondent that authorities in that country insisted on trying Igboho first, for allegedly using a fake passport, before considering Nigeria’s ‘terrorist’ allegation, which would have warranted extradition.
“The situation became so frustrating that Buratai was found pacing up and down at the lobby of the Nigerian embassy, as he was locked in a long, phone conversation,” the source, who craved anonymity owing to the sensitivity of the issue, informed.
The source added that buoyed by an initial agreement that Igboho would be handed over to the Nigerian authorities to face treason charges yesterday, an helicopter was sent to Cotonou to fly the detainee to Abuja.
But the helicopter waited in vain.
Igboho, who went into hiding after a military bombardment of his Ibadan, Oyo State home on July 1, suddenly surfaced Monday night at the Cadjèhoun Airport, Cotonou, allegedly with a fake Beninoise passport, as he attempted to jet out to Germany.
He was in company with his wife and both were arrested, after a supposed whistle-blower pointed at them, after they had boarded.
Igboho and wife had reportedly been slated for arraignment over immigration-related offences but the trial was reportedly stalled, as high-tech bilateral talks reportedly assumed reign between Nigeria and Benin.
The source hinted that the Nigerian authorities wanted to make some economic concessions in barter for Igboho but that the Beninoise side politely declined.
Further to his awaited trial, however, Igboho has reportedly hired a Beninoise defence attorney, Rafael Huvehnou.
He may be granted bail today.