The Beninese authorities have filed fresh charges against Yoruba Nation agitator, Sunday Adeyemo, fondly called Sunday Igboho, who was arrested in the country last Monday but no date has been fixed for hearing the case.
One of Igboho’s lawyers, Ibrahim Salami, who disclosed the new charges after late Monday night’s hearing, said Igboho was confronted with fresh charges when he appeared in court.
He was, thereafter, ordered to be remanded in Beninese police custody by the presiding judge.
Igboho and his wife, Ropo, were arrested on Monday, July 19, 2021, by the International Criminal Police Organisation at the Cadjèhoun Airport in Cotonou, the Republic of Benin on their way to Germany.
Salami, a law professor, said Igboho was further remanded to allow the police conduct a thorough investigation into the charges, which included illegal migration, dubious connivance with immigration officers and an attempt to cause civil unrest.
Salami also explained that the previous allegations that warranted placing Igboho on a watch-list had successfully been tackled during the hearing.
Speaking in an interview with BBC Yoruba, the lawyer said: “First, the judge ruled that Sunday Igboho entered Benin Republic by an illegal means.
“They also want to investigate how Sunday Igboho conspired with others to enter Benin Republic through wrong means.
“They also want to know how long he has been in Benin Republic and his plans in the country. They also raised a charge on whether he wants to come and cause unrest or social disturbance in Benin Republic.”
No date fixed for hearing
Corroborating Igboho’s lawyer’s assertions, a source familiar with the case, told Vanguard that the allegations by the Federal Government had been struck out by the Beninese court but noted that further investigations would be carried out to ascertain how Igboho entered the country and those who collaborated with him.
The source said: “He has been returned to prison for the police to continue with their investigations.
“Let me make certain things clear. All that have been happening all along have been about extradition but the court made it clear that he was not arrested for committing any crime in Benin Republic.
“He was arrested because the Nigerian government tipped them off that there was a criminal in Benin Republic.
“They picked him up at the airport, then Nigeria brought up the charges against him and said they do not operate by another country’s law. They said they would carry out their investigations to find out whether he has broken any of their laws.
“As of yesterday (Monday), what the court said was that having carried out its investigations; he has not committed any crime against them.
“But they found that he entered their country through the black market route and the government of Benin Republic also said it will find out whether Igboho has come to cause civil unrest in their country, as alleged by the Nigerian government.
“Those are the two issues it intends to investigate. But as far as they are concerned, there is nothing like any criminal record against him.
“If he has committed any crime in Benin Republic, he will be tried but if he has not, he will be allowed to go.”
On the next court hearing, the source said: “There is no date for court hearing now. The way their courts work here is different.
“Some of the judges are not real judges. Some are for investigations, while others are specialized in other areas.
So, they will return him to prison and find out if he has committed any offence in Benin Republic or whether he has broken any of their laws. If he has not committed any crime, he will be let go.”
Stop pressurising Benin Republic to jail Igboho —Yoruba group
Meanwhile, a Yoruba self-determination group, Yoruba Koya Liberation Movement, YKLM, yesterday, warned the Federal Government to stop pressurizing the Beninese authorities to extradite Ighoho to Nigeria.
In a statement by its Director of Media and Communications, Oluwafemi Oluwajuyitan, the group said no oppressor had ever triumphed over the collective will of the people, adding that other Nigerian leaders putting political pressure on Benin Republic to jail Igboho should remember that nothing lasts forever.
The statement read: “Events unfolding in recent times have made it imperative to remind those who currently wield power to tread softly and remember that everything with a start will surely have an end.
“Recent event only reminds one that in the face of suppression of truth and oppression of the masses, the oppressors have always consistently lost at the end.
“One cannot help but remember the brutish rule and reign of Gen. Sani Abacha and how he ruled with an iron fist. We remember how individuals, who stood for the truth and the declaration of the June 12 elections, were hounded by state-sponsored hitmen. We remember how the dictator ended in ignominy.
“The present administration, being a democratically elected government, has surpassed previous military juntas in the bare-knuckle use of brute force to silence every voice of dissent.
“More worrisome is the rate of nepotism and a barely veiled attempt to lord an ethnic group over others. The dual law being applied by the state is also a cause for concern as bandits, terrorists and kidnappers in certain parts of the country are treated to sumptuous dinners with state actors, while agitators for self-determination of their people are hounded and treated as common criminals.
“The Gestapo invasion of Chief Sunday Igboho’s house, the killing and abduction of his associates and his eventual arrest in Benin Republic at the request of this government are a testament of its effort at ensuring that their lawlessness remains unchecked.
“We, Yoruba self-determination group, say it is time that this government and its actors of impunity are reminded that nothing lasts forever. Nigerians are in the countdown to the end of this administration, even as calls are made to the International Criminal Court to keep the dossier of reports sent to them as they will become useful in no distant future.”