September 22, 2023

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Hope dims for Igboho’s release as agitator spends 150 days in Benin detention

3 min read

Embattled Yoruba nation agitator, Sunday Adeyemo popularly known as Sunday Igboho has been in the eye of the storm since he was ‘arrested’ by the operatives of Brigade criminelle (Criminal Brigade) on July 19 in Cotonou.

Despite frantic efforts to get him released, checks by The Nation show he has spent over 150 days in Benin Republic prison.

Today, December 19, if not released, he would be spending 153rd day in detention.

His supporters have expressed worries over prolonged stay in detention. Some alleged that the Benin’s President Patrice Talon is working with the federal government to extradite Igboho back to Nigeria, others called for prayers and spiritual support

Earlier this week, Igboho was among the ‘Top trending people’ category of 2021 Year in Search lists on Google.

Many groups including Agbekoya Farmers Society, the diaspora groups have staged protests to demand the ‘unconditional’ release of Igboho.

Eminent lawyers including Chief Yomi Aliu (SAN), Pelumi Olajengbesi, Benin Republic based team of lawyers including Ibrahim Salami, Olusegun Falola have been providing legal services for the embattled agitator to secure his release.

The Nation learnt that Igboho is unlikely to be released on bail considering the political interests involved in his case.

Earlier, one of his lawyers had said, Igboho might be held in detention for weeks pending the conclusion of investigation.

The Nation reports before Igboho’s arrest, his Ibadan home was raided by operatives of the Department of State Services (DSS), killing two of his aides and arresting 12 others during the operation.

The 49-year-old agitator, who narrowly escaped during the bloody raid, was subsequently declared wanted for allegedly stockpiling arms to destabilise Nigeria under the pretext of Yoruba Nation.

He was arrested with his wife, Ropo, but the Cour D’appel De Cotonou ordered the release of the wife based in Germany saying there were no allegations against her.

Since he was arrested, the legal battle to either extradite Igboho to Nigeria or hand him back his freedom has witnessed a series of dramatic twists and turns.

The court on July 27, ordered that he should be remanded in a facility in the country, pending the conclusion of the investigation.

The Nation learnt a trial judge who is currently investigating Igboho’s case, will table his ruling before another judge who will give judgement.

Sunday Igboho’s lawyers had said the Yoruba Nation agitator was remanded to allow police to conduct a thorough investigation into the charges, which included illegal migration, attempt to cause civil unrest, others.

Meanwhile, an Oyo State high court had awarded N20 billion as “exemplary and aggravated damages” against the Federal Government after Igboho sued the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF), the Department of State Services (DSS), and Director of State Services, Oyo State, demanding N500 billion in damages over the raid on his Ibadan home on July 1.

The Federal Government, through Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation (AGF), Abubakar Malami, also said that it was not opposed to a political solution to the Igboho case and that of the IPOB leader, Nnamdi Kanu.

Pelumi Olajengbesi, one of the activist’s lawyers had said in an interview that the chances of getting Igboho out of prison in 2021, was very slim.

He, however, does not rule out the possibility of Igboho’s release as he added that efforts were being made to secure his release.

“Frankly, the hope of getting him released this year is still very slim. There are diplomatic consultations going on in respect of that because as you know, Igboho in the eyes of the law is a very free person, he has committed no crime.

“We know he’s being held against his will. He’s a prisoner of conscience and so we believe that he will be out soon but I can’t guarantee he will be out before the end of this year. There are lots of diplomatic discussions going on in that regard.”

“I can tell you right now that Chief Sunday Igboho is hale and hearty, very motivated, a very strong person. If you know him very closely, you will know he is a very courageous person. We continue to pray that God gives him more strength to remain focused.”


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