The Republic of Benin has resisted Nigeria’s attempts to “hastily extradite” Yoruba nation activist, Sunday Adeyemo, also known as Sunday Igboho, to the headquarters of the Department of State Services in Abuja.
The PUNCH reported that the Federal Government wanted to extradite the activist on Wednesday, but Benin Republic insisted that it would not be part of any process that was against due process.
“The Nigerian government planned to extradite him on Wednesday, but our government said the rule of law must be followed as the world is watching us,” the medium quoted a security source.
One of the lawyers of Igboho, Pelumi Olajengbesi, said Benin Republic had shown itself to be a country that respects the rule of law and due process.
The lawyer said Igboho’s legal team in Benin Republic were in talks with the Beninoise government.
He noted that despite pressure from the Nigerian government, the government of Benin Republic had insisted on following due process including a repatriation hearing to determine whether or not Igboho was guilty as accused by the Nigerian secret police.
Olajengbesi stated that Igboho and his wife, a German citizen, were still in police custody in Cotonou and his lawyers were meeting with the government to argue their case.
He said: “The disposition of Benin Republic is that it is a country that respects the rule of law. We are making efforts that he is not repatriated wrongly to Nigeria. We are ensuring that everything is done in accordance with the law and we are very hopeful that we would succeed because we expect that there should be a repatriation hearing before they can extradite him if at all they would do that.”
Olajengbesi also revealed that the Beninoise lawyers representing Igboho have sought the intervention of the German government to halt the planned extradition of the Yoruba nation activist.
This, he said, was meant to put diplomatic pressure on Cotonou and foil the moves by the Federal Government to influence the government of Being Republic.
He said the Yoruba activist’s lawyers in Nigeria would also dispatch a similar letter to the German Embassy in Abuja on Thursday.
“We have written to the German government to intervene and stop the illegal extradition of Igboho and we are expecting a due response from the German government. The wife is German and that made it convenient for us.
“The lawyers in Benin have formally written to the German government and so we expect them to intervene. We (Igboho’s lawyers in Nigeria) have not written to the German embassy in Nigeria because it is a public holiday but by tomorrow (today), steps will be taken in that regard.
“Benin Republic has a certain level of decency in terms of respect for the rule of law which is encouraging,” the lawyer said.
He attributed the reported maltreatment of Igboho by security agencies in Benin to letters allegedly written by Nigeria’s ambassador tonthe country, Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai (rtd), who asked the government to arrest Igboho whom he accused of being a hardened criminal.
“The government is treating Igboho like a criminal because of the letters written by retired Lt. Gen Tukur Buratai to the government in Benin describing Igboho as a hardcore criminal.
“We have communicated to the government in Benin that he is not a criminal but an advocate for justice in Nigeria and so, he must be given such due,” Olajengbesi added.