The Oke Ogun Development Consultative Forum (ODCF), the umbrella body for the people of Oke Ogun area of Oyo State, has called on both the Federal Government of Nigeria and the Government of Benin Republic to respect the fundamental human rights of Yoruba nation agitator, Sunday Adeyemo, popularly known as Sunday Igboho, in the course of his being tried in the court of law.
This was contained in a statement jointly signed by ODCF President and Public Relations Officer, Dr. Olusegun Ajuwon (OON) and Comrade Jare Ajayi, respectively.
The embattled activist is from Igboho in Oorelope Local Government Area of Oke Ogun, Oyo State.
According to ODCF, Igboho’s mission was meant to put a stop to the iniquities being meted out to Yoruba people, of which he is a proud son.
“We are proud of his desire to see that farmers are no longer prevented from cultivating their farms and our women are no longer raped in the course of pursuing their businesses” the statement said.
While conceding that the government has the right and power to try anybody thought to have contravened the law, ODCF said: “But in doing so, government should factor in the relevant sections of the law that says that a suspect is innocent until proven guilty by a court of competent jurisdiction. Not only that, the governments of Nigeria and Benin should remember the relevant sections of the African Charter and other international conventions to which they are signatories.”
Some of the documents being referred to, according to the group, include “Article 4 of the ECOWAS Convention on Extradition which prescribes that a suspect can not be extradited if the offence for which he is wanted is ‘political or for the purpose of prosecuting him on account of his ethnic group or political opinion.’ Various provisions of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Nigeria is also a party, have similar provisions.”
The body said issues surrounding Igboho are political in nature, adding that what he was advocating have something to do with how his people were being treated.
“Part of what Sunday Igboho advocated was echoed penultimate week by Emir of Muri in Taraba State. The monarch had given Fulani herders a 30-day ultimatum to vacate his area because of the harm they were doing to farmers and women in his domain. Reports indicated that the herders last week Monday, August 2, pledged their readiness to comply with his directive.
“There is no difference between what Sunday Igboho was advocating and what Emir of Muri has done. Therefore, we believe that what is good for the goose should be good for the gander,” ODCF said.
The group stated that Oke Ogun people are law abiding citizens with commitment to the laws of the land, adding: “It is within these laws that we seek protection for ourselves and our people including Sunday Igboho.”