•Feels ‘abandoned’ in Benin as wife heads to Germany
*Case in Benin court may resume anytime from now
By Dapo Akinrefon
YORUBA nation agitator, Chief Sunday Adeyemo, fondly called Sunday Igboho, may regain his freedom if a political solution is arrived at between the Benin Republic and the Nigerian government, Sunday Vanguard understands.
This came on the heels of the hint last week that the Federal Government may file a fresh action against Igboho following the judgment of Oyo State High Court which awarded N20 billion in damages in his favour.
The Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, said government had the right to appeal the judgment or file a fresh charge.
Justice Ladiran Akintola had awarded the money as “exemplary and aggravated damages” against the AGF and the Department of State Service (DSS) over the invasion of Igboho’s home in Ibadan on July 1.
However, Malami said the position of government on the judgment was about “law and jurisdiction”.
“As far as this matter is concerned, which court is it that has the jurisdiction to determine it? And as you rightly know, obedient to court orders and court judgments,” he said.
“But then you have to understand within the context of such obedience that there are associated rights and interests that are vested in the Federal Government.
“Inclusive of rights of appealing against a judgment, inclusive of right to file an application for setting aside the purported judgment and order.
“And indeed, inclusive of the possibility of filling a fresh action if indeed the jurisdiction of the court that was alleged to have indeed handed that judgment is an issue.
“So, we are doing the needful in terms of looking at the law as it exists and then working within the context of the law in ensuring that justice is done as far as the contending issues between the parties are concerned”.
Igboho’s counsel, Yomi Alliyu, SAN, had filed a N500 billion fundamental human rights enforcement suit against the AGF, DSS and the Director of the DSS in Oyo State over the invasion of his home in Ibadan on July 1.
Alliyu claimed that his client’s house and cars were damaged, while two occupants of the house were killed by the DSS operatives during the incident.
Igboho was arrested on July 20, 2021 in Cotonou, Benin Republic by the International Criminal Police Organisation for immigration-related offences
That was three weeks after he was declared wanted by the DSS.
The arrest happened while trying to travel to Germany accompanied by his wife.
The DSS had on July 1 raided his Soka, Ibadan residence, accusing him and his associates of planning a violent insurrection against the state.
A source, who confided in Sunday Vanguard, said the option of extraditing him (Igboho) to Nigeria is no longer feasible but he expressed worry that the Beninese government may develop cold feet if Nigeria mounts more pressure on them.
The source, however, took a swipe at those handling the Igboho case over their failure to share information.
He further said that Igboho feels abandoned as his handlers have not been constantly visiting him at the Beninese prison where he is being held awaiting the hearing of his case on the alleged violation of the Benin immigration rules.
The source said: “He (Igboho) is still in prison, they have released his wife. After her release, she stayed a few days and later went to Germany. I am not sure whether she is back in Benin.
“There was an audio some days ago where he complained that nobody came to check on him. Those managing him tried to cover it; they mismanaged the man (Igboho). If he (Igboho) complained that nobody came to check him, he meant it; he is an adult. “They are telling us that everything is in order, we wouldn’t have known if not for the audio, they are the ones he identified with, they have claimed him, they are the one managing him; they didn’t give people access to him.
“It shows that he was abandoned; even if the court is in recess, that is not enough excuse not to check on him. These are the problems with not sharing information. During the NADECO era, they know how they looked after those in prison.
“Going to Cotonou to board a plane is also part of not sharing information. Ordinarily, that is not where they use, it is Ghana but the fact that none of Baba Banji Akintoye’s people is a member of NADECO, so they don’t have experience and they would not listen to our group.
“Baba Akintoye is our contact person and, sometimes, we get in touch with Professor Wale Adeniran. Oftentimes, when we call to get a response, it may take three days.
“We only rely on information they give to us. For him (Igboho) to say he doesn’t mind being deported to Nigeria shows frustration.
“The group needs to open up now. They have done well to popularize the struggle, to raise it to a global stage, but they need to open up for more collaboration and ideas.
“His case should come up anytime from now. What will play out in his case is for a political solution. The possibility of extraditing him to Nigeria is zero from legal perspective, but those people (Benin) are scared of Nigeria especially over the border issue.
“We hope they will do the right thing, though some people are getting involved. I don’t see them releasing him to the Nigeria government.”