Ibrahim Salami, one of the lawyers representing Yoruba Nation agitator, Sunday Adeyemo aka Sunday Igboho, has revealed that the Federal Government did not file any case against his client in the Benin Republic.
The Beninese government had arraigned the self-professed Yoruba freedom fighter at the Cour’ Apeal in Cotonou for alleged illegal possession of the country’s passport.
Salami, who spoke with the BBC Yoruba Service on Tuesday, said he was shocked to find out that Nigerian authorities did not have any representative in court or filed any extradition case against the activist as earlier reported.
The Benin Republic-based law professor opined that the tactics employed by the Nigerian government was a ploy to buy time so they can “concoct a case” against Igboho.
He said: “We were at the court before 8:00 a.m., and we explained earlier that it was three stations -the first, is that of prosecutor, the second is that of the investigating judge.
“But when we got to the prosecutor (8:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.), he didn’t receive us on time, perhaps because he had a lot of works to do.
“After 2:00 p.m., he received us, and he explained that we would have to return to the investigating judge.
“And when we got to the investigating judge, which was about 3:00 p.m. in the noon, he accepted us around 4:00 p.m., then we started talking till around 6:00 p.m.
“When we left there, it moved to judge of liberty, and detention, who would decide his fate. It was there we stayed till it was very late.
“What is surprising for me is that, since I started representing people as their lawyer, I haven’t seen such.
“At first, they said he’s on trial because he committed an offence in Nigeria, and his arrest in Benin Republic was on the order of the Nigerian government and that was what we were working on.
“But when we got to the prosecutor, we were told that it was only because of that, as Igboho didn’t commit any offense in Benin Republic, and nothing like the passport issue as it was speculated.
“They put him on trial due to the offense he allegedly committed in Nigeria, but when we got to the investigating judge, he told us a different thing entirely.
“Sunday Igboho, however, defended himself, saying he didn’t commit any offense in Nigeria, and in fact, the Nigerian government has never for once queried him, and he didn’t go to the police station because of the alleged crime, not to talk of sleeping in a cell.
“Igboho said he was only making efforts to organize meetings, and championing cause for Yoruba nation as against the Fulanis.
“And that was why the Nigerian government wanted to kill him, and that was why he ran away from Nigeria and came to Benin.
“So, it was when we left there, we went to meet the Liberty judge, who then asked Igboho, when did he enter Benin and how long was he in the country before his arrest.
“Igboho then explained that he left Nigeria on Sunday and came to Benin on Monday, and it was in the late hours of that day, he made efforts to secure tickets to go to Germany, then the judge asked him whose house did he live in before going to the airport.
“The judge was able to discover that Igboho didn’t spend up to a day in Benin before embarking on his trip to Germany.
“The judge said Igboho was part of some hoodlums who wanted to unleash mayhem in Benin.
“What surprised us was when the judge said it wasn’t because of what Igboho did in Nigeria that he was arrested.
“The judge said Igboho was arrested because he committed a crime in Benin, and pending the conclusion of the ongoing investigation about the crime he committed in the country, he had to send Igboho to prison.
“Before God and man, there was no representative from Nigeria. No one came to stand as a representative from Nigeria to say, ‘try Sunday Igboho’.
“In fact, there was nothing in the case file that indicates the Nigerian government said he should be extradited.
“The case he has, as the judges told us, is with the Benin Republic government.”
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