Nobel laureate, Prof Wole Soyinka, has implored the Benin Republic to mandate the release of the Yoruba Nation agitator, Sunday Adeyemo, popularly known as Sunday Igboho, currently in its custody.
Soyinka made this call on Friday during a parley with journalists in Lagos titled, “Sanctions on the loose: Chasing the gnat with a sledgehammer.”
According to the renowned playwright, Igboho committed no known crime against Nigeria.
Ripples Nigeria had reported that operatives of the Department of State Services on July 1, 2021, raided the Ibadan, Oyo State home of the activist, killed two and arrested 12 of his aides.
Igboho later fled to the Republic of Benin where he was arrested alongside his wife on July 19, 2021, by the International Criminal Police Organisation at the Cadjehoun Airport in Cotonou on their way to Germany.
The secessionist was slammed with charges of stockpiling arms by the Federal Government which he had denied.
However, in his statement, Soyinka berated the FG for its role in the matter.
“He is against Fulani herdsmen tyranny and threw out criminal herdsmen terrorising his neighbourhood. That’s his real crime.
“I refuse to accept that Igboho is being chased because he peacefully demonstrated his position vis-a-vis the destiny of this nation which is a fundamental human right of anybody.
“Somebody called for secession or a separate state, I don’t consider that (a criminal act) and nowhere is that declared a criminal act as long as it’s done peacefully and collectively within the law.
“You don’t criminalise the action and in addition commit a criminal act against such an individual. That was what the security services did by raiding Igboho’s home at 2 am, killing two of his people and claiming, without a warrant or anything, that they found weapons in his house. Who is going to believe that cock and bull story?
“This is an appeal to the government of the Republic of Benin. Why are you keeping the victim in your prison? What crime did he commit against your state that you are holding him in prison, instead of letting him continue his journey? Igboho has not committed any crime against any known law in this nation.
“Thus, to ask for his repatriation is adding insult to injury. You invaded his house, destroyed his property, chased him into the wilderness and you are pursuing him. We ask the government of the Republic of Benin to release the man to continue his business which was interrupted unjustly.
“Please, rectify this error and don’t compound t any further by holding Sunday Igboho in prison one day long.’’
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