LAWYERS representing Yoruba Nation agitator Sunday Adeyemo are optimistic that their client will be released from jail this week as they should get a response to the asylum application he has made.
On July 1, Mr Adeyemo, popularly known as Sunday Igboho, fled after his Ibadan home was raided by security forces who killed two of his aides and arrested a further 13. Mr Igboho subsequently turned up in Benin Republic but was arrested at Cotonou airport while he was trying to board a plane to Germany and is currently being charged with an array of immigration offences.
Nigeria is desperately trying to get Mr Igboho extradited but his lawyers are fighting the extradition and are confident that his application for asylum in the UK should weigh in his favour. It is believed that Benin Republic is not ready to engage in a diplomatic crisis with Nigeria, so may succumb to pressure and hand Mr Igboho over but his lawyers say that will be against international law.
There are now strong indications that Benin Republic will make the outcome of Mr Igboho’s asylum application known this week. Olasupo Ojo, Mr Igboho’s counsel, said he is yet to get any official report on his asylum request.
Mr Ojo said: “I have not got any official report in relation to that. However, yes, we are expecting feedback this week.”
Ilana Omo Oduduwa, spokesman Maxwell Adeleye, added: “We have submitted an application and we are hoping to get a positive response before the end of the week.”
Ibrahim Salami, one of the Cotonou, lawyers on the legal team explained that charges against Mr Igboho would be neutralised if the activist is granted asylum. He added that Mr Igboho was not arrested for possessing a Benin Republic passport despite not being a citizen.
Mr Salami said: “When he left Nigeria, he took the backdoor into Benin and it was at the airport that security operatives stopped him that he was on the watchlist. He didn’t go against any law in Benin Republic, they didn’t find any Beninese passport on him as he had a Nigerian passport with a German residency card and he needed no visa at that point.
“When we understudied the case, we realised that the Nigerian government had not filed a case for extradition. They only claimed that he is wanted in Nigeria for criminal offences.
“Our argument is that he was arrested because of Nigeria’s request and there is no proof to show that he is a criminal. He spent barely 24 hours in the country and filed an asylum.”