YORUBA Nation agitator Sunday Adeyemo’s lawyer Ibrahim Salami has denied allegations that his client was caught in possession of a fake Benin Republic passport claiming that he was arrested while holding Nigerian and German travel documents.
On Monday evening, Mr Adeyemo, popularly known as Sunday Igboho, was arrested along with his wife Ropo, in Cotonou as they sought to board a plane to Germany. He is wanted by the Nigerian authorities after escaping arrest when men of the Department of State Security (DSS) raided his Ibadan residence on July 1.
Yesterday, Mr Igboho appeared before the Cour D’Appel De Cotonou and the hearing was adjourned until Monday, while his wife Ropo was released as there was not found to be any case against her. It was claimed that Mr Igboho tried to travel using a fake Beninoise passport but his lawyer Mr Salami has denied this saying his client was only caught in possession of Nigerian and German passports.
Mr Salami said: “It is not true that Benin Republic passport was found on Sunday Igboho when he was arrested. What was found on him were Nigerian and German passport and his wife had only her German passport on her at the point of arrest.”
After the raid on his Ibadan residence, the Nigerian government placed Mr Igboho on its stop-list in order to facilitate his arrest and directed security agencies to apprehend him anywhere he is found. In security circles, a person whose name is on the stop-list is denied all constitutional rights and privileges a citizen is entitled to.
So far, the Nigerian government is yet to come up with charges that could lead to the extradition of Mr Igboho and nothing has been filed before the court in Cotonou. Ilana Omo Oodua, spokesman Maxwell Adeleye, even claimed that no extradition treaty exists between Nigeria and Benin Republic, so they expect Mr Igboho to be set free soon.
Mr Adeleye said: “Yesterday, the court set Mrs Adeyemo, Igboho’s wife free since it has been found that she has committed no offence and there are no complaints whatsoever against her. Consequently, her German passport was returned to her.
“Lawyers handling the case reported after the proceedings that Chief Sunday Adeyemo Igboho cannot be extradited to Nigeria for two principal reasons. That contrary to insinuations, Nigeria and Benin have no extradition agreement and that Nigeria has not been able to come up with charges that could lead the court to order Igboho’s extradition.”
He added that the Nigeria government only came up with allegations such as arms trafficking and inciting violence against Mr Igboho. According to Mr Adeleye, the government of Benin Republic considered these to be spurious and untenable and insufficient to warrant extradition.
Mr Adeleye said the case has been adjourned until Monday July 26, to allow the Nigerian government bring up whatever evidence it may have. He added that in the meantime, Mr Igboho has been taken back into police custody.