The Cour d’appel sitting in Cotonou, Benin Republic, has asked the Nigerian government to provide evidence against Sunday Adeyemo, a Yoruba Nation activist popularly known as Sunday Igboho, before a request for extradition can be considered.
This was disclosed by Ibrahim Salami, Igboho’s lawyer in the Francophone West African country, according to a statement issued by Maxwell Adeleye, Communications Manager of Ilana Omo Oodua, on Friday.
The arrest comes three weeks after operatives of the Department of State Services (DSS) raided Igboho’s house in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital, in a bid to arrest him.
He, however, escaped, although two persons were killed and 12 persons were arrested, while arms and ammunition were reportedly retrieved from his residence by the secret agents.
Igoboho has been declared wanted by the DSS on allegations of stockpiling arms to destabilise the country, an allegation which he has since denied.
Following the arraignment of Igboho in court by the Beninese authorities on Thursday, the Nigerian government sent representatives to court and accused Igboho of importing firearms.
“The Nigerian Government was in court on Thursday through its legal representatives. They demanded that Igboho be remanded pending the time the government would file proper documents for his extradition. The Nigerian government told the court that Igboho is a gunrunner and appealed to the court to remand Igboho until further notice.
“Nothing is happening on extradition for now because the priority case for the Benin Republic is that he is alleged to have committed an offence against their law. So, they can’t hold any extradition hearing until they get to the root of the matter on how he got the Benin Republic passport.
“I am suspecting that even if the court orders his release, he will be rearrested because of the Nigerian Government’s accusation that he is a gunrunner,” the Punch quoted a source familiar with the matter as saying.
But reacting, Ilana Omo Oodua described the Federal Government’s claims as “mere allegations”, adding that such claims are not enough to force his extradition.
The group noted that Igboho remains in police custody, while the Federal Government has been asked to provide proof of evidence on Monday, the day of the next court sitting.
The statement read: “The court set Mrs Adeyemo, Igboho’s wife free on Wednesday since it has been found that she has committed no offence and there’s no complaint whatsoever against her. Consequently, her German passport was returned to her.
“The 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. That Nigeria has not been able to come up with charges that could lead the court to order Igboho’s extradition to Nigeria. “What Federal Government came up with were mere allegations against Ighoho such as trafficking in arms and inciting violence that could result in the social disturbance without evidence which the Government of Benin Republic considered spurious, untenable, and insufficient to warrant extradition.
“The case has been adjourned till Monday 26th July to allow the Federal Government bring up whatever evidence they may have, and Mr. lgboho has been taken back to the police custody.”
Igboho is being reported tried for immigration-related offences, particularly being in possession of a Benin Republic passport even though he is not a citizen of the country.