Nobel Laureate, Professor Wole Soyinka, has urged the Benin Republic government to release Sunday Adeyemo, the Yoruba rights activist popularly known as Sunday Igboho, insisting that the detained man has not committed any offence.
Soyinka made the call while speaking with journalists during an interactive session in Lagos on Friday.
According to the professor of literature, Igboho’s offence was resisting the tyranny of Fulani herdsmen against his people in Oyo State and the South-West region in general.
He said: “I refuse to believe that Igboho committed any offence except agitating against Fulani tyranny on his people. He peacefully demonstrated his position. I can’t consider that to be decided a criminal. Agitating for secession is not a criminal act as long as it’s done peacefully. You don’t have to criminalise that.”
The 48-year-old Igboho was arrested alongside his wife, Ropo, on 19 July by the International Criminal Police Organisation at the Cadjèhoun Airport in Cotonou on their way to Germany.
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.
His wife has, however, been released.
Igoboho has been declared wanted by the Department of State Services (DSS) on allegations of stockpiling arms to destabilise the country, an allegation which he has since denied.
He was arraigned before the Cour d’appel de Cotonou by the Beninese authorities on 22 July reportedly for immigration-related offences, particularly being in possession of a Benin Republic passport even though he is not a citizen of the country.