The new-found relationship between Nigeria’s Ambassador to Benin Republic, Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai (retd.), and the President of the French-speaking West African nation, Patrice Talon, will achieve no result, says Pelumi Olajengbesi, counsel for wanted Yoruba Nation agitator, Sunday Adeyemo aka Sunday Igboho.
Olajengbesi stated this in a chat with The PUNCH on Monday while reacting to the meeting between Buratai and Talon last week in Benin Republic. The ex-COAS had met with the Beninese President last Tuesday to present his letter of credence.
Buratai, Nigeria’s Chief of Army Staff between July 2015 and January 2021, was deployed as Nigeria’s envoy in the Benin Republic in June 2021.
Before then, the Nigerian President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), had presented Buratai’s nomination to the Senate and the upper chamber of the National Assembly had confirmed the ex-COAS’ nomination despite public outcry of some crimes against humanity allegedly committed by the Nigerian Army under Buratai’s leadership.
At the meeting last Tuesday, Talon had emphasised Benin Republic’s commitment to consolidating and strengthening the bilateral relations with Nigeria.
The Beninese President’s meeting with Buratai occurred amid the planned extradition of Igboho, who was arrested in Cotonou on July 19, 2021 while he tried to catch a flight to Germany.
Olajengbesi had said Buratai asked for the extradition of Igboho to the headquarters of the Department of State Services in Abuja, Nigeria but Benin Republic disappointed him.
Speaking with The PUNCH on Monday, Olajengbesi said members of the agitator’s legal team were not afraid of Buratai and his newly found relationship with Benin Republic.
“We are not afraid of Buratai. He is doing his best in the interest of the government he represents to see that Chief Sunday Igboho is extradited and not given justice but we are not worried because this matter is before the court and we expect the court to do justice,” he said.
“Chief Sunday Igboho is a peacemaker, someone who is struggling to see that there is liberty for people who are unjustly killed.
“If Buratai whose record is in the public domain is making efforts to extradite Igboho, I think he is just wasting his time with his romance with the Government of Benin Republic, he cannot intimidate the Government of Benin Republic; it is a sovereign nation like Nigeria. If his (Buratai’s) intention had been done, then, Sunday Igboho would have been returned to Nigeria but he has not been able to succeed,” the lawyer added.
Activist spends 15 days in Beninese detention facility
Igboho, an arrowhead of the secessionist agitation for Yoruba nation, has been in detention since July 19, 2021 when he was arrested by Interpol at the Cadjèhoun Airport in Cotonou around 8pm.
Igboho was arrested after the Nigerian Government notified its West African neighbours – including Benin Republic – that he should be hunted.
He was arrested with his wife, Ropo, but the Cour De’appal De Cotonou ordered the release of the Germany-based wife of the activist, saying there were no allegations against her.
The Beninese court, however, ordered that Igboho be remanded in a prison facility in the country while further investigations were carried out on the case against the agitator.
But Olajengbesi said, “There is hope for his release because the matter is in court and it is in the interest of any court of justice to give liberty to people who are held unjustly. Justice is very near for him.”
The lawyer expressed optimism that the agitator would be granted asylum in Benin Republic as the application for same has been submitted.
Igboho is facing allegations bordering on trafficking in arms, inciting violence and causing disunity in Nigeria.
Some of the other offences said to have been committed by the activist include entering Benin Republic illegally as well as alleged planned intent to cause social unrest in Benin Republic.
Though currently in detention, the court granted the 48-year-old agitator access to medical care while his lawyers continue to battle for his release and kick against his extradition to Nigeria.
Recall that Igboho fled Nigeria after the DSS declared him wanted for allegedly stockpiling arms to cause mayhem under the pretext of Yoruba nation but the activist denied the allegation.
Igboho had narrowly escaped the DSS’ raid on his Ibadan residence on July 1, 2021 around 1am when the secret police killed two of his associates and arrested about 12 of them.
Source:- Punch Ng