Lead counsel for arrested Yoruba Nation activist Sunday Adeyemo aka Sunday Igboho, has described as inhuman, the treatment his client was being subjected to in the custody of the police in Benin Republic.
The counsel, Chief Yomi Alliyu ( SAN), said this while speaking with The PUNCH on Tuesday night.
He said Igboho’s wife, Ropo, a German citizen, who was arrested together with the activist, was also kept in a separate cell by the police in the neighbouring country.
He said, “They chained him in the cell where they put him in Cotonou. There was a fracas at the airport yesterday when he was arrested. They hit him in the hand and that same hand was handcuffed, he is in pains and he was weeping like a child when I called, I heard him.
“The wife too was put in a separate cell but they didn’t chain the wife. He was crying, the wife was crying too cease he was writhing in pains seriously. We only pray they don’t pay anybody to kill him. You don’t out somebody in cell and still chain the person.
“You know he sustained injury and they didn’t take him to hospital for treatment. We heard that he is appearing in court tomorrow but I don’t know whether that will carry it out.”
Recall that Igboho and his wife was arrested at the Cadjèhoun Airport in Cotonou, Benin Republic around 8pm on Monday. They were about to catch a flight to Germany before Interpol apprehended them.
The PUNCH learnt that Nigeria’s Ambassador to the Benin Republic, Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai (retd.), has been pushing for the extradition of Igboho and his wife to Nigeria.
But Alliyu argued that “The Extradition Treaty of 1984 between Togo, Nigeria, Ghana and Republic of Benin excluded political fugitives. It also states that where the fugitive will not get justice because of discrimination and/or undue delay in prosecution the host country should not release the fugitive.
“Now, Article 20 of African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights to which the four countries are signatories made agitation for self-determination a fundamental right to be protected by all countries. This made Chief Sunday Adeyemo a political offender who cannot be deported and/or extradited by the good people of the Republic of Benin for any reason.”
The senior advocate, who described the arrest of his client as shocking, urged the government of Germany, Benin Republic and the international community “to rise up and curb the impunity of the Nigerian Government by refusing any application for extradition of our Client who already has application before the International Criminal Court duly acknowledged”.
The Nigerian secret police had raided Igboho’s Ibadan residence in the Soka area on July 1, 2021, arrested about 12 of his aides and killed two of them in a gun duel.
The Federal Government of Nigeria had placed the Nigeria Immigration Service and the Nigeria Customs Service on alert to stop Igboho from leaving the country.