The extension of the detention of Yoruba Nation agitator, Chief Sunday Adeyemo, popularly called Sunday Igboho, has caused mixed feelings among people with lawyers aligning on different sides on the legality of the process. While some believe it is a violation of his right, others think the laws of the Benin Republic should be considered before forming an opinion.
His counsel, Chief Yomi Aliyyu (SAN) on his part described Igboho’s continuous detention as a violation of his fundamental rights to freedom, adding that the renewed incarceration of Igboho by the Benin Republic, despite the fact that there was no criminal charge against him and no extradition request from the Nigerian Government is no longer justified.
According to him, “no complaint has been filed against him. More seriously, the government of Nigeria has issued neither an international arrest warrant nor an extradition request against the Yoruba leader. Yet, he is kept in prison and nothing and no one seems to care about his fate except his legal advisers.
“The detention of Mr Sunday Igboho is no longer justified either for the safety of the people of Benin or for his own safety. This detention violates his fundamental rights and freedom. This is the right to come and go of all citizens in member states of the Community of West African States (ECOWAS).”
“The prosecution has not managed to brandish any evidence against him for more than six months. Investigations, in this case, to prove his guilt were unsuccessful, as the days pass, the Igboho prisoner becomes a bone to the government’s throat,” he said.
However, a former chairman of the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA) Ikeja, Dave Ajetomobi believes that the Benin Republic has its rules and regulations that may not necessarily be the same as that of Nigeria, adding that his lawyers have other steps they can take to ask for his freedom.
“It may be their local law to detain a person for a period of time with an option to extend same if the government deems it necessary. We can’t force them to adopt our law especially when one considers the Benin Republic to be a semi-autonomous and semi-democratic state. They don’t enjoy the amount of liberty we enjoy here. What I think Igboho’s lawyers can do is to drag the country before the ECOWAS or AU Court.
“There’s a possibility that the order of the court will be obeyed. Nigerian government too will be working undercover to ensure that Igboho is not released as a big brother concerned, they cannot disobey Nigeria,” he added.
A former Senator representing Kaduna Central, Shehu Sani also reacted to the extension of Igboho’s detention by the government of the Republic of Benin for six months. He made his opinion on the matter known through his Twitter handle on Monday.
Sani condemned the move, adding that while he doesn’t support Igboho’s agitation, the extension is not only inhumane but condemnable.
“I don’t support Igboho’s separatist ideas and activities in any way, but the reported extension of his detention by six months is inhuman and condemnable.”
While announcing the development on Sunday night, Alliyu had stated that the Benin Republic government had extended Igboho’s incarceration without any hearing, emphasising that, “The government of the Republic of Benin has renewed the incarceration of Chief Sunday Adeyemo, aka Igboho Oosa for another six months even though there is no criminal charge in their file in Cotonou and without extradition request from Nigeria.”