Igboho: Trial begins as Yoruba nation agitator returns to Beninese cell
By Sunday Elom N.
A Benin Republic Court, Cour D’Appel De Cotonou has commenced trial for popular Yoruba Nation agitator, Sunday Adeyemo, otherwise known as Sunday Igboho.
Igboho and his German wife, Ropo who were arrested at the Cardinal Bernardin International Airport, Cotonou while trying to catch a flight to Germany on Monday night is currently being tried for obtaining a Beninise passport without being a citizen.
Orient Weekend can report that after Court proceedings yesterday, Igboho has been returned to the custody of Brigade Criminelle in Cotonou, Benin Republic while his wife was released and the matter was consequently adjourned till Friday, July 23, 2021.
Our correspondent further reports that after the hearing, the government lawyer didn’t address journalists but however, maintained that “this is not the best time to say anything on the case”.
The lawyer, nonetheless, expressed optimism that things would turn out for good.
Recall that the DSS on February 26, 2021, attempted to arrest Igboho along the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway when the activist and his supporters were on their way to meet with the 93-year-old Afenifere Chieftain, Ayo Adebanjo, but pandemonium broke out and the DSS was unable to arrest him.
However, the secret police raided Igboho’s residence in the Soka area of Ibadan on July 1, 2021, arrested at least 12 of his associates and killed two others during the raid which turned bloody.
It had also been reported that Igboho escaped the raid and the secret police subsequently declared him wanted for allegedly stockpiling arms to destabilize Nigeria under the pretext of the Yoruba nation agitation- an allegation that Igboho denied.
The activist, who went underground, was, however, apprehended by Interpol at the Cadjèhoun Airport in Cotonou, Benin Republic on Monday night.
It was gathered that the court sitting held amidst a tensed atmosphere as supporters of Sunday Igboho turned out in their large numbers to witness the hearing.
Many of the supporters, who did not know when the Yoruba rights activist arrived in court, rushed into the courtroom to see him. One of the supporters who spoke off camera said Igboho and his wife, Ropo looked pale.
Meanwhile, prominent Yoruba sons have continued to call for care in the handling of the trial of the activist.
One of the latest reactions is a former Governor of Oyo State, Rasheed Ladoja. He said in a recent statement that arresting Igboho and Kanu would not end the agitation for self-determination across the country.
He added that their agitations were a result of the government’s failure to tackle insecurity in the country, which he said had escalated.
Said the erstwhile Governor, “I want to appeal to the Federal Government to grant Igboho and Kanu amnesty, just as some of the dreaded Boko Haram insurgents were given amnesty.
“Igboho and Kanu are creation of the Federal Government. Why? Because whenever they arrested herdsmen, who were killing their people, Federal Government never acts.
“That was why those two people came up to defend their people.
“Boko Haram members that were arrested a year ago by the government have been released to the Borno State government.
“The Federal Government created Sunday Igboho in the context of Igangan massacre. People are agitating for what they believe in. They should be treated with care, and not as criminals.
“Yoruba leaders, including the Alaafin of Oyo, have been complaining about the atrocities committed by Fulani herdsmen without response from the Federal Government.
“Order would come from above to release them and that is why people resorted to self-help.
“It is in this process that Igboho was created due to the killings that had been happening in Ibarapa axis and nobody has been arrested. Even if they were arrested, they will be released.
“Arrest of Igboho will not change anything if government failed to do the needful. Many Igbohos will be created. Just like Kanu has become an acclaimed leader, and to some people, Igboho has also become a leader.