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Igboho’s kinsmen warn FG, Benin against trampling on his rights

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Ojo Peter, Ibadan 

Kinsmen of the Yoruba Nation freedom fighter, Chief Sunday Adeyemo, popularly called Sunday ‘Igboho’, under the aegis of the Oke Ogun Development Consultative Forum (ODCF), the umbrella body for the people of Oke Ogun in Oyo state, on Sunday, called on both the federal government and the government of Benin Republic to respect the fundamental human rights of the agitator in the course of his being tried in court.

The call was contained in a press release issued by ODCF.

The activist is from Igboho in Oorelope local government area of Oke-Ogun, Oyo state, Nigeria.

In a release jointly signed by the ODCF president, Dr Olusegun Ajuwon, and Comrade Jare Ajayi, their public relations officer, the body stated that Adeyemo’s mission was meant to put a stop to the iniquities being meted out to Yoruba people – of which he is a proud son.

“We are proud of his desire to see that farmers are no longer prevented from cultivating their farms and our women are no longer raped in the course of pursuing their businesses,” the group declared.

It would be recalled that Mr. Adeyemo currently spearheads a movement peacefully tackling Fulani herders who have been terrorising farmers and rural dwellers particularly in Ibarapa area of Oyo state. His group later began to agitate for the creation of a Yoruba nation. In the wee hours of July 1, 2021, his house in Soka area of Ibadan was invaded by armed officials of the Department of State Services, DSS, resulting in the death of two people and arrest of 12 others who are now on trial in Abuja.

Feeling that his life was unsafe, Adeyemo decided to sneak out of the country. He was arrested in Cotonou while trying to board a flight to Germany. He has been on trial since then. Reports have it that Nigeria is making efforts to have him extradited so that he could be tried in Nigeria.

In the press release by ODCF, it said that while it conceded that the government had a right, indeed the power, to try anybody thought to have contravened the law, in doing so,

“government should factor in the relevant sections of the law that say that a suspect is innocent until proven guilty by a court of competent jurisdiction. Not only that, the governments of Nigeria and Benin should remember the relevant sections of the African Charter and other international conventions to which they are signatories.”

Some of the documents being referred to include Article 4 of the ECOWAS Convention on Extradition which prescribes that a suspect cannot be extradited if the offence for which he is wanted is ‘political or for the purpose of prosecuting him on account of his ethnic group or political opinion’. Various provisions of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Nigeria is also a party, have similar provisions.

From available reports, issues surrounding Sunday Igboho are political in nature because what he was advocating have something to do with how his people were being treated.

According to the Oke-Ogun spokespersons, part of what Sunday Igboho advocated was echoed penultimate week by the Emir of Muri in Taraba state. The monarch had given Fulani herders a 30-day ultimatum to vacate his area because of the harm they were doing to farmers and women in his domain. Reports indicated that the herders, last week Monday, August 2, pledged their readiness to comply with his directive.

“There is no difference between what Sunday Igboho was advocating and what the Emir of Muri has done. Therefore, we believe that what is good for the goose should be good for the gander,” ODCF added.

The group emphasised that they were law-abiding citizens with commitment to the laws of the land, saying: “It is within these laws that we seek protection for ourselves and our people, including Sunday Adeyemo Igboho.”

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