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Tukur Buratai pushes for Sunday Igboho’s extradition

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Tukur Buratai pushes for Sunday Igboho’s extradition

Facts on Tuesday emerged about how Nigeria’s Ambassador to the Benin Republic, Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai (retd.), was instrumental to the arrest of the Yoruba nation activist, Sunday Adeyemo, also known as Sunday Igboho.

A top security source in the Benin Republic confided in The PUNCH that the former Chief of Army Staff wrote the government of the small West African country and insisted on the arrest and extradition of Igboho.

A few hours after Igboho’s arrest on Monday, his Beninese lawyers and other experts met with some Benin Republic government officials and called for the halting of his extradition.

A top security source in Benin Republic, who spoke to one of our correspondents said that Buratai through the Nigerian Embassy in the small West African country sent a secret letter to the Benin government to be on the lookout for Igboho.

The PUNCH gathered that the letter was instrumental to the arrest of Igboho and his wife, Ropo, at the Cadjèhoun Airport in Cotonou, the largest city in the French-speaking country.

The source said, “He (Igboho) was arrested in Cotonou on Monday night while he tried to travel. He was already at the airport with a passport. The immigration officers suspected the passport and so they stopped him. In the process, they discovered he was the one. He was able to escape in the course of discussion and we were grateful to God for that.

“But the travel agent called back saying the matter had been resolved. But on going back, he was arrested. He was trying to travel to Germany when he was apprehended.

“A lot of people made effort to resolve the matter but we discovered that the Nigerian Ambassador to Benin Republic (Tukur Buratai) was already aware and he said that he (Igboho) must be extradited.”

A security source present in Benin Republic also told The PUNCH that the International Criminal Police Organisation, at the behest of the Nigerian Government, arrested Igboho and his wife at the airport around 8pm on Monday.

The source said, “Interpol at the airport came and arrested him saying he was wanted in Nigeria. He was together with his wife.”

The source added said Igboho and his wife had been detained in “Benin Republic Criminal Police cell”, adding that

“Buratai should have gone to the police station because he was the one that told them to arrest him.”

The source said though the German Embassy was intervening in the matter because Igboho’s wife is a German citizen, the Nigerian Government could have its way and extradite Igboho today (Wednesday).

“I was told they are coming tomorrow. My prayer is that he should remain in Cotonou or be allowed to go to Germany because I don’t know what would happen to him in Abuja,” the source said.

Meanwhile, the activist’s lawyers have reached out to the Benin Republic government to halt his extradition.

A member of Igboho’s legal team, Pelumi Olajengbesi, confirmed the development to The PUNCH in Abuja on Tuesday.

“Igboho’s lawyers in Benin have already reached out to senior officials in Benin to ensure that he is not brought back to Nigeria. They (legal team) have assured us that they are doing all that is necessary to keep him in Benin.

Igboho’s lead counsel, Yomi Alliyu (SAN), in a statement obtained by The PUNCH on Tuesday, confirmed that Igboho and his wife were arrested in Benin Republic.

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.”

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