… As diplomatic, legal fireworks open in Benin
Some prominent Southwest leaders met behind closed doors yesterday at the palace of the Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi over the state of the nation.
They also discussed the arrest of Yoruba Nation agitator, Sunday Adeyemo (aka Sunday Igboho).
The Nation gathered that the meeting had in attendance, about 30 persons, including Senator Abiodun Olujimi; Akin Osuntoun, a former political adviser to ex-President Obasanjo Obasanjo and a former Peoples Democratic Party Governor candidate for Lagos State, Jimi Agbaje.
Deputy Chairman, Oyo State Council of Obas, Oba Francis Alao confirmed the meeting.
Alao, who is the Olugbon of Orile Igbon, explained that the meeting was originally convened to discuss national developments but had to delve into Igboho’s arrest,
He said: “The essence of our meeting is a call by the Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi that we need to come back to our roots and do things the way we use to do it successfully.
“A lot of things have gone wrong in the last few years in this country, politically, economically, socially, and we want to put things in the right perspective, that is the essence of this meeting. “Coincidentally, Sunday Igboho was part of what was discussed. We did not ignore the issue but it was not the main issue we discussed.
“We need to be at the forefront of what is happening in this country? We are going to make wider consultations whereby individuals, groups, and others will be carried along to put things in the right direction.
“ We cut across the Southwest states at the meeting. We are going to make wider consultations with monarchs. It is time for us to get it right..”
A former Governor of Oyo State, Senator Rashidi Ladoja, and erstwhile National Commissioner of the Independent National Electoral Commission(INEC), Prof. Lai Olorode, also spoke on Igboho’s arrest yesterday.
Meanwhile , Diplomatic and legal intrigues have opened over this question, it was gathered yesterday.
Igboho , was declared wanted and put on International police (INTERPOL) watch-list by the Department of State Service (DSS) in July 1 after a raid on his Ibadan residence by “a joint security team.” He escaped, but two of his guards were killed.
Thirteen others, including a woman, were arrested at his home and whisked to Abuja.
Apart from guns and charms, Igboho’s international passport and his German resident permit were also recovered.
However, Igboho was arrested on Monday night in the neighbouring country along with his German wife, Mrs Ropo Adeyemo while attempting to travel to Europe.
It was learnt that the involvement of his wife in the arrest got the German government intervened in the matter.
Igboho’s lawyers, led by Yomi Aliu (SAN), have moved to Benin Republic where they have contracted Beninese lawyers in readiness for a legal battle to prevent the agitator’s extradition to Nigeria.
The Beninese government, it was learnt, is willing to hand Igboho over to Nigeria because of the warm diplomatic relationship between the two countries and to facilitate free trade along the border with Nigeria.
A top source said: “There has been suspense over extradition of Igboho because of diplomatic intrigues. The involvement of a German citizen has added a new dimension to the arrest of Igboho. Germany is insisting on a fair procedure. Most Western nations are backing Germany.
“If Germany has its way, Igboho’s extradition has to be subjected to a thorough legal process. It is claiming that Igboho must undergo a free and transparent judicial process in Benin Republic. The Federal Government is insisting that the INTERPOL statute must be respected and the suspect should be handed over immediately.
Based on his watch-list, the Federal Government wanted Igboho extradited to Nigeria in line with the laws governing INTERPOL.
The INTERPOL is made up of 194 countries which are sharing data related to police investigations.
Both Nigeria and Benin Republic are member countries of INTERPOL.
“Igboho’s lawyer Aliu and some Beninese lawyers would join in the legal and diplomatic matters, including the Extradition Treaty of 1984 by Togo, Nigeria, Ghana and Republic of Benin.
“Benin Republic, a former French colony, is weighing options to either bow to pressure from Germany or accede to Nigeria’s request by complying with INTERPOL protocols.
“When it comes to the economy of a country, no one will joke with it. You can appreciate the diplomatic web on Igboho. Benin Republic is trying to manage the situation.”
Aliu in a statement said: ”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.”
Contrary to some claims, Aliu confirmed to BBC Yoruba that Igboho has not been released.
He said: “It is a lie that Igboho has been released. The claim is farther from the truth.”
It was also learnt that Igboho’s conversation on telephone gave his whereabouts away.
“You know that he has been under watch and he is a suspect who talks too much.
“These telephone clues were used to trail him and he was intercepted in Cotonou.”
(With the Nation report)