Sunday Igboho Seeks Asylum In Benin Republic

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Desperately wanted by the Department of State Services in Nigeria, with an international arrest warrant hanging around his neck, and facing immigration-related offences in Cotonou, the embattled Yoruba Nation agitator, Sunday Adeyemo, aka Sunday Igboho, is seeking asylum in the Republic of Benin, newsmen have learnt.

It was gathered that the 48-year-old activist resorted to the option after he was arrested on Monday, July 19, 2021, by the International Criminal Police Organisation at the Cadjèhoun Airport in Cotonou, Republic of Benin.

Igboho was arrested with his Germany-based wife, Ropo, at the airport while they reportedly tried to catch a flight to Germany around 8pm on Monday.

Although the Cour De’appal De Cotonou ruled on Thursday that Ropo should be released unconditionally as there were no charges against her, Igboho is spending his first weekend in a police cell in Cotonou.

He is being tried for migration-related issues after he was allegedly caught with a fake Beninese passport at the point of his departure to Germany through an Air France flight.

“He (Igboho) was already at the airport with a passport. The immigration officers suspected his passport to be fake and so they stopped him. A passport was allegedly forged for Igboho in the Benin Republic for the purpose of the Germany trip. At the airport, they discovered he was the one,” a source familiar with the matter told newsmen.

The source, who craved anonymity, however, said although an application had been filed for Igboho as a political refugee in Germany, processes had also been completed to file another application for asylum for him in Benin Republic.

“Igboho has already applied for asylum in Germany and he hopes to file a similar application in Benin Republic in the coming days,” the source said.

The source also said that there was the possibility that the Beninese Government would drop the migration-related offences brought against Igboho over alleged forgery of passport.

The leader of Igboho’s legal team, Yomi Alliyu (SAN), had also in a statement noted that his client could not be extradited because the 1984 Extradition Treaty between Nigeria, Benin and two other countries excluded political refugees like Igboho.

Meanwhile, upon their arrest, Igboho and his wife were detained in police custody in Cotonou but the Cour De’appal De Cotonou ruled on Thursday that Ropo should be released unconditionally as there were no charges against her.

The court session lasted for about six hours with intermittent breaks.

The court, however, ruled that Igboho be remanded in police custody till the next date of adjournment which is likely to be next week.

Igboho spends weekend in Beninese cell, court resumes sitting next week

Although the Cour De’appal De Cotonou, adjourned the hearing of the case against Igboho, till Friday (yesterday), the hearing didn’t hold. The implication of this is that Igboho would spend the weekend in the Beninese cell.

Newsmen gathered that the hearing would hold next week while the umbrella body of Yoruba Self-Determination Groups, Ilana Omo Oodua, said it would hold on Monday. The group, led by ex-Senator Banji Akintoye, was in court to monitor Thursday’s hearing.

The group disclosed this in a statement signed by its Communications Manager, Maxwell Adeleye, and titled, ‘Update on Chief Sunday Adeyemo Igboho’s Case in the Republic of Benin by Ilana Omo Oodua.’

The statement, which was released on Friday, partly read, “Yesterday (Thursday), the court set Mrs Adeyemo, lgboho’s wife, free since it has been found that she has committed no offence and there’s no complaint whatsoever against her. Consequently, her German passport was returned to her.

“The case has been adjourned till Monday, July 26, to allow the Nigerian Government to bring up whatever evidence they may have, and Mr lgboho has been taken back to the police custody.”