New Telegraph

Yoruba Nation: Controversy as Coutonu court adjourns Sunday Igboho’s trial till today

Benin Republic govt’s lawyer keeps mum
We’re optimistic-Activist’s counsel

Suspense, apprehension and uncertainty, yesterday, trailed the alleged arraignment of the embattled Yoruba Nation agitator, Sunday Adeyemo (aka Sunday Igboho), by the Benin Republic authorities for immigration- related offenses. New Telegraph learnt last night that while uncertainties shrouded his alleged arraignment, conflicting reports continued to trail the supposed arraingment, a development which further heightened tension among Yorubas back home in Oyo State and across the country.

It was, however, gathered last night that Igboho was returned to the custody of Brigade Criminelle in Cotonou, as the Cour D’Appel De Cotonou adjourned the case involving the Yoruba rights activist till today. Igboho and his wife, Ropo, were arrested at the Cardinal Bernardin International Airport, Cotonou, enroute Germany on Monday.

He was allegedly accused of illegally possessing Benin Republic passport, which fuelled series of speculations over a possible extradition to Nigeria following his being declared wanted by the Department of State Services (DSS). New Telegraph gathered that after the case came up for hearing, the government’s lawyer didn’t address journalists, while Ìgbòho’s lawyer explained that, “this is not the best time to say anything on the case.” The lawyer was said to have expressed optimism that things would turn out for good for Igboho, despite the many controversies trailing his arraignment.

Despite this, it was however, unconfirmed if Ropo was released last night, since it was learnt she didn’t commit any offence, while Igboho’s bail application was also to come up today. However, unconfirmed reports had, prior to the arraignment, heightened tension as it was reported that Beninoise security operatives were at one point interrogating Igboho, while another report revealed that Igboho had been taken to the Cour De’appal De Cotonou, where he was to be arraigned. While these conflicting reports continued, the social media was still awash with no clear-cut position of the possibility of Igboho being arraigned as a report cited by this newspaper last night New Telegraph checks revealed that some Yoruba from Cotonou and the surrounding areas had reportedly flocked to the court yesterday to await the start of the trial.

Some of those who were interviewed reportedly urged the authorities not to send Igboho back to Nigeria, claiming that he had done nothing wrong. In seeking for a confirmation, a judicial source confirmed to the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) Pidgin language that Igboho and his wife, Ropo were with operatives of Brigade criminelle in Cotonou. It was gathered after the interrogation, he was expected to appear before the Cour d’Appel in Cotonou, a situation which further heightened tension. The court is expected to debate on the international arrest warrant issued against him.

If it is found to be in order, he’ll be extradited. But if the warrant is defective from the legal or administrative angle, he’ll be referred before the prosecutor. It was also learnt that since Igboho did not commit any of the alleged crimes in Benin Republic, the prosecutor will determine the next steps. Meanwhile, the umbrella body of Yoruba Self-Determination Groups, Ilana Omo Oodua, yesterday, released a manual for any persons willing to join or champion the Yoruba Nation agitation. The manual, which was signed by its leader, Prof. Emeritus Banji Akintoye, also contained conditions that must be met when holding a rally or protest. The manual, according to the group, revealed: “The following is a guide or manual for the use of all Yoruba patriots engaged in the struggle for Yoruba self-determination. It supplies to all supporters of the self-determination struggle the kinds of information that they will need to prosecute the struggle; and it supplies guides to the struggle’s strategies and methods.”

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