Human Rights & FreedomLaw & JusticeCounsels To Igboho To Block His Extradition

One of the legal team and supporters of Yoruba nation agitator, Sunday Adeyemo a.k.a. Igboho, Barr Ibrahim David Salami says they will prefer that he dies in the Benin Republic than allow him to be handed over to the Nigerian government.

Salami who declared on Saturday vowed that everything would be done to ensure that Igboho is not extradited to Nigeria.

Salami said the legal team of five in Benin has been receiving immense moral support from the Yoruba across the world since the case commenced but pleaded that those thronging the court at each hearing should keep off and allow the lawyers to do their job.

He said unruly behavior on their part would not be in the best interest of Igboho as it will lend credence to the allegation of incitement leveled against him.

He said although Igboho remains handcuffed in detention, reports that he was beaten or tortured are false.

Salami, a Beninese Yoruba and law lecturer, told BBC Yoruba in an interview monitored that “it is important that Igboho is not extradited to Nigeria under any circumstances.”

“It is better for him to die here in Benin than be extradited to Nigeria,” he said.

“With all that happened in his house and how the army is threatening him, allowing for his extradition will amount to sending him home to death.

“Rather than do that, it would be better to keep him in Benin and kill him than to let him go to Nigeria to be slaughtered like an animal.

“That has been our struggle and agitation here in Benin.”

Salami said the activist would know his fate tomorrow when the court is expected to rule on whether he, indeed, committed an offence in Nigeria warranting his extradition.

He said the federal government has written a letter to the Beninese government listing three offences against Adeyemo, including illegal arms trafficking/stockpiling, public incitement and secession.

Salami who confirmed that Igboho had a Nigerian passport bearing his name and a German residence permit which makes obtaining that country’s visa unnecessary, denied that a Beninese passport was found in Igboho’s possession.

“He was arrested at the point of documentation at the airport after his  (Igboho’s) luggage had been checked in.”

“The Nigerian government had notified Benin to help them arrest him in the event that they found him.”

“The security people found that the name in his passport tallied with the name in their black book, and they asked him to step aside,” he said.

Meanwhile, Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State said that Southwest leaders were working to ensure his release.

Sanwo-Olu, who spoke shortly after casting his vote at Eti-Osa during the local government/council election, said prominent persons in the Southwest were working behind the scenes to ensure Igboho’s release.

”People are working behind the scenes, but the matter doesn’t have to be a public conversation.”

“These are very difficult times for all of us. But I can assure you that people are working behind the scenes.”

 “At times like this, it is not about how many press people you call,” Sanwo-Olu said.

Igboho’s lawyers, on Friday filed a suit at the Oyo State High Court, Ibadan against the DSS and the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF), Abubakar Malami, SAN, seeking N500 billion damages over the July 2, 2021 invasion of his Sooka, Ibadan residence. He prayed the court for an order for the enforcement of his fundamental human right.

Hassan Umar Shallpella (Regional Correspondent)

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