The Cour De’Appel in Cotonou, Benin Republic, has failed to give an adjournment date in the ongoing trial of Yoruba Nation agitator, Sunday Igboho, as it only asked the security agencies to return him to custody.
It was learnt that nine lawyers – three Yoruba and six non-Yoruba lawyers – are currently battling the Beninese court to secure Igboho’s bail and allow him to travel to Germany on a medical trip.
Ibrahim Salami, one of the lawyers to the activist, also confirmed this in an interview on Tuesday, saying they would have to apply to the court for a date as well as for bail to enable Igboho to travel out of the West African country.
Salami said, “What is surprising to us, that I haven’t experienced in my many years of practice as a lawyer, is that first when he was arrested; according to them, he was arrested because he committed an offence in Nigeria, and the Nigerian government asked that he be arrested.
“When we got to the prosecutor, that was the explanation he gave that Igboho never committed an offence in Benin.
“But when we got to the judge that investigates, he told us that Igboho’s offence is no longer limited to the three highlighted by the prosecutor but that Igboho’s offence was that he was working among criminals and the judge made a suggestion to the third judge that Igboho should be sent to prison in Benin Republic.
“When we got to the third judge, the one that determines whether someone is jailed or freed, the judge asked Igboho how he got to Benin Republic and how long he had stayed in Benin.
“The judge said he was sure that Igboho tried conniving with those who caused havoc in Benin and we are surprised that it was not what Igboho allegedly did in Nigeria that got him arrested but that Igboho did something illegal in Benin.
“So, according to the judge, investigations into how and why, with whom Igboho committed the offence, was what made them lock him up in prison.
“Right now, he has not been judged neither has there been a day fixed for hearing.
“His lawyers will have to go to the judge and ask for a date so that Igboho will be taken away from prison while their investigation is ongoing.
“When the judge finishes his investigation, he will send us to the judge that gives verdict so we will inform Igboho and that will be public.
“But before the court hearing, it is permitted by the law of the Benin Republic that we ask that Igboho be freed till then.
“We can ask the judge (the one that decides whether to release or detain an accused person) to release him till the hearing. When it is time, he will come.”
Newsflash Nigeria had reported that the Benin Republic police had arrested Igboho on July 19, at Cardinal Bernardin International Airport in Cotonou, while trying to fly from the country to Germany.
The Department of State Services (DSS) had on July 1 raided the residence of the activist in Ibadan, Oyo state.
The DSS raided the residence, killing two people and arresting 12 aides but Igboho escaped.
The agency alleged that Igboho was stockpiling weapons, and subsequently declared him wanted.