Yoruba socio-cultural group, Afenifere and Oke Ogun Development Consultative Forum have urged the Benin Republic government to protect and respect the rights of Yoruba Nation agitator, Sunday Adeyemo, popularly known as Sunday Igboho in the course of his trial.
The National Publicity Secretary of Afenifere, Jare Ajayi, who is also the spokesman of the Oke Ogun Development Consultative Forum, ODCF, made the call while calling for Igboho’s protection.
Ajayi said the issues surrounding Igboho are political in nature because his mission was meant to stop the iniquities being meted out to Yoruba people.
The group stated this in a statement jointly signed by its President, Dr. Olusegun Ajuwon, and Ajayi.
According to the statement: “We are proud of his desire to see that farmers are no longer prevented from cultivating their farms and our women are no longer raped in the course of pursuing their businesses.
“It would be recalled that Mr. Adeyemo was the arrowhead of a movement peacefully tackling Fulani herders who were terrorizing farmers and rural dwellers particularly in Ibarapa area of Oyo State.
“His group later began to agitate for the creation of a Yoruba nation. In the wee hours of July 1, 2021, his house in Soka area of Ibadan was invaded by armed officials of the DSS resulting in the death of two people and arrest of 12 others who are now on trial in Abuja.
“Feeling that his life was unsafe, Adeyemo decided to sneak out of the country. He was arrested in Cotonou while trying to board a flight to Germany. He has been on trial since then. The reports have it that Nigeria is making efforts to have him extradited so that he could be tried here.
ODCF said that while it concedes that the government has a right, indeed the power, to try anybody thought to have contravened the law.
“But in doing so, government should factor in the relevant sections of the law that says that a suspect is innocent until proven guilty by a court of competent jurisdiction. Not only that, the governments of Nigeria and Benin should remember the relevant sections of the African Charter and other international conventions to which they are signatories.
“Some of the documents being referred to include Article 4 of the ECOWAS Convention on Extradition which prescribes that a suspect cannot be extradited if the offence for which he is wanted is ‘political or for the purpose of prosecuting him on account of his ethnic group or political opinion’. Various provisions of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Nigeria is also a party, have similar provisions.
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“Part of what Sunday Igboho advocated was echoed penultimate week by Emir of Muri in Taraba state.
“The monarch had given Fulani herders a 30 day ultimatum to vacate his area because of the harm they were doing to farmers and women in his domain. Reports indicated that the herders last week Monday, August 2, pledged their readiness to comply with his directive.
“There is no difference between what Sunday Igboho was advocating and what Emir of Muri has done. Therefore, we believe that what is good for the goose should be good for the gander.
“It is within these laws that we seek protection for ourselves and our people including Sunday Adeyemo Igboho”.