Pelumi Olajengbesi, one of the lawyers of the Yoruba Nation agitator, Sunday Adeyemo, popularly known as Sunday Igboho, has revealed how the Benin Republic frustrated plans of the President Muhammadu Buhari administration.
Newsflash Nigeria had reported that Sunday Igboho and his wife, Ropo were arrested last Monday, July 19, in the Benin Republic which they trying to board a flight to Germany.
The Court D’Apeal in Cotonou, Benin Republic, had on Thursday adjourned the trial of Sunday Igboho till Monday, July 26.
This was to allow the Nigerian Government to file extradition charges and bring up whatever evidence they may have.
The court however ordered the immediate release of Igboho’s wife Ropo, a German citizen, and ordered the return of her passport.
Speaking to ThePunch, Olajengbesi revealed that Nigeria’s Ambassador to Benin, Tukur Buratai, had already concluded plans to hastily extradite Igboho to Nigeria.
According to the lawyer, Buratai’s move to illegally extradite Sunday Igboho resulted in the Federal Government’s failure to bring up any major charge against the agitator.
Olajengbesi said: “His (Buratai’s) disposition is very clear and it is to get Chief Sunday Igboho arrested and return him to the country.
“I don’t want to specifically talk about things, which facts are not available to me, but we were informed that he placed calls and made efforts to ensure that my client was repatriated without following the rule of law but Benin Republic declined the request and insisted that everything must be done within the precinct of the law.
“The information we had was that the former Chief of Army Staff had organised a private jet already on standby that same night to immediately convey Chief Sunday Igboho to Nigeria.
“He thought Chief Sunday Igboho is his property but then with the stance of Benin Republic and the agitation of people all over the world, he couldn’t achieve that. Now, they (Nigerian government) are at the mercy at the law that they ran away from.
“For you to know that the Federal Government of Nigeria was only trying to do things in a fire-brigade approach, the Federal Government could not even bring up any major charge against our client before the court sitting in Benin Republic and so the matter had to be adjourned till next week.
“We are expecting that the Federal Government would come up with whatever its issues with Chief Sunday Igboho are and why the government wants him extradited by all means.”
When asked the lawyer, what exactly was discussed in court last Thursday.
He said” the system of law in the Benin Republic is quite different from the system of law in Nigeria.
“In Nigeria, we practise an adversarial system of justice but in the Benin Republic what they have is an inquisitorial system, a justice system in which the judge delves into the matter to enquire.
“The judge is like the investigator, asking questions from the suspects and all of that. That is the stage we are now at the Benin Republic.
“A charge has not been preferred against him (Igboho). The court is at the level of the judge making an inquiry as to interviewing Chief Sunday Igboho in the open court for him to respond to some of the issues surrounding his arrest and all of that.
“Perhaps, from next week, there would be serious issues in court and we can have a direction on the matter”.