Activist granted access to medical care
Cour De’appal De Cotonou, Benin Republic on Monday resumed the hearing of a case filed against the Yoruba nation activist, Sunday Adeyemo better known as Sunday Igboho.
During the court sessions, which lasted for more than eight hours, Igboho’s lawyers battled to secure bail for the activist but the court only granted him access to medical care after the marathon sessions which ended around past 11pm (Nigerian time).
The court sessions started at noon, but there were intermittent breaks during the hearing.
It was learnt that the court proceeding took that long because the system of law in Benin Republic was different from the system of law in Nigeria. Nigeria practises an adversarial system of justice but Benin Republic has an inquisitorial system, a justice system in which the judge delves into the matter to enquire like the investigator, asking questions and probing the suspects.
It was also learnt that at least six lawyers represented the Federal Government of Nigeria in court on Monday. The legal representatives were a combination of local and international lawyers as well as French-speaking and English-speaking lawyers, a competent source told The PUNCH.
However, speaking with The PUNCH after the court sitting, a member of Igboho’s legal team, Pelumi Olajengbesi, expressed confidence that his client would be released.
“We are confident he would be released with state protection, this means that wherever he goes, nobody can arrest him,” he said.
Benin judge demands Igboho’s boarding pass
Our correspondent gathered that the presiding judge demanded the boarding pass of Igboho while investigating the matter before him.
A boarding pass is a document that gives a passenger permission to board the plane. It contains information about flight times, boarding times, and seat assignments for that flight.
Recall that Igboho and his wife were arrested at the Cadjèhoun Airport in Cotonou around 8pm on July 19, 2021, while they tried to catch a flight to Germany through an Air France plane. But the court, last Thursday, ordered the release of his wife but returned Igboho to police cell.
Police in seven trucks disperse Yoruba Nation supporters from court premises
Security operatives at the Cour De’appal De Cotonou, Benin Republic, the venue of the hearing of the case against Igboho, had a tough time with the hundreds of the activist’s supporters on Monday when court resumed sitting on the matter.
Our correspondent gathered that the Police chased out hundreds of Yoruba Nation activists and journalists from the court premises as judgment was about to be delivered on the matter.
The PUNCH gathered that the policemen came in about seven trucks and dispersed the Yoruba Nation proponents who gathered on the court premises awaiting the position of the court.
However, despite the dispersal, our correspondent gathered that the followers of the activist, who left Lagos, Ibadan and other parts of Nigeria over the weekend for the court position, re-converged outside the court premises as they eagerly awaited legal judgment..
Earlier, the court barred journalists and supporters of Igboho from the courtroom but allowed the agitator’s lawyers and his wife, Ropo, inside the courtroom.
The court investigated the allegations brought against Igboho by the Federal Government of Nigeria which claimed, amongst other things, that the activist is a gun runner who caused disunity in the country.
Igboho was earlier declared wanted by the Department of State Services in Nigeria for allegedly stockpiling arms, an allegation he denied.
The secret police on July 1, 2021, had raided his house, killed two of his associates and arrested about 12 of them.
One of Igboho’s lawyers, Pelumi Olajengbesi, had said the activist was optimistic that he would be granted asylum in Benin Republic as a political prisoner.
Gani Adams rallies Benin Republic monarchs for Igboho
Also, Aareonakakanfo of Yorubaland, Gani Adams, rallied ten prominent Benin Republic monarchs to support Igboho.
In a video seen by our correspondent, over ten monarchs in Benin Republic pledged their support to ensure the release of Igboho. The Yoruba-speaking monarchs also resolved to write the Beninise President, Patrice Talon; as well as ministers and lawmakers in the French-speaking West African nation to stop the extradition of Igboho.
Leading the ten monarchs in the emergency meeting held on Sunday was the Alajowun of Ajowun land, Oba Signon Adekilumo. Others were Alajase of Ajase-Ile Porto-Novo, Oba Alajase Onikoyi; Onitowe of Towe land, Oba Shitu Adeleke; Ologunba of Ogunba, Oba Adio Ogunju; Oniohorije of Ohori land, Oba Awelede Salomon; Onimasse of Mase land, Oba Akerekoro, Palais Royal de Seme Krake, Sa Majeste Roi de Krake, Palais Royal de Ilase Sa Majeste Roi de Ilase, Oloye R. Oguntosin Taye, among others.
Oba Adekilumo stressed that “after writing the letter, we will also meet with the President and the leaders of the legislative arms as well as ministers in the country”.
“Igboho won’t suffer any harm or any justice in Benin Republic. He’ll be freed by the grace of God.”
Adams said the monarchs have been assigned to play both traditional and fatherly roles in ensuring that Igboho’s right to freedom was protected without abuse or misjudgements.
Adams, in a statement by his Special Assistant on Media, Kehinde Aderemi, was quoted as saying, “I am not comfortable with the way the Federal Government is handling Sunday Igboho’s case and I have made my position known to the world. I have also rallied over ten prominent Yoruba monarchs in Republic of Benin to discuss the possibility of getting Igboho off the hook, and ensure that he regains his freedom unconditionally”
“Going forward, I think we must stand by him because we are all in the struggle for the liberation of our race and whatever happens to Igboho happens to us.
“And the journey, though, didn’t begin with him, it will definitely not end with him, because the agitation for self-determination is our legitimate rights for which we are ready to follow with all our strengths.”
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