Self-styled Yoruba Nation agitator, Sunday Adeyemo, popularly known as Sunday Igboho, was arraigned before the Cour D’Appel De Cotonou on immigration-related offences by the government of the Benin Republic.
The Court ordered that Igboho, who is being tried for obtaining a Beninese passport without being a citizen, be remanded in the custody of Brigade Criminelle in Cotonou as the case will continue on Friday.
However, his wife, Ropo, who is a German citizen, was set free by the court, which didn’t find her guilty of any crime.
Igboho and his wife, Ropo, were arrested at the Cardinal Bernardin International Airport, Cotonou on Monday while trying to catch a flight to Germany.
However, Daily Trust learnt that the Nigeria government failed to file extradition charges against Igboho, who was declared wanted by the Department of State Services after its operatives raided the Soka residence of the agitator, killing two and arresting twelve people in the process.
Yomi Alliyu (SAN), counsel to Igboho confirmed the failure of the FG to file charges in court on Thursday in a telephone conversation with Daily Trust last night.
“Not only that his wife has been released, but the FGN also refused to file an extradition charge against him. They are begging the Benin Republic to keep him pending the time they will file charges against him. Which serious country will accept that”? Alliyu queried.
Meanwhile, the Federal Ministry of Justice said they are observing the extradition process in respect of Sunday Igboho arrest in the Benin Republic.
A senior staff of the ministry’s prosecutions department informed Daily Trust under the condition of the anonymity that the process has already commenced by a court hearing in Cotonou.
Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN) could not be reached for comments, but his media aide, Dr Umar Gwandu said he has information so far on the case.
Meanwhile, human rights lawyer, Femi Falana (SAN), has warned that Igboho’s extradition could turn to embarrassment for the country if Benin Republic finds no strong evidence that he has committed criminal offences.
He said the request for Igboho’s deportation to Nigeria reportedly submitted hurriedly by Nigeria’s ambassador to Benin Republic, Gen. Tukur Buratai cannot be granted because it has not conformed with Article 18 of the Extradition Convention.
“It is not sufficient to state that Igboho is wanted for terrorism and murder. The request must be supported by a statement of the offences for which extradition is requested, the time and place of their commission; their legal descriptions; and a reference to the relevant legal provision shall be set out as accurately as possible; and an authenticated copy of the relevant law indicating the sentence which may be or has been imposed for the offence,” he said.
He said that the government of Benin Republic are provisionally detaining Igboho for 20 years after which he would be released “if the requested State has not received a request for extradition from the requesting State in accordance with Article 15 of the ECOWAS Extradition Convention.”
In his reaction, Prof Paul Ananaba (SAN) said Igboho cannot be deported without recourse to the law of Benin Republic and “their interpretation of that law.”
From: Abiodun Alade, Lagos & Jeremiah Oke( Ibadan), John Chuks Azu (Abuja)