•Ask Ooni, Alaafin, Awujale, Owa Obokun, Alake, Deji, Ewi, other monarchs to intervene
Some Yoruba people under the aegis of Yoruba Global Alliance have launched attack on Benin Republic, saying the continued incarceration of Chief Sunday Adeyemo, alias Sunday Igboho, by the country’s authorities, allegedly with the connivance of their Nigerian counterparts, “has become a huge embarrassment not only to those who padlocked him but also to all people of conscience all over the world”.
They called for Igboho’s immediate release
In a position paper titled ‘Release Igboho now’, and signed by Dr Amos Arogundade Akingba, Yoruba Global Alliance National President, and Chief Tola Adeniyi, Chairman of Council, the group described Igboho as a successful businessman and philanthropist.
“He got drawn into activism in response to the nefarious activities of terrorists who were tormenting his ancestral community”, it said.
It continued, “He also felt concerned about the second-class citizen position his Yoruba people were reduced to in their land and thought he could do something to redress the humiliating situation especially when his people ran to him for help.
“That was the genesis of Igboho’s fray into populism and the iron-fist response of those who believed Nigeria was their property to bedraggle and plunder.
“Adeyemo, accompanied by unprecedented mammoth crowds of supporters, admirers and the ordinary people, went round the nooks and crannies of Yoruba kingdoms in peaceful processions.
“This must have provoked the displeasure of the powers-that-be which, in Gestapo style, brutishly invaded his residence in the deadness of night to kill him and wipe out the entire families resident there”.
Saying it was a miracle Igboho survived the onslaught, Yoruba Global Alliance said two unarmed people were murdered while all the buildings and vehicular properties and other valuable items were destroyed beyond repair.
“About 17 days after the carnage of July 1, Igboho, in keeping with the UN charter, fled the country that was after his life and was about to escape to Germany when Nigerian authorities, suspected to be led by General Buratai recently planted in Benin, ambushed him in the neighbouring Republic”, the group narrated.
While calling on Yoruba leaders to summon up courage and deploy all the political machineries at their disposal to get Igboho out of prison to reunite with his family, the group said: “Our traditional rulers especially the Oonirisa, the Alaafin, Orisa-Ijebu the Awujale, the Owa Obokun Adimula, the Olubadan, the Alake, the Deji, the Ewi, the Osemawe, the Soun, the Akarigbo, the Olofa, Oba Jebba, the Obaro Kabba, the Oba of Benin, the Olu of Warri, the Alaketu and other Obas, not listed in any particular order, should call or visit President Buhari and appeal to his conscience to release your son to you.
“All the governors of the Yoruba speaking states should without further delay hold an emergency meeting and march to Abuja and Cotonou to plead for Igboho’s release.
“Yoruba Obas should not forget that the relative peace in their kingdoms today is due in part to Igboho’s awareness campaigns and but for him, maybe, today, we would be talking of Sultan of Ife and Emir of Ijebuland!”
By February 18, Igboho would have spent seven months in detention since his arrest on July 19, 2021, at the Cadjèhoun Airport in Cotonou.
Also, the Cour De’appal De Cotonou, since the arraignment of Igboho on July 27, 2021, has not sat, fuelling speculations that the detention of Igboho is laced with political undertones.
The Buhari administration had, in 2021, turned the heat on activist who agitated for the South-West to pull out of Nigeria over perceived injustice and insecurity.
On July 1, 2021, the Department of State Service (DSS) invaded his Ibadan residence, killing two of his associates and arresting 12 others.
The DSS subsequently declared him wanted for allegedly stockpiling arms to destabilise Nigeria under the pretext of secessionist agitation, something he denied.
After about three weeks underground, Igboho, 49, found his way to Cotonou and planned to escape to Germany but the trip was aborted as Interpol arrested him and his German-citizen wife, Ropo, at the behest of the Nigerian government.
The Beninese government subsequently arraigned the agitator before the Cour De’appal De Cotonou on migration-related offences and for gunrunning but the court on July 27, 2021, ordered that Ropo be released while Igboho be remanded in prison.