Controversies trail how Igboho was arrested
Following the reported last Monday arrest of the self-acclaimed Yoruba nation agitator, Chief Sunday Adeyemo popularly known as Sunday Igboho in Benin Republic, there have been conflicting information on how he was apprehended.
Although there have not been any official information by the Federal Government, there are reports that Igboho was arrested by Republican Police at the Cardinal Bernardin International Airport in Cotonou.
According to Banouto, a Benin newspaper Igboho was “disembarked from his plane, arrested by the Beninese police while he was trying to travel to Germany and then transferred to the Cotonou Criminal Brigade.”
But contrary to the report published by the Republic of Benin newspaper, one of Igboho’s lawyers, Pelumi Olajengbesi told Sahara Reporters that the agitator wouldn’t have been arrested if he had not surrendered to the police.
Olujengbesi said the operation was successful because his client wanted to make himself available to the government.
“You know the Department of State Services declared him wanted. We just believe that Sunday Igboho is not the problem. He is someone who believed that the Yoruba people and Nigerians generally should live in peace wherever they are.”
“As a matter of fact, let me tell you now. That Sunday Igboho was arrested simply because he wanted to make himself available to the government. If not, Sunday Igboho is not someone who can be arrested that way. But because he believes that the journey to justice for the Yoruba people and for the Nigerian state to be able to live in peace may be needed for him to be available, that was why,” he said.
According to report, Sunday Igboho was arrested while trying to jet out of the country to Germany where he is said to also be a citizen.
Meanwhile there have been reactions to his arrest.
Reacting to the arrest, an ex-governor of Oyo State, Rashidi Ladoja, advised the federal government to handle the case of Igboho with caution. He spoke during a press briefing at his Bodija, Ibadan residence.
“I want to appeal to the federal government to grant Igboho and (Nnamdi) Kanu amnesty just as some members of the dreaded Boko Haram sect were given amnesty. Igboho and Kanu are creations of the federal government. Why? Because whenever they arrested herdsmen who were killing their people, the federal government never acted. That was why those two people came up to defend their people.
“Boko Haram members that were arrested a year ago by the government have been released to the Borno State Government. The Federal Government created Sunday Igboho in the context of Igangan massacre.”
Also, the leader of Yoruba socio-cultural group, Afenifere, Ayo Adebanjo described the arrest as an act of war declaration on the Yoruba people.
Speaking to Peoples Gazette newspaper, he said “Yoruba worldwide should take to the streets to make sure that Sunday Igboho is not brought back to Nigeria and if they bring him back, the Yoruba should ensure that he is not badly tortured or worse. They have declared war on our people.”
In his own reaction, human rights activist and lawyer, Mike Ozekhome, in a statement said President Muhammadu Buhari’s government paradoxically appears abysmally “weak and hopelessly helpless when it comes to fighting AK-47 wielding armed bandits, Boko Haram and other deadly insurgents, including ransom-taking kidnappers who are almost kidnapping the very heart and soul of Nigeria on a daily basis. The Nigerian Nation appears captured by non-state actors.
“The same government that is suddenly effective in the case of Nnamdi Kanu and Sunday Igboho have never been able to capture kidnappers, armed bandits and Boko haram that are daily ravaging us, turning Nigeria into sprawling field of human carnage. They take ransom. Innocent school children are paid for. Where is the same government when kidnappers are demanding that the parents of kidnapped children should now be feeding them in their kidnap dens?
“But, it suddenly becomes effective and audacious when it comes to arresting and even ambushing and attacking in their very homes, self-determination activists and crusaders. I am not impressed with this at all.”
Igboho who had led rallies in Ondo, Ekiti, Osun, Oyo, and Ogun states, was planning to hold another one in Lagos on July 3 when his Soka residence in Ibadan was invaded by security agents on July 1.
While some of his aides were arrested with various weapons, he escaped and had since been declared wanted.