One of the Benin Republic-based lawyers of Yoruba Nation agitator, Sunday Adeyemhas advised his supporters to stay away from the Cour D’Appal De Cotonou as his case proceeds in Cotonou, the Benin Republic capital.
Ibrahim Salami, a Law Professor, in an interview with BBC Yoruba, prosecutors claimed Adeyemo, popularly called Sunday Igboho was on a watch-list for alleged trafficking in arms, inciting violence that could result in social disturbance and causing disunity in Nigeria.
“When we went to court on Thursday, we had a large turnout of Igboho’s supporters. I frowned at their action. They should stay at home and let us do our job. Igboho is accused of causing disorderliness and civil unrest. If they are now mobilising to court, it may send a wrong signal. They should support him with prayers from home,” he said.
Salami said Igboho was not maltreated by the Beninese authorities and he did not attempt to travel out of that country with a Beninese passport.
“We are five lawyers defending him. When we saw him in the police station, he was not chained in the leg or beaten. What they did to him that is wrong was that they handcuff him inside the cell such that he finds it difficult to eat or ease himself. Another person has to help him if he needs to use the toilet or eat.
“Human right does not permit us to do this. We called the attention of the police boss and prosecutor to it. As we speak, he is still handcuffed.”
The counsel insisted that only a Nigerian passport was found on the Yoruba rights activist, adding that he was not being tried for possessing a fake passport.
Salami who hinted that Igboho was tried for “immigration offences” said that had been neutralised with the activist’s application for asylum.
“When he left Nigeria, he took the backdoor into Benin. It was at the airport that security operatives stopped him that he was on the watchlist. He didn’t go against any law in the Benin Republic. They didn’t find any Beninese passport on him. He had a Nigerian passport with a German residency card. He needed no visa at that point.
“When we understudied the case, we realised that the Nigerian government had not filed a case for extradition. They only claimed that he is wanted in Nigeria for criminal offences. Our argument is that he was arrested because of Nigeria’s request, and there is no proof to show that he is a criminal.”