How Buratai foiled Igboho’s escape to Germany

Igboho's lawyer claims that he is chained like an animal in Cotonou and refutes rumours of his release.
Yoruba ethnic bigot and separatist agitator for the actualization of ‘Yoruba Nation’, Sunday Adeyemo, popularly known as Sunday Igboho and his wife, Ropo, would have successfully fled to Germany, on Monday, if not for the barricade erected by the Nigerian Ambassador to the country, Tukur Buratai.

The swift intervention of Lt. Gen. Tukur Yusuf Buratai (rtd.), aborted the ‘discreet journey’ of the Yoruba ethnic campaigner, in the Benin Republic.

It was exclusively gathered from credible intelligence sources that Buratai, a past Chief of Army Staff (COAS), was the mastermind of Igboho’s arrest.

Igboho was fleeing Nigeria to the European nation via the Benin Republic after he had been declared wanted by the Department of State Services (DSS), last month.

The self-acclaimed secessionist leader’s house in Ibadan was raided during a clandestine operation by a combined team of security operatives and men of the DSS. Though Igboho escaped during the raid, 12 of his men and a lady, were arrested. They have since been in detention.

An intelligence officer of Nigerian extraction in Benin, on Tuesday, disclosed in confidence that, Buratai swung into action immediately Igboho was declared wanted by a Nigerian intelligence agency.

“The ex-Army Chief knew that Igboho has the only option of first fleeing to any neighboring African country sharing borders with Nigeria. And as Nigeria’s ambassador to Benin, which shares several borders with Nigeria, he could not be caught napping,” he said.

According to him, it was in the penultimate week that Buratai tinkered with the idea and then wrote the government of the Benin Republic.

Said the intelligence officer: “Gen. Buratai insisted on the arrest and extradition of the self-acclaimed Yoruba secessionist leader.

“His secret letter to the Benin government was delivered through the Nigerian Embassy in Benin, asking them to be on the lookout for Igboho.”

That same Buratai’s letter, according to another intelligence source, was instrumental to the arrest of Igboho and his wife at the Cadjèhoun Airport in Cotonou, the largest city in the French-speaking country.

“Igboho was arrested in Cotonou on Monday night while he tried to travel. He was already at the airport with a passport.

The immigration officers suspected the passport and so they stopped him. In the process, they discovered he was the one, and arrested him,” he said.

Before he was appointed, the Nigerian ambassador to Benin this year, Lt General Buratai was Chief of Army Staff from 2015.

He had served as Force Commander of the then reconstituted Multinational Joint Task Force (MJTNF) in 2014 under the auspices of the Lake Chad Basin Commission and the Benin Republic. His operational deployments included Military Observer at the United Nations Verification Mission in Angola, Op HARMONY IV in the Bakassi Peninsular, OP MESA, Op PULO SHIELD, Op SAFE CONDUCT, MNJTF, Op ZAMAN LAFIYA, and Op LAFIYA DOLE.

Meanwhile, Barrister Yomi Aliu, a lead counsel for the arrested Sunday Igboho has stated that the Extradition Treaty of 1984 between Togo, Nigeria, Ghana, and the Republic of Benin excludes political fugitives like the Yoruba separatist leader.

According to him, the treaty states that where the fugitive will not get justice because of discrimination and/or undue delay in prosecution, the host country (in this case Benin) should not release the fugitive.

The Federal Government of Nigeria had placed the Nigeria Immigration Service and the Nigeria Customs Service on alert to stop Igboho from leaving the country after the Nigerian secret police had raided Igboho’s Ibadan residence in the Soka area on July 1, 2021, arresting alt=”1984 Extradition Treaty between Nigeria, Benin, Togo, and Ghana excludes political refugees – Sunday Igboho”s counsel’ class=”img-responsive text-center” style=” margin: auto;” about 12 of his aides and killing two of them in a gun duel.

The FG then reportedly took Igboho into custody in neighboring Cotonou on the night of Monday, July 19 while reportedly processing his extradition.

Now his lawyer says such Extradition is not legal in Igboho’s case. “The Extradition Treaty of 1984 between Togo, Nigeria, Ghana, and Republic of Benin excluded political fugitives.” He said.

It also states that where the fugitive will not get justice because of discrimination and/or undue delay in prosecution the host country should not release the fugitive

“Now, Article 20 of African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights to which the four countries are signatories made agitation for self-determination a fundamental right to be protected by all countries. This made Chief Sunday Adeyemo a political offender who cannot be deported and/or extradited by the good people of the Republic of Benin for any reason,” Alliyu said.

He also urged the government of Germany, Benin Republic and the international community “to rise and curb the impunity of the Nigerian Government by refusing any application for extradition of Igboho.”

In a related development, supporters of Igboho took to the streets of Ibadan on Wednesday, to protest the arrest and detention of their leader in Cotonou by Beninese authorities.

According to reports, the protesters gathered in front of Igboho’s house in the Sooka area of Ibadan from where they took to the streets around 12 noon. They were heard singing the Yoruba Nation anthem and chanting “Igboho Oosa”, “Free Igboho now, now”.

The protesters also displayed placards such as: “I stand with Chief Sunday Igboho”; “Sunday Igboho is not a criminal”; “Yoruba wake up” and “Sunday Igboho is fighting for our freedom”

The protesters also blocked some sections of the road, which led to traffic snarl around the Lagos-Ibadan expressway.

Meanwhile, Diplomatic and legal intrigues have opened over his extradition as Igboho’s lawyers, led by Yomi Aliu (SAN), have moved to the Benin Republic where they have contracted Beninese lawyers in readiness for a legal battle to prevent the agitator’s extradition to Nigeria.

The Beninese government, it was learned, is willing to hand Igboho over to Nigeria because of the warm diplomatic relations between the two countries and to facilitate free trade along the border with Nigeria.

A top source said: “There has been suspense over the extradition of Igboho because of diplomatic intrigues. The involvement of a German citizen has added a new dimension to the arrest of Igboho. Germany is insisting on a fair procedure. Most Western nations are backing Germany.

“If Germany has its way, Igboho’s extradition has to be subjected to a thorough legal process. It is claiming that Igboho must undergo a free and transparent judicial process in the Benin Republic. The Federal Government is insisting that the INTERPOL statute must be respected and the suspect should be handed over immediately.

Based on his watch-list, the Federal Government wanted Igboho extradited to Nigeria in line with the laws governing INTERPOL.

The INTERPOL is made up of 194 countries that are sharing data related to police investigations.

Both Nigeria and Benin Republic are member countries of INTERPOL.

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