Legal Nigeria

Igboho appears in court for immigration-related offences.

By Alao Abiodun and Bisi Oladele, Ibadan

Yoruba nation agitator Sunday Adeyemo (Igboho) on Thursday appeared in a Beninoise court in Cotonou on immigration-related offences.

He is expected back in court Friday, according to a British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) Yoruba report monitored in Lagos.

Information about the nature of the “immigration-related offences” remained scanty last night. The charges against him could also not be ascertained. But he was represented by a Beninoise lawyer, it was learnt.

A source said Igboho may have to defend the allegation of holding a fake passport with which he was about to travel to Europe before his arrest at the Cotonou Airport on Monday night.

Igboho was declared wanted on July 2 after a raid on his Ibadan residence by Security Operatives. He evaded arrest.

His supporters were in court on Thursday but nobody was allowed into the court room except lawyers.

Igboho was brought from police custody to the court late afternoon.

The agitator came to court with his wife, Ropo, who was freed and her German passport, seized when she was arrested along with her husband, released to her.

It was also learnt that the Nigerian government did not file extradition charges against Igboho. Rather, it requested the government of Benin Republic to hold him pending the time criminal charges will be filed against him in a Nigerian court. Thereafter, Nigeria will ask him to be repatriated home to face the charges.

A lawyer, who is following the matters, added that the treaty between Nigeria and Benin Republic requires Igboho’s appearance in court before the decision to either protect or hand him over to Nigeria is determined.

On Thursday, the Ilana Omo Oodua group led by Prof. Banji Akintoye, the organisation backing Igboho;s secession push, said it is opposed to violent agitation.

Akintoye said: “After careful studies of the records of separatist movements in our world, we are persuaded that the peaceful approach is more likely to succeed. Various nationalist agitations in various countries of the world have, in the course of the past century, employed violent means at various times while striving to achieve their nationalist goals.

“Yoruba groups engaged in serving the Yoruba nation need to note carefully that none of these uses of violent or terroristic methods achieved their purpose of self-determination or autonomy for their nations; all they succeeded in doing was to generate confrontations and wars with the governments of their countries.

“Young nationalist agitators, being young, are naturally attracted to tough and rough activism. From only proudly proclaiming the virtues of their own nations, youthful nationalist activists commonly tend to lapse into insulting other nations, into needless bragging and boasting, into daring or challenging other nations, or even into daring and challenging their country and its government – all of which actions tend to provoke avoidable conflicts, hostile governmental actions, and even wars. Our Yoruba youths must learn the truth that the use of rough and violent means does not usually confer success – and, indeed, that it is usually more likely to prevent success.”

The Aare Ona Kakanfo of Yorubaland, Chief Gani Adams, who spoke on Igboho’s arrest, said: “I feel bad when the news of his arrest broke out on Monday evening and I started monitoring unfolding events. But I think the Federal Government should be fair to the young man because any attempt to trivialise issues of agitation might set this nation on fire.”

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