Legal Nigeria

Igboho fights back, sues DSS, Malami for N500b

By Bisi Oladele, Southwest Bureau Chief/ Abiodun Alao/ Eric Ikhilae, Abuja

The embattled Yoruba nation campaigner, Sunday Adeyemo a.k.a. Igboho yesterday made good his threat to sue the federal authorities over the July 2 raid of his Sooka, Ibadan residence by operatives of the Department of State Security (DSS).

Igboho filed a suit at the Oyo State High Court, Ibadan, against the DSS and the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF), Abubakar Malami (SAN), seeking N500 billion damages.

He is praying the court for an order for the enforcement of his fundamental human right.

The suit was filed on a day one of his counsel dismissed as untrue speculations that a Beninese passport was found on the activist.

Besides, a Federal High Court in Abuja yesterday ordered the Department of State Services (DSS) to produce before it on Thursday, July 29, 2021, 12 associates of Igboho who were arrested during the July 2 raid of his Ibadan residence.

Igboho’s suit, according to his lawyers, derived from the fundamental human rights (Enforcement Procedure Rules 2009) and under the inherent jurisdiction of the court as preserved by Section 6 of the 1999 Constitution.

During the security raid of the plaintiff’s residence, two of his aides were shot dead while14 others were arrested. The DSS has paraded the suspects and ammunition which they allegedly recovered from the house.

But the embattled campaigner, who is currently standing trial in Cotonou, Benin Republic, denied that he kept ammunition in his house, saying the armed law enforcers must have come with the said ammunition.

In the suit, Igboho, through his lawyer Chief Yomi Aliu (SAN), is seeking orders declaring the invasion as a violation of his fundamental human right, and destruction of his property as a violation of his fundamental right to peacefully own property and wealth.

He wants N500 billion as compensation.

The sum was described as “exemplary and/or aggravated damages for breaching the applicant’s fundamental rights in the course of illegal and/or malicious invasion of his residence situate, lying and being at Igboho Villa. No.1, Dalag Street, Off Soka Bus Stop, Soka Area, Off Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, Ibadan.”

Igboho is also asking the court for a declaration that it was “oppressive, malicious, arbitrary and grossly unconstitutional for the 2nd & 3rd respondents to invade” his residence lying and being at Igboho Villa, 1, Dalag Street, Off Soka Bus Stop, Soka Area, Off Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, Ibadan “without announcing who they were and ask the applicant to open his gate but rather shot their way through killing two people including an elderly Imam doing Tahjud (night vigil), shooting at cars thereby destroying them and not sparing animals like cats and dogs in total violation of the intendments of the Fundamental Human Rights’ provision in CFRN, 1999 and African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights (Ratification and Enforcement), Act, LFN 2010 protecting the-dignity of human person, sanctity of human life and privacy of citizens and their homes.”

The plaintiff urged the court to declare that the respondents’ resolve in preventing him from “propagating his belief in association with other like minds in creating a Yoruba Nation and/or Oduduwa Republic for his Indigenous Yoruba People and hunting him with gun with a view to arresting him dead or alive when he has not called for war in achieving same is against his fundamental rights to freedom of thought, conscience and association since campaign for self-determination is recognised by Nigerian Law and international treaties of organisations to which Nigeria belongs.”

He prayed the court for an injunction restraining the respondents from arresting, harassing or disturbing him in any way that can violate his fundamental human rights.

Igboho had, soon after the raid, demanded an apology from the DSS and payment of N500 million as damages for destroying his Ibadan residence during the midnight raid.

His lawyer had, in a statement entitled ‘Illegal and Grossly Unconstitutional Invasion’ declared that his client has “always preached peace and warned his followers never to have recourse to violence, saying that ‘it is God and alale (ancestors) that will fight for Yoruba Nation.”

He said: “There is nowhere in the civilised world that a citizen who had no prior invitation by security agent or had resisted arrest will be so invaded with his rights to dignity of human persons, ownership of property and sanctity of life trampled upon during the invasion.

“No demand to enter was made but rather they shot their way into the house allegedly killing seven people, though a DSS spokesman admitted killing two people.”

Igboho arrested with Nigerian, German passports, says lawyer

One of Igboho’s counsel, Ibrahim David Salami, yesterday dismissed as untrue speculations that a Beninese passport was found on the activist.

Salami told BBC Yoruba in Cotonou that only Nigerian and German passports were found in his possession at the time of his arrest last Monday while on his way to Frankfurt.

Earlier reports had suggested that Igboho was being quizzed by the Beninese authorities partly on account of that country’s passport he carried at the time of his arrest.

“No Beninese passport was found on Sunday Igboho when he was arrested,” Salami said.

He added: “What was found on him were Nigerian and German passports.

“His wife had her German passport at the point of arrest.”

Following the bloody raid on Igboho’s Sooka residence, the Department of State Services arrested and detained 13 of Igboho’s associates, adding that during a “gun duel,” it had killed two of Igboho’s supporters later identified as Adogan and Alfa.

DSS had presented seven AK-47 rifles allegedly recovered during the raid on Igboho’s house on July 1, as well as three pump-action guns, 30 fully charged AK-47 magazines, 5,000 rounds of 7.62mm ammunition, five cutlasses, one jack-knife, one pen knife, two pistol holsters, a pair of binoculars, a wallet containing $5, local and international driving licences in his name, ATM cards, a German residence permit No. YO2N6K1NY bearing his name, two whistles, 50 cartridges and 18 walkie-talkies.

Others were three charm jackets/traditional body armour, two laptops, one Toshiba and one Compaq laptop, Igboho’s passport and those of his aides.

Hearing in Igboho’s case in Cotonou is scheduled to resume on Monday.

The Court on Thursday evening ordered that he be remanded in the custody of Brigade Criminelle in Cotonou pending the submission of charges by the Nigerian government.

The activist and his wife, Ropo, were arrested at the Cardinal Bernardin International Airport, Cotonou on Monday while trying to catch a flight to Germany.

Spokesman for  the Yoruba self-determination groups’ umbrella body, Ilana Omo Oodua (IOO) Mr. Maxwell Adeleye, quoting Igboho’s lawyers, said the activist could not be extradited to Nigeria for two principal reasons: Nigeria and Benin have no Extradition Agreement; and Nigeria has not been able to come up with charges that could lead the court to order lgboho’s extradition to Nigeria.”

“What Nigerian government came up with were mere allegations against Igboho such as trafficking in arms and inciting violence that could result in the social disturbance without evidence…” he said.

Igboho has been remanded in the custody of Brigade Criminelle while his wife was released.

Court orders DSS to produce detained Igboho’s associates

A Federal High Court in Abuja yesterday ordered the Department of State Services (DSS) to produce before it next Thursday 12 associates of Igboho who were arrested during the July 2 raid of his Sooka, Ibadan residence.

Justice Obiora Egwuatu gave the order while ruling on an ex-parte application argued by the lawyer to the 12 detainees, Pelumi Olajengbesi.

Olajengbesi told the court that the plaintiffs have been kept incommunicado since their arrest. The detainees are Abdullateef Ofeyagbe, Amuda Babatunde (alias Lady K), Tajudeen Erinoyen Diekola Ademola, Abideen Shittu, Jamiu Noah, Ayobami Donald, Adelabe Usman, Oluwapelumi Kunle, Raji Kazeem, Taiwo Opeyemi and Bamidele Sunday.

Justice Egwuatu, in his ruling, ordered the DSS to produce them in court on the next date to enable the court inquire into the circumstances constituting grounds of their arrest and detention since July 2, 2021

The judge also ordered the DSS to show cause why the 12 detainees should not be released on either conditional or unconditional bail.

He said that in view of the urgency involved in the case, further hearing in the fundamental rights enforcement suit marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/647/2, filed by the detainees, shall be heard during the court’s vacation.

He adjourned till July 29 for further hearing in the suit which has the DSS and its Director General as respondents.

Olajengbesi, in court documents, said the reliefs sought by his clients were informed by the fact that they “are law abiding citizens of Nigeria who enjoy the protection of the Constitution as well as other applicable laws, particularly the provision of sections 35(4) and 36(5) of the Constitution and Section 32 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act (2015).

“The applicants were arrested in the early hours of Thursday, the 2nd of July, 2021 by officers and agents of the respondents at the residence of Chief Sunday Adeyemo, popularly known as Sunday Igboho, in Ibadan, Oyo State, Nigeria, and are being detained at the Respondents facility in Abuja.

“The state of affairs relating to the arrest of the applicants was later confirmed and published by the respondents, who claimed responsibility for their arrest and detention in Abuja.

“Upon the applicants’ arrest, the applicants were subsequently transferred to Federal Capital Territory, Abuja under the watch and guide of the respondents, who have since held the applicants in detention till date.

“Following the applicant’s arrest, concrete and concise efforts have been made by their lawyers to get access to the applicants in order to provide them with necessary legal representation as stipulated under the law, but same has been glaringly frustrated by the respondents who have as well denied the applicants access to their lawyers and other family members.

“Despite the clear provisions of law, which place responsibility on law enforcement agency to charge a suspect within 24hrs of arrest, the respondents in flagrant disregard to the provisions of the law have continued to keep the applicants under detention without any charge against them before a court of competent jurisdiction.

“The applicants are aware that they enjoy the constitutional protection of presumption of innocence as well as fair trial within a reasonable time under the applicable laws in Nigeria.”