By Bisi Oladele, Ibadan
Kinsmen of the embattled Yoruba nation agitator Chief Sunday Adeyemo aka Sunday Igboho in Igboho and entire Oke-Ogun area of Oyo State have demanded respect for his fundamental human rights.
Speaking under the aegis of Oke ogun Development Consultative Forum (ODCF), the kinsmen, in a statement, called on the Federal Government and the government of Benin Republic to respect his fundamental human rights in the trials.
Adeyemo’s alias ‘Igboho’ was derived from his place of origin, Igboho in Oorelope Lical Government Area of Oyo State.
ODCF is the umbrella body for the people of Oke-Ogun.
The statement, which was jointly signed by ODCF President, Dr. Olusegun Ajuwon and Public Relations Officer, Comrade Jare Ajayi, said Igboho’s mission was meant to put a stop to the oppression of Yoruba people of which he is a proud son.
“We are proud of his desire to see that farmers are no longer prevented from cultivating their farms and our women are no longer raped in the course of pursuing their businesses,” they said.
Igboho was the arrowhead of a movement peacefully tackling herders terrorising farmers and rural dwellers particularly in Ibarapa area of Oyo State.
His group later began to agitate for Yoruba nation.
His Ibadan residence was invaded by armed officials of the DSS in July 1 resulting in the death of two people and arrest of 12 others who are now on trial in Abuja.
Feeling his life was unsafe, Igboho decided to sneak out of the country.
He was arrested in Cotonou while trying to board a flight to Germany.
He has been on trial since then.
ODCF said it concedes that the government has a right, indeed the power, to try anybody thought to have contravened the law.
“But in doing so, government should factor in the relevant sections of the law that say that a suspect is innocent until proven guilty by a court of competent jurisdiction. Not only that, the governments of Nigeria and Benin should remember the relevant sections of the African Charter and other international conventions to which they are signatories.
“Some of the documents being referred to include Article 4 of the ECOWAS Convention on Extradition which prescribes that a suspect can not be extradited if the offence for which he is wanted is ‘political or for the purpose of prosecuting him on account of his ethnic group or political opinion’.
“Various provisions of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Nigeria is also a party, have similar provisions.
“From available reports, issues surrounding Sunday Igboho are political in nature because what he was advocating have something to do with how his people were being treated.” It said.
According to ODCF, part of what Igboho advocated was echoed penultimate week by Emir of Muri in Taraba state.
The monarch had given herders a 30-day ultimatum to vacate his area because of the harm they were doing to farmers and women in his domain.
Reports indicated that the herders last week Monday, August 2, pledged their readiness to comply with his directive.
It added: “There is no difference between what Sunday Igboho was advocating and what Emir of Muri has done. Therefore, we believe that what is good for the goose should be good for the gander.”
It said Igboho and the Emir are law abiding citizens with commitment to the laws of the land. “It is within these laws that we seek protection for ourselves and our people including Sunday Adeyemo Igboho”.