Sunday Igboho: I have been abandoned by my lawyers
Embattled Yoruba Nation agitator, Sunday Adeyemo, also known as Sunday Igboho, has lambasted his over 10 lawyers in Cotonou, Benin Republic, over their collective failure to seek his release after about 50 days in detention.
The detained activist spoke in a leaked audio obtained by The PUNCH.
He slammed all his Benin Republic-based lawyers led by Ibrahim Salami for not achieving any tangible result on his case like his counsels in Nigeria have been making headway.
He also complained over his alleged maltreatment and abandonment in prison by Salami and the other lawyers despite receiving about N5m each.
Igboho said he was not afraid of being extradited to Nigeria “after all Kanu is in Nigeria and we are agitating for the same secession”. Nnamdi Kanu, the leader of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra, has been in the custody of the Department of State Services since June 2021 after he was re-arrested from a foreign country.
The PUNCH had earlier reported that the DSS raided Igboho’s residence around 1am on July 1, 2021 before he was arrested in Cotonou, Benin Republic on July 19, 2021.
The secret police had said it killed two of his associates and arrested about 12 others during the bloody raid.
Igboho, who narrowly escaped the bloody raid, was subsequently declared wanted for allegedly stockpiling arms to destabilise Nigeria under the pretext of Yoruba Nation, an allegation he denied.
After about three weeks in hiding in Nigeria, Igboho found his way to Benin Republic but luck ran out on him and he was arrested around 8pm on July 19, 2021 by the Interpol at the Cadjèhoun Airport in Cotonou.
Igboho was arrested after the Federal Government notified its West African neighbours — including Republic of Benin- that he should be captured.
Igboho was arrested in Cotonou when he tried boarding a flight to Germany after the Nigerian government notified Interpol.
He was arrested with his wife, Ropo, but the Cour De’appal De Cotonou ordered the release of the Germany-based wife of the activist, saying there were no allegations against her.
The Beninese court, however, ordered that Igboho be in prison custody in the country while further investigations would be carried out on the case against him.
Igboho, who is now seeking asylum in Benin Republic, is facing allegations bordering on trafficking in arms, inciting violence and causing disunity in Nigeria.
Some of the other offences said to have been committed by the activist bordered on entering the Benin Republic illegally and alleged planned intent to cause social unrest in the Republic of Benin.
Though currently in detention, the court granted the agitator access to medical care while his lawyers continue to battle for his release and kick against his extradition to Nigeria.
But speaking in the leaked audio, Igboho said he was not afraid of extradition. He also lampooned Salami and the other Cotonou-based lawyers over their unprofessional conduct and inability to secure his release.
He said, “If they want to extradite me to Nigeria, let them go ahead. I am not afraid. After all, Kanu is in Nigeria and we are agitating for the same secession.
“I have been here for about two months and the lawyers didn’t come to check on me.
“It was God who apprehended me himself not any security official in Benin Republic. The God who arrested me will definitely release me. That is my faith. Even if all the lawyers say they are no more interested in my case, God will free me. I am no more afraid of anything.
“Those ones are not lawyers. They called themselves lawyers yet they couldn’t stop the judge from remanding me in a prison. Lawyers that couldn’t prevail on the prison warders to remove handcuff from my hands for seven days. And they were all heavily paid. Some of them got N5m, N4m, N3m and they can’t get the chains off my hands despite the fact that I didn’t rob anyone and didn’t commit any crime. I am not afraid of any lawyer, let them do their worst. My being in prison was predetermined,” he ranted.
Speaking on the allegations levelled against him by the Nigerian government, the activist said he was not invited by the DSS before his house was raided.
“I was not invited but they came to my house with armoured tank and destroyed everything.
“I only complained about the suffering of my people in the hands of criminal herders. I entered the bush myself and chased them out but the government came after me after failing to secure the people.
“I was never with any gun during my Yoruba Nation rallies. We own oil, we own almost everything in the South but we suffer the most. But we can’t continue this way.”