A long-time associate of Yoruba Nation arrowhead, Sunday Adeyemo aka Sunday Igboho, has narrated how he told the activist to stop visiting his residence in Cotonou, Benin Republic, the day policemen came to survey his house.
The activist’s associate, who spoke on condition of anonymity, because of the nature of the matter, told The PUNCH that before Igboho’s ordeal with the Nigerian government began in January 2021, the activist usually lodged in his house each time he came to Benin Republic.
However, the source said he told the activist not to visit his place when the police in Benin Republic came to survey his house earlier in the year.
Recall that presidential spokesman, Garba Shehu, had said in January that the then Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, had ordered the arrest of Igboho, who rose to prominence when he issued and enforced an ultimatum to ‘killer herders’ in the Ibarapa area of Oyo State.
The PUNCH had earlier reported that the Department of State Services on February 26, 2021, attempted to arrest Igboho along the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway when Igboho and his supporters were on their way to meet with 93-year-old Afenifere chieftain, Ayo Adebanjo, but pandemonium broke out and the DSS was unable to arrest the activist.
However, the DSS raided Igboho’s residence in the Soka area of Ibadan on July 1, 2021, arrested at least 12 of his associates and killed two others during the bloody raid.
Igboho narrowly escaped the raid and the secret police subsequently declared him wanted for allegedly stockpiling arms to destabilise Nigeria under the pretext of Yoruba Nation agitation but Igboho denied the allegation.
The activist, who went underground, was, however, apprehended on Monday night in Cotonou. It was learnt that the Nigerian government had written Interpol to hunt Igboho. Igboho and his wife were arrested by Interpol at the Cadjèhoun Airport in Cotonou around 8pm on Monday while trying to catch a flight to Germany.
The PUNCH gathered that the Federal Government planned to extradite the activist on Wednesday (yesterday), but Benin Republic insisted that it would not be part of any process that was against due process.
Igboho’s associate said everything happened so fast and the Nigerian government had been on the lookout for Igboho long ago. He also said the Nigerian government had written the government of Benin Republic to hunt Igboho.
The source said, “Before now, whenever Sunday wanted to come to Benin Republic, I was always aware. He would call me on the phone that he was coming. But since policemen came to my house to check my house, I told Sunday that ‘please you can’t stay here any longer’. Maybe because of that, Sunday didn’t inform me.
“On Monday, I heard Sunday was at the airport. I tried to call him that he was not supposed to be at the airport because Nigeria already wrote a letter to Interpol.
“Immediately, I tried to call someone at the airport to tell him to leave the place, five minutes later, I was notified by my sources in the criminal police that they arrested one Nigerian. I asked what the name was and my source told me; Sunday Adeyemo. I shouted. I asked why they did that and they said it was an order from above.”
Meanwhile, Igboho’s lawyers said they are in talks with the Beninise Government to stop the planned extradition of their clients to Nigeria.
A member of Igboho’s legal team, Pelumi Olajengbesi, told our correspondents that Igboho and his wife, a German citizen, were still in police custody in Cotonou and his lawyers were meeting with the government to argue their case.
He said, “The disposition of Benin Republic is that it is a country that respects the rule of law. We are making efforts that he is not repatriated wrongly to Nigeria. We are ensuring that everything is done in accordance with the law and we are very hopeful that we would succeed because we expect that there should be a repatriation hearing before they can extradite him if at all they would do that.”