The government of Benin Republic is in quandary as it weighs options to resolve the issue of Sunday Igboho, Convener of Yoruba Nation movement arrested on Monday night while at the Cotonou airport trying to catch a flight to Germany.
This is because Igboho’s wife, Mrs Ropo Adeyemo is German and this has drawn the attention of Germany authorities. She was arrested along with Igboho.
The arrest by the security forces in Benin Republic happened about three weeks after the Department of State Services (DSS) declared Igboho wanted for allegedly stockpiling arms, an allegation he has since denied.
Recall that Nigeria’s federal government had placed Igboho on the stop-list in order to facilitate his arrest and directed the security agencies to apprehend him when found.
The Federal Government’s directive against Igboho was contained in a letter by the Nigeria Immigration Service dated July 9, 2021, addressed to the Director-General, DSS, the Inspector General of Police (IGP) and the DG, National Intelligence Agency (NIA).
However, reports revealed that diplomatic and legal intrigues have opened over Igboho’s arrest and extradition.
The involvement of his wife in the arrest got the German government to intervene in the matter.
It was also gathered that Igboho’s lawyers, led by Yomi Aliu (SAN), have moved to Benin Republic where they have contracted Beninese lawyers in readiness for a legal battle to prevent the agitator’s extradition to Nigeria.
It was learnt, that the Beninese authorities are willing to hand Igboho over to Nigeria because of the warm diplomatic relationship between the two countries and to facilitate free trade along the border with Nigeria.
A top source said: “There has been suspense over extradition of Igboho because of diplomatic intrigues. The involvement of a German citizen has added a new dimension to the arrest of Igboho. Germany is insisting on a fair procedure. Most Western nations are backing Germany.
“If Germany has its way, Igboho’s extradition has to be subjected to a thorough legal process. It is claiming that Igboho must undergo a free and transparent judicial process in Benin Republic. The Federal Government is insisting that the INTERPOL statute must be respected and the suspect should be handed over immediately.”
Based on his watch-list, the Federal Government wanted Igboho extradited to Nigeria in line with the laws governing INTERPOL.
“Igboho’s lawyer Aliu and some Beninese lawyers would join in the legal and diplomatic matters, including the Extradition Treaty of 1984 by Togo, Nigeria, Ghana and Republic of Benin.
“Benin Republic, a former French colony, is weighing options to either bow to pressure from Germany or accede to Nigeria’s request by complying with INTERPOL protocols.