Yoruba Nation campaigner, Sunday Adeyemo, also known as Sunday Igboho, may have been trapped in a prison in neighbouring Benin Republic, having spent exactly five months in detention since his arrest around 8pm on July 19, 2021, at the Cadjèhoun Airport in Cotonou.
Also, the Cour De’appal De Cotonou since the arraignment of Igboho on July 27, 2021, has not sat, fuelling speculations that the detention of Igboho is laced with political undertones.
His continued incarceration has also doused Yoruba Nation agitations in the last five months as his followers and associates have laid low, suspending secessionist rallies as was done in the South-West before the near-perpetual ordeal of the agitator.
Igboho’s mentor in the struggle, who is also an arrowhead for self-determination, Banji Akintoye, had since left Nigeria for Benin Republic after he got wind that the regime of the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), plotted his arrest.
The 86-year-old professor of history has not returned to Nigeria.
The Buhari regime in 2021 turned maddening heat on separatist agitators and descended on their arrowheads including Igboho who agitated for the South-West to pull out of the Nigerian State over perceived injustice and insecurity.
On July 1, 2021, around 2am, the Department of State Services stormed the Ibadan residence of Igboho in a Gestapo style, killing two of his associates and arresting 12 others.
The luxury cars and the house of the agitator in the Soka area of Oyo State were also riddled with bullets.
The DSS subsequently declared Igboho wanted for allegedly stockpiling arms to destabilise Nigeria under the pretext of secessionist agitation, an allegation he had since denied.
After about three weeks underground, Igboho, 49, found his way to Cotonou and planned to escape to Germany through an Air France Cotonou-Paris-Hamburg flight but the trip was botched as the Interpol at the airport arrested him and his German-citizen wife, Ropo.
The Interpol at the airport had arrested the duo at the behest of the Nigerian Government.
The Beninese Government subsequently arraigned the agitator before the Cour De’appal De Cotonou on migration-related offences and for gunrunning but the court on July 27, 2021, ordered that Ropo be released while Igboho be remanded in prison.
Ropo, it was gathered, now shuttles between Germany where her children are based and Cotonou where her husband is being detained.
The court has not opened the case since then and all efforts by Igboho’s lawyers both in Nigeria and Benin Republic have not yielded in his release as the Buhari regime’s representatives in the Francophone West African country led by Nigerian Ambassador to the Republic of Benin, Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai (retd.), continued to push for the extradition of the agitator.
Speaking with Sunday PUNCH, the spokesperson for Akintoye, Maxwell Adeleye, said the Yoruba self-determination group, Ilana Omo Oodua, led by the renowned scholar was optimistic that Igboho would be released.
“Benin Republic Government will soon toe the path of reasoning. We are hopeful that logic will prevail and Igboho will be released to go anywhere he wants to go because he has not committed any offence against the people of Nigeria and the Benin Republic,” he said.