• Legal team to file additional complaint with German embassy today on Igboho’s arrest
The Republic of Benin has resisted Nigeria’s attempts to hastily extradite the Yoruba nation activist, Sunday Adeyemo, also known as Sunday Igboho, to the headquarters of the Department of State Services in Abuja.
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.
A security source in the West African country, who spoke to The PUNCH, said, “The Nigerian government planned to extradite him on Wednesday, but our government said the rule of law must be followed as the world is watching us.”
One of the lawyers of Igboho, Pelumi Olajengbesi, in an interview with one of our correspondents, said Benin Republic had shown itself to be a country that respects the rule of law and due process.
The lawyer said Igboho’s legal team in Benin Republic were in talks with the Beninise government.
He noted that despite pressure from the Nigerian government, the government of Benin had insisted on following due process including a repatriation hearing to determine whether or not Igboho was guilty as accused by the Nigerian secret police.
PUNCH had earlier reported that the DSS on February 26, 2021, attempted to arrest Igboho along the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway when the activist and his supporters were on their way to meet with the 93-year-old Afenifere chieftain, Ayo Adebanjo, but pandemonium broke out and the DSS was unable to arrest him
However, the secret police 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 escaped the raid and the secret police subsequently declared him wanted for allegedly stockpiling arms to destabilise Nigeria under the pretext of the Yoruba nation agitation, but Igboho denied the allegation.
The activist, who went underground, was, however, apprehended by Interpol at the Cadjèhoun Airport in Cotonou, Benin Republic on Monday night.
Igboho and his wife, Ropo, were arrested while trying to catch a flight to Germany.
PUNCH had on Wednesday reported that the government beefed up security at Iwajowa, Saki West and Ibarapa local government areas of Oyo State which were adjoining areas to Benin Republic.
According to the report, the Nigerian government foresaw the possibility of Igboho flying to Europe through Benin Republic and planted a landmine for him in the country through its Ambassador to Benin Republic, Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai (retd.).
It was also reported that Buratai, the immediate past Chief of Army Staff, had also been pushing for the extradition of Igboho to Abuja but Igboho’s lead counsel, Yomi Aliyyu (SAN), noted that his client could not be extradited because the 1984 Extradition Treaty between Nigeria, Benin and two others excluded political refugees like Igboho and his wife.
A member of Igboho’s legal team, Olajengbesi told one of 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.”
A source familiar with the matter, who spoke on condition of anonymity, also said, “The Nigerian government has made attempts to get him (Igboho) but Benin Republic didn’t release him. The Nigerian government has asked him but the Beninise government has not released him because the latter has not even identified him as a Nigerian. The only instrument they can use to identify him as a Nigerian is the passport but that is not what was found with him.
“The Nigerian government is still quiet two days after the arrest because it does not have control over the situation. There is a procedure that the law establishes including a repatriation hearing to determine whether the person in question has committed the offence and why he or she should be repatriated or not.”
I told Igboho to stay away day Benin police searched my house –Associate
Meanwhile, a long-time associate of 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, said 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 source 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’. May be 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.”
Igboho’s lawyers in Benin write German govt, seek Berlin’s help in stopping extradition
Meanwhile, the Beninese lawyers representing Igboho have sought the intervention of the German government to halt the planned extradition of the Yoruba nation activist.
This, it was gathered, was meant to put diplomatic pressure on Cotonou and foil the moves by the Federal Government to influence the Beninese government.
A member of Igboho’s legal team, Olajengbesi, disclosed this to one of our correspondents on Wednesday.
He said Yoruba activist’s lawyers in Nigeria would also dispatch a similar letter to the German Embassy in Abuja on Thursday (today).
He stated, “We have written to the German government to intervene and stop the illegal extradition of Igboho and we are expecting a due response from the German government. The wife is German and that made it convenient for us.
“The lawyers in Benin have formally written to the German government and so we expect them to intervene. We (Igboho’s lawyers in Nigeria) have not written to the German embassy in Nigeria because it is a public holiday but by tomorrow (today), steps will be taken in that regard.”
Olajengbesi said the Beninese government would not succumb to pressure from the Federal Government to extradite Igboho to Nigeria, noting that “Benin Republic has a certain level of decency in terms of respect for the rule of law which is encouraging.”
He attributed the reported maltreatment of Igboho by security agencies in Benin to letters allegedly written by Buratai, who asked the government to arrest Igboho whom he accused of being a hardened criminal.
The lawyer added, “The government is treating Igboho like a criminal because of the letters written by retired Lt. Gen Tukur Buratai to the government in Benin describing Igboho as a hardcore criminal.
“We have communicated to the government in Benin that he is not a criminal but an advocate for justice in Nigeria and so, he must be given such due.”
FG keeps mum
Efforts to get an official response on Igboho’s issue from the Federal Government were not successful on Wednesday.
Calls to the mobile telephone number of the Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Shehu, had yet to be picked nor returned as of the time of sending this report.
A response to a text message sent to him on the subject was still being awaited as of the time of filing this report at 7:45pm.
Similar calls to the mobile telephone number of the Spokesman for the Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Dr Umaru Gwandu, were neither picked nor returned.
A response to a text message sent to him was still being awaited as of the time of sending this report at 7:47 pm.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has yet to appoint an official spokesman after the last one went on foreign posting about a month ago.
Igboho’s supporters protest in Ibadan, Cotonou, London
Meanwhile, there were protests on Wednesday in Ibadan, Cotonou and London against Igboho’s arrest.
In Ibadan, armed policemen dispersed his supporters who protested in the city.
The protesters marched through the road leading to Soka area to the Soka bus stop along the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway where they sang and demanded the release of Igboho.
The protesters were bearing placards with various inscriptions.
A street hawker at the Soka bus stop told one of our correspondents that Igboho supporters said the Federal Government should not kill Igboho the way the winner of the June 12, 1993 election, Chief Moshood Abiola, was allegedly killed.
The hawker said the protest grounded traffic in the area and some motorists had to take alternative routes.
A resident of the area, Musbau Ogunbiyi, said the protest started at about 1:50pm.
He said, “The policemen came in about four patrol vans and a car. They shot in the air and chased away the protesters.”
But another resident, Taye Adeoti, said the protesters marched towards the Challenge area after spending some minutes at the bus stop.
One of our correspondents observed that the armed police had taken over the place around 3:30pm when he arrived there.
In Cotonou, Republic of Benin, some Yoruba people in the city stormed the country’s court where it was believed the extradition hearing of Igboho would hold.
The protesters were seen singing solidarity songs and demanding freedom for Igboho in a video on the Facebook page of Olayomi Koiki, Igboho’s media aide.
The agitators also demanded an independent nation of Yoruba people, saying they had confidence in Benin Republic justice system.
In the two-minute video, an unnamed speaker told supporters of the activist to be calm, saying that “Igboho is alright, but has not gone to Germany” as being speculated.
“We are in Cotonou at the moment where the extradition case of Sunday Igboho will hold. Baba is fine, but the case has not been decided,” the speaker who spoke in Yoruba said.
Also, the Yoruba nation protesters in London stormed the British parliament to protest against the arrest of the activist.
In a live video by Heritage media on Facebook monitored by PUNCH, protesters were seen with the Yoruba nation flag, placards and branded T-shirts with inscriptions such as #Leave Our freedom fighters alone, stop extrajudicial killings in southern Nigeria, Free Sunday Igboho, I stand with Sunday Igboho.
An unnamed speaker urged the supporters of the activist to be calm, saying “Igboho has not gone back to Germany as has been speculated. He is still in Cotonou.
“We are calling on the regime of Muhammadu Buhari to leave our freedom fighters alone. We are tired of the killings in Yorubaland. Enough is enough.”
Igboho won’t get justice if extradited to Nigeria, says Okei-Odumakin
President, Women Arise and Centre for Change, Dr Joe Okei-Odumakin, in her reaction, expressed fear that the activist would not get justice if extradited to Nigeria.
She noted that his wellbeing was also under threat because “It is not debatable that Igboho will come to grief if he is extradited to Nigeria under the prevailing circumstances.”
Okei-Odumakin said this on Wednesday in a statement titled, “On Igboho’s arrest.”
MASSOB warns FG, says no harm must befall Igboho, Kanu
On its part, the Movement for the Actualisation of Sovereign State of Biafra condemned the arrest of the agitator.
The pro-Biafra group, in a statement on Wednesday by its National Director of Information, Edeson Samuel, said the arrest of agitators without addressing the cause of agitations was a ploy of Buhari’s regime to “intimidate the southern part of this political entity called Nigeria.”
It noted that a government that could not arrest leaders of herdsmen, bandits, and Boko Haram, who were terrorising the country especially in Northern Nigeria, was using all its strength against freedom agitators in the South.
The group stated, “MASSOB has already warned Muhammadu Buhari– led All Progressives Congress that nothing should happen to Nnamdi Kanu and Sunday Igboho. Nigerian security has failed to arrest leaders of herdsmen, bandits, and Boko Haram in the North, but using all its strength against freedom agitators in the South.
“Kidnapping is going on everyday in Kaduna, Zamfara and other states in the North, but these Fulani foot soldiers cannot do anything because they are working together.
“It is very clear now to the entire world that the Federal Government of Nigeria led by General Muhammadu Buhari is pampering terrorists known as killer herders and sending its security agents against non-violent self-determination groups because of the hatred it has for the South and the Middle Belt.
“MASSOB still maintains its stand that no harm should befall Sunday Igboho, Nnamdi Kanu and other freedom agitators held in the DSS and police custody.”
Van Vicker Finally Bags Varsity Degree — 24 Years After Secondary Education
The 43-year-old movie director, who is a renowned face in Nollywood, took to his Instagram page to recount the touching tale of his educational journey.
He said while his secondary schoolmates were enrolling at the tertiary institution in 1997, his single mother couldn’t afford to send him to school.
He also accompanied the post with a photo in which he could be seen wearing a graduation robe of the African University College of Communication (AUCC).
Vicker said he bagged first-class honours in Strategic Communications and was named the overall best in his set.
“21 years later, here I stand before you with 3 achievements during my graduation; to God be the glory. 1. 1st class honors. 2. Best Student in Strategic communication. 3. Best Communication Student Award,” the actor wrote.
“The above is within the context of my 2021 post on social media and is in no way presumptuous but uprightly to inspire. I could not enroll at a tertiary institution in 1997 because my single mother did not have the funds.
“If free SHS was available back in the day, most likely I would have graduated in 2000/2001. My career took off and I have been blessed but as someone who relishes education getting that degree was just a matter of time.
“I complete my Masters program this December and I am sorely motivated and committed to going even beyond, God willing. I thank all those who supported me and are supporting me during this journey.”
Vicker has appeared in hundreds of films including ‘My Soul Mate’, ‘Heart of Fire’, ‘Popular King’, ‘Gambling with Marriage’, ‘Harvest of Love’, ‘Stolen Will’, ‘The Joy of a Prince’, ‘Discovered’, ‘The Kingdom’ and ‘Against The Law’.
Hushpuppi Pleads Guilty To Fraud
United States Department of Justice (DoJ) in a statement on Wednesday said court documents show that Abbas, a 37-year-old Nigerian national, pleaded guilty on April 20.
A version of Hushpuppi’s plea agreement filed late Tuesday outlines his role in a school finance scheme, as well as several other cyber and business email compromise schemes that cumulatively caused more than $24 million in losses.
Acting United States Attorney Tracy L. Wilkison said Hushpuppi allegedly faked the financing of a Qatari school by playing the roles of bank officials and creating a bogus website in a scheme that also bribed a foreign official to keep the elaborate pretense going after the victim was tipped off.
Wilkison stated that Hushpuppi played “a significant role in the scheme, funded his luxurious lifestyle by laundering illicit proceeds generated by con artists who use increasingly sophisticated means.”
Kristi K. Johnson, the Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Los Angeles Field Office said Hushpuppi “among the most high-profile money launderers in the world, has admitted to his significant role in perpetrating global BEC fraud, a scheme currently plaguing Americans.
“His celebrity status and ability to make connections seeped into legitimate organizations and led to several spin-off schemes in the U.S. and abroad,” Johnson said in the DoJ statement.
Hushpuppi and members of his gang were arrested while sleeping at their Dubai residences in June 2020.
The Nigerian fraudster was arrested along with Olalekan Jacob Ponle, also known as Woodberry and 10 others.
Mother Of 10 Loses 48 Years Marriage Over Denying Husband Sex
An Igando Customary Court in Lagos, on Wednesday, granted the request of her estranged husband, Mojidi, to dissolve the union.
The court president, Mr Adeniyi Koledoye, said that since the petitioner insisted on divorce after several interventions, the court was left with no option other than to grant him his prayer; and pronounced the union dissolved.
“The court hereby pronounces the marriage between Mr Mojidi Osho and Mrs Tolu Osho dissolved yesterday.
“Both of you henceforth cease to be husband and wife.
“Each of you should go his or her separate ways unmolested; the court wishes both of you well in your future endeavours,” Koledoye asserted.
The president ordered the petitioner to pay N250,000 to his wife as a severance fee and also pay another N250,000 for her to get a new accommodation.
The petitioner, a 72-year-old mechanic, Mr Mojidi Osho, had earlier told the court to nullify his marriage because his wife was denying him his conjugal right to sleep with her.
“The last time my wife allowed me to sleep with her was 10 years ago.
“I am starving seriously, but whenever I come home with my girlfriends, she will chase them away,” Osho said.
The septuagenarian also accused his wife of threatening to kill him so that she can inherit his property.
“My wife wanted to kill me; she has been feeding me with poison.
“There was a day I fainted and was rushed to the hospital and it was detected that I ate poison.
“I thought I will not survive it, but God saved me and I stopped eating her food,” he said.
The embattled man said his wife was a witch who kept attacking him in the spiritual realm.
“On two occasions, she shot arrows at me in my sleep which led to sicknesses, but God healed me.
“She also buried charm in my workshop and customers stopped patronising me.
“My wife made me impotent, but I survived it after spending huge amounts on hospital and herbal treatment,” he claimed.
“Tolu makes my life miserable, I would have gone far in life if I have not married her.
“I regret the day I met her and I wish I can turn back the hand of the clock,’’ Osho said.
According to him, Tolu stopped washing his clothes 27 years ago; h,e therefore, begged the court to end the marriage to save him from committing murder.
Responding to the allegations, the 68-year-old trader, Tolu, said that she denied her husband sex for only four years not 10 years as he claimed.
“I stopped him from making love to me four years ago when he started bringing different girls home to sleep with, after which he will want to sleep with me; so I refused him,” she stated.
The mother of 10 children denied threatening her husband’s life or attempting to kill him through poisoning.
“I did not poison my husband’s food since 1973 when we got married, is it now that I will poison him?
“He is just looking for excuses to discard me; he came to this court to divorce his second wife, now he wants to also divorce me so that he can marry a new wife,” Tolu said.
According to her, Osho is fond of invoking curses on their children, which is affecting their lives now.
The respondent begged the court not to grant her husband’s wish for the dissolution of their marriage, saying she still loved him
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