Sunday Igboho: Mistakes that led to secessionist arrest

Frontline Yoruba Nation campaigner, Sunday Adeyemo aka Sunday Igboho, has been heavily criticised and blamed for his recent arrest by security agents in Cotonou, Benin Republic.

Sunday Igboho was arrested in the neighbouring Benin Republic together with some of his family members on Monday night.

The activist and his wife, Ropo, were arrested at the Cadjèhoun Airport in Cotonou as they tried to escape to Germany.

The secessionist who was declared wanted in Nigeria by the Department of State Services, DSS, was said to have presented a fake travelling document to immigration officials in Benin.

Recall that On July 9, 2021, the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) announced that Igboho had been placed on the watch-list and the agency alerted Nigeria Police, DSS and the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) that Igboho was making efforts to acquire a new Nigerian passport as part of his plans to flee.

As the authorities uncovered his strategy, Igboho, it was gathered, made arrangements for unofficial Beninese passport all in a hasty move to flee the country before being caught.

Having obtained the passport, Igboho and Ropo were stopped on their way to Germany after security operatives discovered the documents to be false.

And since his arrest, the Nigerian authorities have been pushing for the extradition of the Yoruba nation agitator from the Francophone country.

He is now facing immigration-related trials in Benin Republic and may face 21 years imprisonment over the Beninese passport he tendered before his aborted trip.

The Cour De’appal De Cotonou in Benin Republic on Thursday adjourned the hearing of the case till Monday, July 26.

And some experts and officials of the Nigerian Intelligence, who are rejoicing over another milestone achievement by the government a few weeks after the rearrest of Nnamdi Kanu, leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, have also blamed Igboho for making what some of them could only describe as a foolish move.

Some of these experts believe that Sunday Igboho was wrongly advised, insisting that travelling by air was not the best option for a popular figure like Igboho who was already on a wanted list.

Speaking on this matter, a top Intelligence officer, who would not want to be mentioned, said that the activist shot himself by not only obtaining a fake Beninese passport but by taking the escape route he took.

“Take for instance, when the IPOB leader, Nnamdi Kanu escaped the country, who knew how it happened? When Igboho started his movement, one would have thought that he was sophisticated to soak pressure that would come from the government but see how he made it so easy for the security agents.

“From our reports, Kanu escaped through the sea and the desert and for me, that was an intelligent move. It was a smart idea, I think Igboho should’ve turned himself in instead of making a very poor escape decision. He is going down as long as this government remains in power.

Also speaking on the poor travel decisions of the activist, a Cotonou based security expert, Mike Ademola, said, “Sunday Adeyemo made some infantile decisions that have now landed him in trouble.

“No government in the world would fold its arms and allow violent agitations to go on in its territory. As someone who has declared war against the government, (because that’s what it is), Sunday Igboho should have moved his family out of the country before now.

“The first thing his wife should’ve advised him to do was to move them away since they weren’t making any reasonable contributions to his secessionist programmes here in Nigeria. One of the reasons he was caught was because of this particular miscalculation. It was a childish mistake.”

Also, a Lagos-based maritime security expert, Dr. Sheyi Owolabi, believes that Igboho caused his own arrest. According to him, the activist made a miscalculation and took a very wrong step.

“How could someone on the government stop-list even think of going to Germany through the air? Also, how could he have considered travelling with his wife and kids?” he queries.

“I think he didn’t want to take the hard way. Nnamdi Kanu took the hard way and suffered before escaping to Europe 2017. But I can see that Sunday Igboho never liked suffering.

“How could he have considered Cotonou as an escape route why he had the seas all around him? I think the sea would have been a better idea. I’m not advising government offenders on the best ways to escape, but it’s important we outline some of these mistakes.

“I can see he, maybe, didn’t want to put his family in danger by going through the hard way but the question is, what was his family doing with him at this point of danger. This to me is totally childish!”

Despite these obvious errors that led to his arrest and detention, many Nigerians, groups and organisations have condemned Igboho’s arrest and the move by the Federal Government to extradite him.

A frontline socio-political organisation, in the South West, Afenifere, through its National Leader, Ayo Adebanjo, had said that the Buhari administration has no right to seek the extradition of Sunday Igboho from the Benin Republic. The group believes that Igboho came to prominence due to the Federal Government’s failure to call the Fulani herdsmen to order and allow them to kill, destroy farmlands and rape women in Yoruba land.

Also, the Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria, HURIWA, had accused the government of President Buhari of waging war against self-determination agitators from Southern Nigeria.

HURIWA noted that Buhari has refused stubbornly to declare armed herdsmen and armed Fulani militia, including Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association, MACBAN, which backs mass killings of farmers by armed Fulani herdsmen as terrorist groups.

HURIWA said the selective arrests of mainly Southern Nigerian born agitators whilst pampering and petting terrorists is at variance to Chapter 4. Section 42 of the Nigerian Constitution, which represents the right to freedom from discrimination.

The Ooni of Ife, Oba Enitan Ogunwusi, has also formed a committee to look into the Sunday Igboho situation.

The 28-member think-tank comprises prominent individuals of South-West origin.

They will monitor Igboho’s arraignment in Benin Republic, the moves to extradite him to Nigeria and likely prosecution.

Saga Gist gathered that a plan of action is being mapped out.

The team is expected to provide updates to the Ooni as events unfold, offer counsels, mediate with the agitator’s legal team and interface with Nigerian and Beninese authorities.

Igboho will return to court today.

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