Beninese lawyers representing Yoruba nation activist Sunday Igboho have written to the German government, seeking its intervention to stop the planned extradition of the Igboho to Nigeria.
According to one of Igboho’s legal team, Pelumi Olajengbesi, who disclosed this on Wednesday, this is meant to put diplomatic pressure on Cotonou and foil the moves by the Federal Government to influence the Beninese government.
He said Yoruba activist’s lawyers in Nigeria would also dispatch a similar letter to the German Embassy in Abuja on Thursday.
“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” he stated.
Olajengbesi said the Beninese government would not succumb to pressure from the Federal Government to extradite Igboho to Nigeria, as he said, “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 Former Chief of Army staff Tukur Buratai, who asked the government to arrest Igboho whom he accused of being a hardened criminal.
“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,” the lawyer added.
According to reports, the Federal government foresaw the possibility of Igboho who was apprehended by Interpol at the Cadjèhoun Airport in Cotonou, Benin Republic on Monday night 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, 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.