Wole Soyinka, Nobel laureate, has called on Benin Republic to release Sunday Adeyemo, a youth leader better known as Sunday Igboho.
On July 20, Igboho and Ropo, his wife, were arrested at an airport in Cotonou by Benin Republic’s security forces while he was trying to flee to Germany.
He was detained at the request of the Nigerian government, who had declared him “wanted” after raiding his home in Ibadan, Oyo state.
A week later, a Benin court blocked the immediate extradition of the activist back to Nigeria while ruling that Igboho be remanded in prison pending further hearing.
According to The Punch, speaking with journalists in Lagos on Friday, Soyinka said Igboho committed no known crime against Nigeria but instead, a criminal act was committed against him by the federal government.
He, therefore, appealed to the Beninise government to release the separatist leader.
“He is against Fulani herdsmen tyranny and threw out criminal herdsmen terrorising his neighbourhood. That’s his real crime. I refuse to accept that Igboho is being chased because he peacefully demonstrated his position vis-a-vis the destiny of this nation which is a fundamental human right of anybody. Somebody called for secession or a separate state, I don’t consider that (a criminal act) and nowhere is that declared a criminal act as long as it’s done peacefully and collectively within the law,” he said.
“You don’t criminalise the action and in addition commit a criminal act against such an individual. That was what the security services did by raiding Igboho’s home at 2am, killing two of his people and claiming, without a warrant or anything, that they found weapons in his house. Who is going to believe that cock and bull story?
“This is an appeal to the government of the Republic of Benin. Why are you keeping the victim in your prison? What crime did he commit against your state that you are holding him in prison, instead of letting him continue his journey? Igboho has not committed any crime against any known law in this nation. Thus, to ask for his repatriation is adding insult to injury.
“You invaded his house, destroyed his property, chased him into the wilderness and you are pursuing him. We ask the government of the Republic of Benin to release the man to continue his business which was interrupted unjustly. Please, rectify this error and don’t compound it any further by holding Sunday Igboho in prison one day long.’’